Austin Wahlart is the opening act and the national anthem will be performed by Shelly Cargill. Wrangler is the performance sponsor and tonight is Wrangler National Patriot Night.
WRANGLER NFR LIVE ON TELEVISION, RADIO AND INTERNET
Tonight’s Wrangler NFR will be televised live and in HD on CBS Sports Net (DISH Network channel 158 and DirecTV channel 221) from 7-10 p.m. (PT) with Jeff Medders and Butch Knowlesannouncing, Joe Beaver and Don Gay providing commentary. Live HD coverage will be broadcast in Canada through various CBS SN carriers and ProRodeo Live is airing coverage on a network of radio stations, including Rural Radio, and also online at www.prorodeolive.com with Steve Kenyon the lead announcer.
THE BRAZILE WATCH
Trevor Brazile clinched his second gold buckle of the season on Saturday, Dec. 6 – the record 12th all-around title to go with his earlier steer roping crown – and now he enters the 10th round tonight with a longshot chance at a Triple Crown. On Friday, he tied Cade Swor for the Round 9 tie-down roping win to move into second place in the world standings and stay third in the average. Standing in his path is Decatur, Texas, neighbor Tuf Cooper, who is in first place in the world standings, more than $22,000 ahead of Brazile, and second in the average. In order for Brazile to get the gold buckle he would need to win the 10th round while Cooper failed to earn a check and with Cooper either missing or having a time at least 2.5 seconds slower than Brazile. It is much the same for Matt Shiozawa, who is third in the world but leading the average standings; he’ll need Cooper to falter. The team roping race is also still an open question, but Clay Tryan/Jade Corkill control their own destiny. They have a $3,725 margin over Brazile and partner Travis Graves in second place in the world standings and can finish no lower than second in the average. For Brazile/Graves to grab the gold buckle they would have to win Round 10 and move up to third in the average while Tryan/Corkill recorded a no time and dropped into second in the average behind Jake Barnes/Junior Nogueira. If Tryan/Corkill make a qualified run to clinch the average, they will have clinched their second consecutive title. Brazile’s total earnings of $438,282 is second on the all-time single-season list (he’s accounted for the top eight totals). If he were to hold on to his current average spots, he would be assured of earnings of $486,094, which means he would only need $21,827 in round money tonight to break his own single-season earnings record of $507,921 (2010). That’s roughly a pair of third-place finishes. The tie-down roping win Friday extended Brazile’s career record for total round wins at the WNFR to 60. If Brazile can claim either the team roping or tie-down roping title he will equal Jim Shoulders’ record of three Triple Crowns (1956-58). Brazile previously won the Triple Crown in 2007 (AA, SR, TD) and 2010 (AA, TR, TD); if he were to win the Triple Crown with AA, SR and TR, it would be his third different combination.
A STAR IS BORN
Oklahoma bull rider Sage Kimzey, 20, has been a revelation at this 56th annual Wrangler NFR, not only becoming the second rookie bull rider to claim a world championship – joining Bill Kornell (1963) – but dominating the competition from start to finish and earning the RAM Top Gun Award as the top money earner in any event. His 87.5-point ride on Stace Smith Pro Rodeo’s Foolish Man Friday night took him to his fourth win of the rodeo, tying the record shared by Bob Wegner, Denny Flynn, Cody Custer, Blue Stone, B.J. Schumacher and J.W. Harris. Not content with utterly destroying Steve Woolsey’s rookie earnings records for a single event ($197,646) and overall ($202,128), he is now in easy reach of bull rider Matt Austin’s single-season earnings record for any individual event of $320,766. Kimzey clinched the average title on Friday and with that check factored in, he enters tonight’s 10th round with earnings of $318,631. Even a sixth-place result tonight would break the record and if he merely has a qualified ride he will become the first bull rider since Adriano Moraes in 1996 to cover nine of 10. Kimzey has drawn Corey & Lange Rodeo’s Bottle Rocket, a bull Joe Frost won Round 5 on with an 89-point ride.
NEWS & NOTES
Spencer Wright, the youngest of the four Wright brothers who qualified for this WNFR, leads the average standings, can finish no lower than second in that race, and looks to be the favorite to claim the gold buckle tonight, despite never having led in the world standings for a single prior day. Wright, fourth in the world standings entering Round 10, has drawn Burch Rodeo’s Lunatic from Hell, a horse Tyler Corrington had an 86-point ride on to finish second in Round 5. Cort Scheer, bidding to become the first Nebraska cowboy to win a saddle bronc riding gold buckle, is second in the average (35.5 points behind Wright) and the only other man with nine qualified rides; he gets on Summit Pro Rodeo’s Big Fork tonight. Current standings leader Heith DeMoss is 10th in the average (out of the money) and third-place Wade Sundell is only slightly better positioned. Despite securing his third round win of the rodeo on Friday night he is just seventh in the average race; tonight he draws Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Big Tex, a horse he had a 90-point ride on to win the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo on Feb. 22. Regular-season champion Taos Muncy, a two-time world champion, is also still mathematically in the race, holding down fourth in the average … Two-time World Champion Cody Wright, who suffered a dislocated left (riding) shoulder on Wednesday and doctor released Rounds 8 and 9, returns tonight and draws two-time PRCA Saddle Bronc Horse of the Year Spring Planting (2009, 2013) … Having now earned checks in seven of nine rounds, Luke Branquinho is well on his way to a fifth world title (only Homer Pettigrew, with six, has more). He holds a lead of just $19,242 over Trevor Knowles, but is leading the average with a time of 36.6 on nine head while Knowles is 11th in the average (out of the money) … With his second-place finish in Round 9, Branquinho is within $1,050 of becoming the eighth person to earn $1 million in WNFR competition, joining Brazile, Cody Ohl, Billy Etbauer, Sherry Cervi, Fred Whitfield, Joe Beaver and Bobby Mote (who joined that elite group earlier this week) … Bareback rider Kaycee Feild will try to clinch his fourth consecutive gold buckle and average crown tonight when he rides Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Scarlet’s Web, a horse Winn Ratliff rode for 87 points to place second in Round 5 …Austin Foss still has a mathematical chance to defeat Feild, as he trails him by $46,755 in the world standings and he’s third in the average. Foss has drawn Calgary Stampede’s Special Delivery, a horse that was third in the 2014 Pendleton Whisky Let’er Buck Bucking Stock of the Year voting, and was chosen the top horse of Round 5 at this year’s WNFR.
Record times and scores for the 10th round of the WNFR:
Bareback riding: 91.5 points, Will Lowe, 2007 (also arena record)
Steer wrestling: 3.3 seconds, Sid Steiner, 2002; Gabe Ledoux, 2012
Team roping: 3.6 seconds, Chad Masters/Jade Corkill, 2011; Spencer Mitchell/Broc Cresta, 2011
Saddle bronc riding: 93 points, Billy Etbauer, 2004 (also arena record)
Tie-down roping: 6.5 seconds, Cody Ohl, 2003 (also arena record)
Barrel racing: 13.57 seconds, Carlee Pierce, 2012
Bull riding: 96 points, Cody Hancock, 2001 (also arena record)
Courtesy of PRCA