LAS VEGAS – Nick Guy became the first Wisconsin timed-event cowboy ever to win a round at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, and it catapulted him to the top of the steer wrestling world on the opening night of action before a sellout crowd of 17,591 at the Thomas & Mack Center Arena.
Guy, who entered rodeo’s Super Bowl in fourth place among steer wrestlers in the Windham Weaponry High Performance PRCA World Standings, won Round 1 with a time of 3.6 seconds.
That earned the 30-year-old cowboy from Sparta, Wis., a paycheck of $19,002 – he has $96,757 for the season – and pushed him past Trevor Knowles, K.C. Jones and Casey Martin into the top spot.
“It feels good to get a nice paycheck in Round 1,” Guy said. “We talked about winning Round 1 the whole way out here to Las Vegas.”
Guy, who is making his second appearance at the Finals, felt even more confident after learning which steer he’d drawn for Round 1.
“I ran that steer when we broke these steers in a couple of weeks ago,” he said. “We videoed all the runs down there, so I probably watched my run on that steer 10 times before we came in here. I knew he was just a good steer, but I didn’t know if he was a 3.6 steer. I got a great start and the horse worked great, and I caught him quick and I just made a good run from there.”
Martin tied four-time World Champion Steer Wrestler Luke Branquinho – who has been sidelined since he injured his right lat muscle at the California Rodeo Salinas on July 18 – for second place in 3.7 seconds, just one-tenth of a second behind Guy. Martin moved into second place in the world with $93,457. Branquinho, who led the world before getting injured, is fifth.
Guy is just the fifth Wisconsin cowboy to win a round at the Finals, joining bareback rider Jack Buschbom and bull riders B.J. Schumacher, Cory Check and Fred Boettcher. Buschbom was the world champ in 1959-60, and Schumacher won the world in 2006.
Guy said not everyone in Wisconsin understands rodeo.
“It’s not a rodeo part of the country, and that’s why when I win, it makes me feel good about being where I’m from,” he said.
Guy said the fast start will help put him at ease for the next nine days of the Finals.
“I’m going to sleep well tonight and try to keep doing exactly what I did tonight for the rest of the NFR,” he said. “The horse I was on (Roanie, 10 years old), gives me a chance to win every time.”
While Guy is trying to win his first world championship, bareback rider Kaycee Feild is gunning for his fourth consecutive gold buckle. Feild got off to a fast start by winning Round 1 when he rode for 84.5 points on Sutton Rodeos’ Cactus Juice.
“This feels awesome,” Feild said. “It’s great to get off to a good start. That’s a horse I saw in Omaha (Neb.); he gets off the ground and gets good hang time. It was a fun ride.”
Last year, Feild became the first contestant to win a third straight average title at the Finals while also winning his third consecutive world title. He often thinks about stretching that streak to four of each.
“I dream of it,” he said, “at least once a week.”
Feild is the seventh bareback riding defending champion to win Round 1, joining his ProRodeo Hall of Fame father, Lewis Feild (1987), on that list that includes Jack Buschbom (1960), Gary Tucker (1970), Bruce Ford (1980), Marvin Garrett (1989-90) and Justin McDaniel (2009).
In 2011, Feild won the first three rounds – an amazing feat he’d love to repeat – en route to his first gold buckle and average title.
“In 2011, I wrapped it up in the seventh round,” he said.
In his first Wrangler NFR, bull rider Joe Frost accomplished an unprecedented feat by staying aboard the previously unridden Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Rattler for eight seconds and 85.5 points.
“It’s what everyone dreams about doing from the time they’re a little kid,” Frost said. “I knew since I was 3 years old that I would be riding at the NFR someday. It feels good to finally be here in person, because this is the only sport I’ve ever really known or cared about. I’ve dedicated my whole life to this sport, and will continue to do so.”
Before the performance, Frost was anxious, though. The senior at Oklahoma Panhandle State University tried to ease his apprehension by calling his college coaches – former NFR contestants Craig Latham and Robert Etbauer.
“I have to be honest, I was extremely nervous starting at about 3 o’clock this afternoon,” he said. “I had big-time butterflies and I wanted to take a nap, but there was no chance I was going to be able to close my eyes. I called Craig Latham, Robert Etbauer and (former bull rider) Denny Flynn for some advice, and then talked to my parents. My dad told me to treat it like another rodeo, even though that’s impossible.”
Frost was thrilled to continue his family’s legacy of success.
“My Uncle Clyde was at the first-ever NFR, and was the only guy from Utah there and carried the flag in, and then my cousin Lane won the world championship here in 1987,” he said. “It was important for me to fulfill my lifelong dream and get here to represent my family.”
Team ropers Turtle Powell and Dakota Kirchenschlager posted the fastest Round 1 time in NFR history when they won in 4.0 seconds. The previous mark was 4.1 by Speed Williams and Rich Skelton in 1997, and by Matt Sherwood and Cory Petska in 2011.
“It’s the greatest thing in the world to come back to the Finals and get a ‘W’ in the first round,” said Kirchenschlager, who is in his second WNFR. “This is what we work all year for.”
Powell, who is competing in his ninth Finals and won the world with Jhett Johnson in 2011, was also thrilled with the fast start.
“This means a lot to get the momentum rolling for us,” Powell said. “Winning the first round gives us a lot of momentum and confidence. The year I won the world with Jhett, we came in with the same mindset; to be aggressive on the first one. We placed in the first six rounds doing it.”
Not everyone takes such strategic chances so early in the week.
“People think it’s crazy to go at it in the first round when it’s a 10-head average, but we’re not going to let off,” Powell said. “I’m going to rope this way all week. That’s the pep talk I gave Dakota before we came here. This is what we practiced for. Dakota knows when I get my adrenaline going my handles aren’t going to be layups.”
Kirchenschlager said it’s a winning formula when Powell is fired up.
“I love it when Turtle goes at ’em,” he said. “Every time he ducks, we win. He tries to apologize for wild handles and I tell him, ‘Do it again. That’s fun.'”
Rookie tie-down roper Marty Yates won his event with a time of 7.4 seconds, one-tenth faster than 20-time World Champion Trevor Brazile, who moved up a spot to second in the world standings behind leader Tuf Cooper, a two-time champ.
Yates, 20, is the youngest tie-down roper at the Finals.
“Words can’t explain what I’m feeling right now,” Yates said. “It’s amazing and awesome. My first NFR to come out winning Round 1 gives me a lot more confidence for the remaining nine rounds. I was a little bit nervous and I was a little bit worried about myself. But when I backed in there and nodded my head, it felt like just another rodeo.”
Saddle bronc rider Cort Scheer moved into second place in the world standings by winning Round 1 when he rode for 87 points on Frontier Rodeo’s Short Stop. Scheer trails saddle bronc riding standings leader Taos Muncy – who tied for third on opening night – by $15,118, or less than a round win.
“It’s tremendous to get out there in the first round and ride well and win,” Scheer said. “It gets your confidence going 110 percent, and you just hope to keep riding and drawing well.”
This is the fourth trip to the Finals for the cowboy from Elsmere, Neb. He was second in the average in 2013, when he finished fifth in the world. He was ninth in the world in 2012 and fourth in 2010.
Still, Scheer was thrilled to get off to a fast start, something that’s eluded him in previous years.
“I’ve been here three times before and never really rode well to start,” he said, “So this was really important to me.”
Fallon Taylor won the barrel racing with a time of 14.09 seconds – even though she wasn’t going for the top spot, she said.
“I am completely stoked,” Taylor said. “I’m shooting for fifth every night and I’ll keep doing so, and if the runs land me in first place that will be just fine with me. I couldn’t be happier.”
Taylor was dressed in a colorful tie-dyed outfit that definitely garnered attention.
“Tie-dye is my signature,” Taylor said. “I am not sure what the outfit for tomorrow night is just yet. I’ll just have to open the closet and see what jumps out at me each night.”
The 56th annual Wrangler NFR continues Friday with the second round at the Thomas & Mack Center. The action will be televised live and in HD on CBS Sports Net (DirecTV channel 221 and DISH Network channel 158) from 7-10 p.m. (PT) with Jeff Medders and Butch Knowles announcing.
Wrangler National Finals Rodeo
Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas
First round – Dec. 4, 2014
Bareback riding: 1. Kaycee Feild, Spanish Fork, Utah, 84.5 points on Sutton Rodeos’ Cactus Juice, $19,002; 2. Justin McDaniel, Porum, Okla., 83.5, $15,018; 3. (tie) Will Lowe, Canyon, Texas, and Steven Dent, Mullen, Neb., 83, $9,654 each; 5. Jake Vold, Ponoka, Alberta, 81.5, $4,904; 6. Austin Foss, Terrebonne, Ore., 81, $3,065; 7. (tie) Tim O’Connell, Zwingle, Iowa; Jessy Davis, Power, Mont., and Tilden Hooper, Carthage, Texas, 80.5 each; 10. (tie) Richmond Champion, The Woodlands, Texas, and Winn Ratliff, Leesville, La., 79 each; 12. Steven Peebles, Redmond, Ore., 78.5; 13. (tie) Bobby Mote, Culver, Ore., and Caleb Bennett, Tremonton, Utah, 77.5 each; 15. J.R. Vezain, Cowley, Wyo., 77. World standings: 1. Kaycee Feild, $191,386; 2. Steven Peebles, $126,929; 3. Austin Foss, $125,782; 4. Will Lowe, $108,668; 5. Tim O’Connell, $102,890; 6. Bobby Mote, $95,309; 7. Richmond Champion, $89,935; 8. Caleb Bennett, $84,225; 9. Justin McDaniel, $80,196; 10. Steven Dent, $74,222; 11. Winn Ratliff, $73,039; 12. Jake Vold, $72,689; 13. J.R. Vezain, $70,208; 14. Jessy Davis, $67,686; 15. Tilden Hooper, $65,779.
Steer wrestling: 1. Nick Guy, Sparta, Wis., 3.6 seconds, $19,002; 2. (tie) Casey Martin, Sulphur, La., and Luke Branquinho, Los Alamos, Calif., 3.7, $13,179 each; 4. Ty Erickson, Helena, Mont., 3.8, $7,969; 5. Kyle Irwin, Robertsdale, Ala., 4.1, $4,904; 6. Bray Armes, Ponder, Texas, 4.2, $3,065; 7. Dakota Eldridge, Elko, Nev., 4.3; 8. Clayton Hass, Terrell, Texas, 4.8; 9. K.C. Jones, Decatur, Texas, 4.9; 10. Cole Edge, Durant, Okla., 5.5; 11. Wyatt Smith, Rexburg, Idaho, 5.6; 12. Curtis Cassidy, Donalda, Alberta, 6.0; 13. Seth Brockman, Wheatland, Wyo., 11.0; 14. Trevor Knowles, Mount Vernon, Ore., 20.7; 15. Dru Melvin, Hebron, Neb., NT. World standings: 1. Nick Guy, $96,757; 2. Casey Martin, $93,457; 3. Trevor Knowles, $91,804; 4. K.C. Jones $82,055; 5. Luke Branquinho, $79,171; 6. Clayton Hass $76,576; 7. Bray Armes, $72,281; 8. Dru Melvin, $67,832; 9. Kyle Irwin, $64,640; 10. Dakota Eldridge, $63,015; 11. Ty Erickson, $60,439; 12. Curtis Cassidy, $57,449; 13. Cole Edge $57,406; 14. Wyatt Smith, $57,188; 15. Seth Brockman, $52,933.
Team roping: 1. Turtle Powell, Stephenville, Texas/Dakota Kirchenschlager, Morgan Mill, Texas, 4.0 seconds, $19,002 each; 2. Charly Crawford, Prineville, Ore./Shay Carroll, La Junta, Colo., 4.5, $15,018; 3. Clay Tryan, Billings, Mont./Jade Corkill, Fallon, Nev., 4.7, $11,340; 4. Jake Barnes, Scottsdale, Ariz./Junior Nogueira, Scottsdale, Ariz., 4.9, $7,969; 5. Trevor Brazile, Decatur, Texas/Travis Graves, Jay, Okla., 5.2, $4,904; 6. Erich Rogers, Round Rock, Ariz./Cory Petska, Marana, Ariz., 5.5, $3,065; 7. Luke Brown, Stephenville, Texas/Kollin VonAhn, Blanchard, Okla., 9.4; 8. Aaron Tsinigine, Tuba City, Ariz./Clay O’Brien Cooper, Gardnerville, Nev., 9.9; 9. Brandon Beers, Powell Butte, Ore./Jim Ross Cooper, Monument, N.M., 17.7; 10. (tie) Dustin Bird, Cut Bank, Mont./Paul Eaves, Lonedell, Mo.; Riley Minor, Ellensburg, Wash./Brady Minor, Ellensburg, Wash.; Kaleb Driggers, Albany, Ga./Patrick Smith, Lipan, Texas; Coleman Proctor, Pryor, Okla./Jake Long, Coffeyville, Kan.; Nick Sartain, Dover, Okla./Rich Skelton, Llano, Texas, and Tom Richards, Humboldt, Ariz./Cesar de la Cruz, Tucson, Ariz., NT. World standings (headers): 1. Clay Tryan, $121,521; 2. Trevor Brazile, $106,302.94; 3. Erich Rogers, $104,486; 4. Dustin Bird, $90,643; 5. Turtle Powell, $88,312; 6. Charly Crawford, $86,577; 7. Riley Minor, $82,889; 8. Kaleb Driggers, $81,470; 9. Jake Barnes, $80,310; 10. Brandon Beers, $79,491; 11. Nick Sartain, $76,963; 12. Coleman Proctor, $75,710; 13. Luke Brown, $73,062; 14. Aaron Tsinigine, $68,074; 15. Tom Richards, $66,744. World standings (heelers): 1. Jade Corkill, $121,521; 2. Travis Graves, $106,303; 3. Cory Petska, $104,834; 4. Paul Eaves, $93,735; 5. Shay Carroll, $87,636; 6. Dakota Kirchenschlager, $84,952; 7. Brady Minor, $82,889; 8. Patrick Smith, $81,470; 9. Jim Ross Cooper, $79,491; 10. Rich Skelton, $76,963; 11. Jake Long, $76,710; 12. Junior Nogueira, $70,302; 13. Kollin VonAhn, $70,062; 14. Clay O’Brien Cooper, $60,255; 15. Cesar de la Cruz $58,515.
Saddle bronc riding: 1. Cort Scheer, Elsmere, Neb., 87 points on Frontier Rodeo’s Short Stop, $19,002; 2. Heith DeMoss, Heflin, La., 82, $15,018; 3. (tie) Taos Muncy, Corona, N.M., and Jacobs Crawley, Stephenville, Texas, 80.5, $9,654 each; 5. Spencer Wright, Milford, Utah, 80, $4,904; 6. Wade Sundell, Boxholm, Iowa, 78.5, $3,065; 7. Jesse Wright, Milford, Utah, 76.5; 8. Jake Wright, Milford, Utah, 76; 9. Cody DeMoss, Heflin, La., 74; 10. Dustin Flundra, Pincher Creek, Alberta, 73; 11. Cody Wright, Milford, Utah, 70.5; 12. Bradley Harter, Loranger, La., 68.5; 13. (tie) Tyler Corrington, Hastings, Minn.; Chad Ferley, Oelrichs, S.D., and Cole Elshere, Faith, S.D., NS. World standings: 1. Taos Muncy, $136,533; 2. Cort Scheer $121,416; 3. Cody Wright, $111,085; 4. Heith DeMoss, $107,592; 5. Jacobs Crawley, $98,383; 6. Wade Sundell, $86,940; 7. Tyler Corrington, $77,694; 8. Jesse Wright, $77,495; 9. Bradley Harter, $74,836; 10. Chad Ferley, $73,705; 11. Cole Elshere, $71,109; 12. Cody DeMoss, $66,683; 13. Spencer Wright, $65,169; 14. Jake Wright, $59,795; 15. Dustin Flundra, $59,357.
Tie-down roping: 1. Marty Yates, Stephenville, Texas, 7.4 seconds, $19,002; 2. Trevor Brazile, Decatur, Texas, 7.5, $15,018; 3. Clint Robinson, Spanish Fork, Utah, 7.7, $11,340; 4. Cody Ohl, Hico, Texas, 7.8, $7,969; 5. Cade Swor, Winnie, Texas, 8.3, $4,904; 6. (tie) Hunter Herrin, Apache, Okla., and Timber Moore, Aubrey, Texas, 8.5, $1,532 each; 8. Tuf Cooper, Decatur, Texas, 8.6; 9. Tyson Durfey, Colbert, Wash., 9.3; 10. Clint Cooper, Decatur, Texas, 9.4; 11. Matt Shiozawa, Chubbuck, Idaho, 11.2; 12. Shane Hanchey, Sulphur, La., 17.9; 13. Ryan Watkins, Bluff Dale, Texas, 18.1; 14. Reese Riemer, Stinnett, Texas, 20.7; 15. Adam Gray, Seymour, Texas, NT. World standings: 1. Tuf Cooper, $153,822; 2. Matt Shiozawa, $116,983; 3. Trevor Brazile, $108,867; 4. Marty Yates, $102,190; 5. Clint Robinson, $97,233; 6. Hunter Herrin, $83,065; 7. Cade Swor, $81,223; 8. Shane Hanchey, $79,687; 9. Timber Moore $75,817; 10 Cody Ohl, $73,251; 11. Clint Cooper, $69,596; 12. Adam Gray, $69,401; 13. Ryan Watkins, $68,197; 14. Reese Riemer, $66,317; 15. Tyson Durfey, $64,240.
Barrel racing: 1. Fallon Taylor, Whitesboro, Texas, 14.09 seconds, $19,002; 2. Trula Churchill, Valentine, Neb., 14.20, $15,018; 3. Michele McLeod, Whitesboro, Texas, 14.24, $11,340; 4. Carlee Pierce, Stephenville, Texas, 14.29, $7,969; 5. Sherry Cervi, Marana, Ariz., 14.35, $4,904; 6. Nancy Hunter, Neola, Utah, 14.45, $3,065; 7. Britany Diaz, Solen, N.D., 14.47; 8. Kaley Bass, Kissimmee, Fla., 14.56; 9. Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, S.D., 14.57; 10. Kassidy Dennison, Tohatchi, N.M., 14.59; 11. Christy Loflin, Franktown, Colo., 18.89; 12. Mary Walker, Ennis, Texas, 19.08; 13. Christine Laughlin, Pueblo, Colo., 19.19; 14. Samantha Lyne, Cotulla, Texas, 19.34; 15. Jana Bean, Ft. Hancock, Texas, 19.37. World standings: 1. Kaley Bass $155,280; 2. Fallon Taylor, $150,474; 3. Lisa Lockhart, $121,617; 4. Michele McLeod, $111,985; 5. Nancy Hunter, $107,354; 6. Britany Diaz, $102,947; 7. Mary Walker, $99,712; 8. Carlee Pierce, 9. Sherry Cervi, $97,952; 10. Christine Laughlin, $93,135; 11. Kassidy Dennison, $92,051; 12. Christy Loflin, $91,736; 13. Trula Churchill, $90,892; 14. Samantha Lyne, $70,577; 15. Jana Bean, $70,416.
Bull riding: 1. Joe Frost, Randlett, Utah, 85.5 points on Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Rattler, $19,002; 2. Tim Bingham, Honeyville, Utah, 83.5, $15,018; 3. Beau Hill, West Glacier, Mont., 82.5, $11,340; 4. J.W. Harris, Mullin, Texas, 75, $7,969; 5. (tie) Trey Benton III, Rock Island, Texas; Sage Kimzey, Strong City, Okla.; Cody Teel, Kountze, Texas; Aaron Pass, Dallas, Texas; Josh Koschel, Nunn, Colo.; Reid Barker, Comfort, Texas; Brennon Eldred, Sulphur, Okla.; Elliot Jacoby, Fredericksburg, Texas; Tyler Smith, Fruita, Colo.; Jordan Spears, Redding, Calif., and Ty Wallace, Collbran, Colo., NS. World standings: 1. Sage Kimzey, $143,165; 2. Trey Benton III, $125,547; 3. Cody Teel, $102,589; 4. Tim Bingham, $100,6522; 5. Joe Frost, $88,561; 6. J.W. Harris, $85,275; 7. Beau Hill, $78,498; 8. Brennon Eldred, $77,830; 9. Reid Barker, $76,227; 10. Josh Koschel, $72,837; 11. Jordan Spears, $72,139; 12. Tyler Smith, $70,040; 13. Ty Wallace, $67,577; 14. Aaron Pass, $66,546; 15. Elliot Jacoby, $65,039.
Total payout: $6,375,000. Stock contractors: Various. Rodeo secretary: Sunni Deb Backstrom. Assistant secretary: Jackie Higlin. Contestant office manager: Vickie Shireman. Officials: Wade Berry, Terry Carlon, Skip Emmett, George Gibbs, Chuck Hoss, Allan Jordan Jr., Bruce Keller, Butch Kirby, Steve Knowles, Joe Bob Locke, Cliff Overstreet, Harry Rose Jr., Rocky Steagall and Mike Todd. Timers: Sherry Rice Gibson, Tammy Braden and Jessi Franzen. Announcers: Wayne Brooks, Randy Corley and Boyd Polhamus. Specialty acts: Rider Kiesner, Madison MacDonald and Kenny Petet. Bullfighters: Chuck Swisher, Dusty Tuckness and Cody Webster. Barrelman: Justin Rumford. Barrrelman alternate: Mark Swingler. Livestock superintendent: John Barnes. Assistant livestock superintendent: Ryan Brown. Roughstock chute boss: Tom Neuens. Timed-event chute boss: Tony Amaral. Pickup men: Josh Edwards and Chase Cervi. Pickup man alternate: Matt Twitchell.
Courtesy of PRCA