PUEBLO, Colo. – J.W. Harris’ pursuit of a fifth PRCA bull riding title has only gotten tougher since the start of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) last Thursday.
Halfway through the NFR, Harris has seen the gap between himself and world leader Sage Kimzey only widen following five rounds of action. The 28-year-old trails Kimzey by $114,284.10 in the world standings after going 3-for-5 so far in Las Vegas.
Harris began the NFR $65,858.63 behind Kimzey.
However, after being bucked off by Cross The Wyoming Line in Round 1, Kimzey has since ridden four consecutive bulls to maintain the number one position in the world standings, as well as the event average (339 points).
Harris heads into his Round 6 matchup Tuesday night against Redrum fourth in the event average with 230.5 points, and if the NFR were to have ended today, he would finish fifth in the PRCA’s projected world standings.
“I am not very good at math so I don’t pay any attention to that,” Harris said before the start of the NFR. “I just go out there and ride my bulls and let the secretaries add that all up. My job is to go out there and ride those bulls.”
The 2014 PBR Rookie of the Year began the event with a 75-point ride on Tea Time in Round 1. Fire & Smoke, a 2014 World Champion Bull contender, bucked off Tyler Smith in the first round, as well.
Harris then tacked on a 74.5-point ride aboard Panther in Round 3 and an 81-point performance on News Flash in Round 5.
2014 College National Finals Rodeo bull riding champion Joe Frost has risen to fourth in the world standings thanks to a 4-for-5 performance thus far.
Frost, the second cousin of the legendary Lane Frost, has won two go-rounds this year, including Round 5 on Monday night thanks to his 89-point ride on Bottle Rocket, and is second in the event average (329).
Frost also rode Chad Berger’s Cowtown Slinger for 80.5 points in Round 3.
Former Built Ford Tough Series rider Beau Hill, who last qualified for the Built Ford Tough World Finals in 2010 and has competed in 95 BFTS events, is currently sixth in the event average with 160.5 points on two bulls in his first NFR in 10 years.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.
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