OMAHA, Neb. – Ryan Jarrett is a long shot to make his ninth Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, but he’s fighting until the last calf of the season.
The 30-year-old veteran tied the tie-down roping arena record at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb., Thursday night with a 6.8-second run. He now is in the driver’s seat to win the Justin Boots Championships, and keep his outside shot of making it to Rodeo’s Super Bowl in Las Vegas alive.
“It’s a great accomplishment to tie the arena record,” Jarrett said. “I wasn’t going for the record; I was just trying to have a fast run and it worked out that way. It’s another notch on the belt, you could say.”
Jarrett’s lightning-fast run tied two-time World Champion Tuf Cooper’s time from this event in 2012. Jarrett was the fastest of the 12 men who roped Thursday night, and if he can hang on and have the best time after the other 12 cowboys compete Friday, he’ll earn $6,349.
Jarrett entered the final week of the ProRodeo regular season ranked 21st in the world standings, and was hoping for some Omaha magic.
“I’m not going to Stephenville (Texas) or San Bernardino (Calif.), so all my eggs are in the Omaha basket,” he said. “I feel good about what I was able to do tonight. I had a great calf, and didn’t make a mistake.”
His mindset of throwing caution to the wind worked out Thursday, and he’s hoping that momentum carries over to the Wrangler Champions Challenge here Saturday night.
“I came in here with the attitude that I needed to be first or nothing, and it’ll be the same way Saturday night,” he said. “I just want to get against the barrier and hope for the best. Tying one down and getting a nice check isn’t an option at this point, so it’s time to go for broke.”
Other leaders after the first night of the Justin Boots Championships are bareback riders Orin Larsen (83 points on Dakota Rodeo’s Wolverine) and Jessy Davis (83 points on Three Hills Rodeo’s Rocky); steer wrestlers Billy Bugenig and Riley Duvall (3.9 seconds each); team ropers Chad Masters and Clay O’Brien Cooper (4.8 seconds); saddle bronc rider Jesse Wright (82 points on J Bar J’s Shady Cat); barrel racer Sarah Rose McDonald (14.51 seconds) and bull rider Trey Benton III (84 points on Summit Pro Rodeo’s Shrimp).
Courtesy of PRCA