by ProRodeo.com | May 17, 2014
TORRINGTON, WYO. – Chance Kelton finished the first day of the National Circuit Finals Steer Roping the way he began it – by winning a round. Kelton dominated the action at the Goshen County Fairgrounds’ indoor arena by winning the first and fourth rounds, and finishing second in the third round to earn $3,252.
“A day like this takes a lot of pressure off,” said Kelton, who has qualified for the NCFSR the last three years. “I’ve been here the last few years and not won a thing the first day. That’s not a good feeling.”
Kelton leads the average with a time of 46.8 seconds on four head. Chet Herren, an eight-time qualifier for the National Finals Steer Roping and the 2002 average winner at that event, is second to Kelton with a time of 48.9 seconds on four head. Tom Sorey is third (57.6 seconds) while Bryce Davis is fourth (60.9).
Four rounds were completed on the first day of competition, with the event set to conclude Sunday. The second day will include three additional rounds, with the slate being wiped clean when the top eight in the average advance to the semifinals. The contestants with the top four semifinal times will vie for the championship, in a shootout round.
“If they keep drawing me those steers, I’ll keep collecting money,” Kelton said. “I had some good draws today.”
The Turquoise Circuit cowboy from Mayer, Ariz., won the first round with a time of 11.8 seconds. He won the fourth round with a time of 9.5 seconds – the best time of the day – which eclipsed the day’s previous fastest run of 10.3 seconds by Brent Lewis of Pinon, N.M., another Turquoise Circuit cowboy.
J.P. Wickett, the 2013 NCFSR champion from Sallisaw, Okla., and the Prairie Circuit, won $1,183 for his second-round victory with a time of 10.9 seconds, a mere .1 second ahead of Herren, also of the Prairie Circuit, who collected $887 for second.
Brian Garr of Belle Fourche, S.D., and the Badlands Circuit, won the third round with a time of 10.9 seconds, four-tenths better than Kelton.
Kelton said consistency was as important as speed on a day when many cowboys struggled to avoid at least one round of no-time; only seven of 28 contestants roped all four.
“I just want to catch all my steers,” Kelton said. “There’s a lot that can go wrong in seven head. I did really well today, and I just want to do that again tomorrow.”
The 38-year-old Kelton had won $808,193 in his career prior to the 2014 season, and won the steer roping title at the Guymon (Okla.) Pioneer Days Rodeo earlier this month.
Kelton, who joined the PRCA in 1994, qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo from 1998-2000 as a team roping header with partner Brent Lockett.
“Roping’s been really good to me, my whole life,” Kelton said.
Now, he hopes for one more successful day on Sunday.
Courtesy of PRCA