WNFR Daily News and Notes, Dec. 11

by | Dec 11, 2015

Country singer Bonnie Bishop is the opening act and Sierra Black – a winner of the Wrangler NFR National Anthem Contest – will perform the National Anthem. RAM is the performance sponsor.


Tonight’s Wrangler NFR presented by Polaris RANGER 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 Knowles announcing, Joe Beaver and Don Gay providing commentary, Suzanne Alexander hosting the pre-show and Kadee Coffman as the sideline reporter. All 10 performances of the 2015 Wrangler NFR will be available live with a video-on-demand option via pay-per-view exclusively in Canada, Brazil, Mexico and Australia. ProRodeo Live is airing coverage on a network of radio stations, including Rural Radio, and also online at with Steve Kenyon as the lead announcer.


After tying the arena record with a 6.5-second tie-down roping run on Thursday night, Trevor Brazile is in reach of the third Triple Crown of his career, poised to join Jim Shoulders as the only cowboys to win three gold buckles in the same year three times. There have only been 10 cowboys in ProRodeo history to claim a Triple Crown and only Shoulders (1956-58), Brazile (2007, 2010) and Everett Bowman (1935, 1937) have done it more than once. Brazile clinched his 13th all-around world championship on Tuesday night to go with his earlier triumph in steer roping to bring his career total to 23 world titles; he is now just $537 behind Tuf Cooper in the tie-down roping standings while standing second to Caleb Smidt in the average (Cooper is out of average contention in 13th). This would be Brazile’s fourth gold buckle in tie-down roping if he is able to pull it off, to go with 13 in the all-around, six in steer roping and one in team roping. Going back to Round 8 of the 2014 Wrangler NFR, Brazile has won at least a share of first place in five of the last 11 go-rounds, with four of those wins coming in 6.8 seconds or better. Brazile’s rise to become ProRodeo’s first $6 million man is progressing nicely as well. Last night’s big check brought his career earnings to $5,994,397, which means that a finish of fifth or better tonight in either of his events would put him over the top. His season total of $434,665 places him third on the all-time list (he has the top nine season totals) with two nights of competition and the average checks yet to come. This is the second consecutive year that he has earned more than $100,000 in each of three events; nobody else has done it once.


Each night from the second half of the rodeo onward, the rodeo secretary’s office produces a “What If” summary showing who would win the gold buckle if the rodeo were to end then, based on money won and projected average money. What’s intriguing about the current, post-Round 8 version of the list is that it indicates a wholesale change at the top of the sport. If things were to stand up as they are today, there would be six first-time world champions being honored in the arena tomorrow night – bareback rider Steven Peebles, steer wrestler Dakota Eldridge, team ropers JoJo LeMond and Junior Nogueira, saddle bronc rider Jacobs Crawley and barrel racer Callie duPerier. The only exceptions would be Trevor Brazile (all-around and tie-down roping) and Sage Kimzey, who is vying to become the first bull rider in history to win world titles in his first two seasons as a card holder. The most intriguing first-timers of the bunch? That would be the LeMond/Nogueira tandem. LeMond, who finished 16th in the regular season standings, only got into the WNFR at the last minute when Jake Barnes suffered a serious head injury and a broken ankle during a practice session in his home arena near Scottsdale, Ariz. If they were to hold on to win the team roping gold buckles, LeMond would become the first cowboy in the history of the WNFR to rise from 16th to world champion (only two have made it from 15th to first) and Nogueira would become the first Brazilian to claim a ProRodeo world championship


Apart from Brazile’s stunning arena-record-tying run of 6.5-seconds in the tie-down roping last night, there were a few other insertions into the record book. Steven Peebles’ 89.5-point ride on Frontier Rodeo’s Full Baggage broke the Round 8 record of 89 points set by Deb Greenough in 2000. Luke Branquinho extended his record for most steer wrestling round wins to 25 with his 3.5-second run and Brazile extended his overall record for most round wins in National Finals competition to 63 (18 in the tie-down roping). The extended family of Wrights has five of eight round wins in the saddle bronc riding with Rusty Wright, son of two-time World Champion Cody Wright, claiming three of them; his 11-months-older uncle CoBurn Bradshaw (CoBurn is married to Rusty’s aunt Rebecca) has the other two.


As Steven Peebles and Kaycee Feild battle it out for the bareback riding world title, they both draw horses from Cervi Championship Rodeo tonight. Peebles will be on RodeoHouston’s Alpha Dog, a horse that Feild rode for 85 points in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., while Feild will be aboard RodeoHouston’s Control Freak tonight, who carried Orin Larsen to 87 points in Nampa, Idaho. Winn Ratliff has placed in just two of eight rounds during this WNFR, but tonight he has J Bar J’s Pass the Hat, the horse that carried Feild to 84 points and a split of the Round 4 win. In the saddle bronc riding, Chuck Schmidt is set to reunite with an old friend. The Keldron, S.D., cowboy will face Sutton Rodeos’ Chuckulator – a horse which is named for Schmidt. In 2012 – the year Chuckulator won the PRCA Saddle Bronc of the Year and was named Top Saddle Bronc of the WNFR – the Sutton family started calling the horse Chuckulator, short for Chuck’s Eliminator. The first few times Schmidt attempted to ride the horse he was bucked off – hard. However, Schmidt rode the horse for 88 points in Cheyenne, Wyo., in 2013 and was 84 on him in Minot, N.D., two months ago. Spencer Wright draws Flying 5 Rodeo’s Sundance, the same horse which took his nephew, Rusty Wright, to the Round 4 victory with a score of 85.5 points. Bull rider Cody Teel will be on Silver Spurs Rodeo’s Hang ’em High, the same bull who bucked Teel off in Round 4 last year. The man Teel is chasing for the world title, Sage Kimzey, matches up with Smith, Harper & Morgan’s Maverick – a bull he’s never drawn until now, and one which is unridden in his career. Parker Breding will try to become the first man to successfully ride Summit Pro Rodeo’s Cross the Wyoming Line – the 2014 PRCA Bull of the Year who is unridden in 33 career outs. The 28th annual League of Women Luncheon and Style Show, hosted by Michael and Paula Gaughan, added $90,000 yesterday to the nearly $1.5 million it has raised for the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund, which offers financial assistance to rodeo participants injured in a rodeo or on the way to or from a rodeo.

Record times and scores for the ninth round of the WNFR:

Bareback riding: 90 points, Rowdy Buechner, 2005
Steer wrestling: 3.2 seconds, Cash Myers, 2001; Derek Daye, 1993; Luke Branquinho, 2007
Team roping: 3.3 seconds, Chad Masters/Jade Corkill, 2009 (also arena and world record)
Saddle bronc riding: 92 points, Dan Mortensen, 2002
Tie-down roping: 6.7 seconds, Tuf Cooper, 2008
Barrel racing: 13.53 seconds, Lindsay Sears, 2008
Bull riding: 95.5 points, Zack Brown, 2003

Courtesy of PRCA