WNFR Daily News and Notes, Dec.3

by | Dec 03, 2015

Road to Vegas is the opening act and the national anthem will be performed by country music star Mark Wills. Pendleton Whisky 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 the lead announcer.


On the eve of the 57th annual Wrangler National Finals Rodeo presented by Polaris RANGER, each of the 119 qualifiers received a check for $10,000 from the total purse of $10 million. The money counts toward their WNFR and world championship earnings totals and they will be competing for the remaining $8.8 million over the next 10 nights. As the only contestant to have qualified in two events (team roping and tie-down roping), 22-time World Champion Trevor Brazile received $20,000 on Wednesday night and enters competition tonight with total season earnings of $302,242 as he aims for his 13th all-around gold buckle. Bareback rider Clint Cannon’s $10,000 check pushed him past the $1 million mark in career earnings, making him the 131st PRCA cowboy to reach that milestone at $1,005,620.


Seven-time World Champion Team Roper Jake Barnes suffered a traumatic brain injury and a broken ankle Nov. 27 when his horse fell while practicing at his Scottsdale, Ariz.-area arena with heeler Junior Nogueira. Barnes remains hospitalized and has withdrawn from the Dec. 3-12 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Barnes finished the 2015 regular season 11th in the world standings. He will be replaced as Nogueira’s partner by 16th-place header JoJo LeMond, who will join Trevor Brazile as the only men to qualify for both the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping and WNFR this year. This will be LeMond’s fourth appearance at the WNFR (2008-10). In his previous three WNFR qualifications, LeMond finished in the top 10 of the world standings each time, with his best finish coming in 2009 when he was fifth. This is the first injury replacement at the WNFR since saddle bronc rider Rod Hay withdrew in 2010 (he broke his femur in 25 pieces while leading the world standings in June), opening a spot for Jesse Wright. Hay was still ninth on the first night of the WNFR but fell all the way to 13th by rodeo’s end.


The PRCA annual awards banquet took place before a packed house of 1,032 people at the South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa’s Grand Ballroom last night. Justin Rumford was the big winner, taking home both the Coors Man in the Can and Clown of the Year awards. This was the fourth consecutive year Rumford won Clown of the Year. He also was the Coors Man in the Can in 2013. Frontier Rodeo was named Stock Contractor of the Year – an award Stace Smith Pro Rodeos had won the previous 11 years. John Harrison was the Comedy Act of the Year for the second year in a row. Linda Alsbaugh was selected Secretary of the Year, and Randy Corley was chosen as the Announcer of the Year. Dusty Tuckness was named the Bullfighter of the Year for the third year in a row, and Amanda and John Payne were chosen as Dress Act of the Year. Matt Twitchell made history when he was chosen as the inaugural winner of the Pickup Man of the Year. The San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo continued its dominance in the Large Indoor Rodeo of the Year category, winning for the 11th year in a row, and the Days of ’76 Rodeo in Deadwood, S.D., was chosen as Medium Rodeo of the Year for the 12th year in a row. The Pendleton (Ore.) Round-Up was selected as the Large Outdoor Rodeo of the Year, and the Will Rogers Stampede PRCA Rodeo in Claremore (Okla.) rodeo was chosen as the Small Rodeo of the Year for the second year in a row.


The first round of the Wrangler NFR has been kind to defending four-time World Champion Bareback Rider Kaycee Feild. The Spanish Fork, Utah, cowboy has placed in the first round each of the past five years, including taking first in 2011 and 2014. Feild won last year’s first round with an 84.5-point ride on Sutton Rodeos’ Cactus Juice. Another four-time world champ, Bobby Mote, will ride Cactus Juice tonight. Feild will be aboard Stace Smith Pro Rodeos’ Miss Dunny. A bareback rider looking to breakthrough tonight is Steven Peebles. In his six years at the WNFR, the Redmond, Ore., native has never earned a check in the first round. Tonight, he’ll take on Kesler Rodeo’s Garden Party. The pair of saddle bronc riders in the 2015 WNFR field who have had the most first-round success are Taos Muncy and Wade Sundell. Muncy, the two-time world champion, has placed in five of seven first rounds – including two wins. He will face Bar T Rodeo’s Lullibell tonight, while Sundell – who has placed in five of his six first rounds at the WNFR – will battle Andrews Rodeo’s Fire Lane. Cort Scheer’s 87-point ride on Frontier Rodeo’s Short Stop was tops in the first round last year, and he’ll try to have the same success on Sankey Pro Rodeo’s Show Biz. Defending World Champion Spencer Wright has a horse who two members of his family have drawn recently – Burch Rodeo’s Iron Maiden. Spencer’s brother, Jake Wright, rode Iron Maiden for 80 points at the Pendleton (Ore.) Round-Up in September, and Spencer’s nephew, Rusty Wright, was bucked off the horse in Sentinel Butte, N.D., in August. The top bull of 2015, Growney Brothers Rodeo’s Crystal Deal, is in action tonight against Chandler Bownds. The bull was second in the regular-season top bull voting in 2014 and third in 2013, and was voted the WNFR’s top bull in 2013. The bull has only been ridden three times in 46 outs in its career, but all three rides produced scores of more than 90 points. Tonight, Bownds will attempt to become the first cowboy to cover the bull since Elliot Jacoby rode Crystal Deal for 92 points in Canby, Ore., in August 2014.

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

Bareback riding: 89 points, Kaycee Feild, 2011; Wes Stevenson, 2006
Steer wrestling: 3.1 seconds, Trevor Knowles, 2013
Team roping: 4.0 seconds, Turtle Powell/Dakota Kirchenschlager, 2014
Saddle bronc riding: 89 points, Bryce Miller, 2008
Tie-down roping: 6.9 seconds, Cody Ohl, 2004
Barrel racing: 13.75 seconds, Mary Walker, 2012
Bull riding: 94 points, Donnie Gay, 1974; Blue Stone, 2001

Courtesy of PRCA