Country music star Aaron Watson is the opening act; the national anthem will be performed by Becca Kotte, who’s also performing in Rock of Ages at the Venetian. B&W Trailer Hitches is the performance sponsor.
WRANGLER NFR LIVE ON TELEVISION, RADIO AND INTERNET
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 online at www.prorodeolive.com with Steve Kenyon the lead announcer.
BULL RIDER BARKER OUT FOR REMAINDER OF WNFR
Bull rider Reid Barker, a two-time qualifier for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (2014, 2015), will be sidelined for the rest of the 2015 WNFR because of a fractured left shoulder blade and a fractured rib he suffered during Round 3, Dec. 5. “I’m a no-go, I’m out,” said Barker, 23, who has a sling around his left arm. “I can’t move my arm. I’m pretty frustrated. I worked my butt off all year long to get here, and I wish things would’ve gone my way a little more (at the WNFR).” Barker suffered the injuries following his 74-point ride on Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Lonestar. Moments after the whistle, Barker was stepped on by the bull; he finished third in the round and won $15,654.
After Round 3, after finishing fourth in the team roping Saturday night, JoJo LeMond moved ahead of Tuf Cooper to take over second place in the all-around world standings. LeMond is $168,096 behind 12-time World Champion All-around Cowboy Trevor Brazile; LeMond’s maximum potential earnings are $250,886. if he were to win the final seven rounds of the WNFR and the average title with Junior Noguiera. Tuf Cooper has the same maximum possible earnings, but is $177,786 behind Brazile. Clayton Hass and Caleb Smidt also remain in mathematical contention.
CODY DEMOSS REGAINS TOP SADDLE BRONC SPOT
Cody DeMoss, who lost his lead in the saddle bronc riding world standings on Friday for the first time since Feb. 9, bounced right back with a win Saturday to take a $6,304 lead over Jacobs Crawley. And his WNFR history suggests reason for optimism down the stretch. DeMoss has produced rides of 84 points or better about 30 percent of the time in the last seven rounds at the Thomas & Mack, with 10 of his 13 previous WNFR round wins coming in the second half of the rodeo, including three in Round 10.
LEAD CHANGES CONTINUE IN STEER WRESTLING
The game of musical chairs that is the steer wrestling field played on last night with yet another lead change. Ty Erickson, who had held the lead after Round 1, knocked 2013 World Champion Hunter Cure out of the top spot. For those of you keeping score at home, the world standings leaders the last four nights have been Clayton Hass, Erickson, Cure and Erickson. Cure, Hass and Kyle Irwin are within one round win (or less) of taking the lead tonight.
MOORE NOW IN NO. 1 POSITION IN TIE-DOWN ROPING
Bull rider Sage Kimzey is the only world standings leader with enough of an advantage to be assured of exiting Round 4 still in front. Timber Moore moved ahead of Tuf Cooper into first place in the tie-down roping standings last night, which means there have been lead changes in four of the nine categories already. In addition to the lead changes in the tie-down roping and steer wrestling, Lisa Lockhart scooted past regular-season barrel racing champion Callie duPerier on Friday and saddle bronc rider Wade Sundell spent one day in first place ahead of DeMoss.
NEWS & NOTES
Canadian bareback rider Clint Laye is up against Korkow Rodeos’ Flashcard Champion, who carried fellow Albertan Jake Vold to an 89-point ride in Ogden, Utah, in July. The horse has averaged more than 80 points for qualified rides for four consecutive years. Jake Brown drew Wayne Vold Rodeo’s True Grit, who has the second-highest score of the 2015 regular season – he took Caleb Bennett to a 91.25 ride in Strathmore, Alberta, in August. Tanner Aus has drawn J Bar J’s Dirty Rags before, in a very different arena: Cheyenne Frontier Days, where they teamed up for an 85-point ride in July. Kaycee Feild met his horse even more recently – he rode J Bar J’s Pass the Hat for 82 points at the 2015 Wrangler Champions Challenge Finale presented by Justin Boots in Omaha. In the saddle bronc riding, Winn Ratliff has Frontier Rodeo’s Times Up, a horse who has averaged at least 81 points the last five consecutive years with only four buck-offs the last three years. Zeke Thurston drew Frontier Rodeo’s Let ’er Rip, who has twice placed in the top five saddle broncs of the Wrangler NFR (2008-09). Since that time, Let ’er Rip has taken Jesse Wright, Cody DeMoss and Jeff Willert to NFR scores higher than 81 points (2012, 2012 and 2011). Band of brothers: Although reigning World Champion Spencer Wright hasn’t ridden Andrews Rodeo’s Trophy Wife, he can get some extra advice from his brothers – Jesse went 85 points on the horse in Springdale, Ark., in July, and Jesse’s twin Jake got 80 points with her in Abilene, Kan., in 2013. And Jake Wright, having drawn Harry Vold Rodeo’s Pilot Point, can get tips from older brother Cody, bucked off the horse in August in Dodge City, Kan., and Cody’s son Rusty, who scored 83 points with the horse at the Pueblo, Colo., Wrangler Champions Challenge presented by Justin Boots. Rusty, in turn, drew Flying Five Rodeo’s Sundance, the No. 3 bronc of the 2008 Wrangler NFR; between his dad, Cody, and his uncles Jake and Jesse, the Wrights have already danced with Sundance six times, and three of those rides produced 81-plus scores. Meanwhile, Wright brother-in-law CoBurn Bradshaw faces a formidable foe tonight: Burch Rodeo’s War Bridle has bucked off 10 of the last 14 cowboys to leave the chute on him. Joe Frost has a bull – Andrew’s Rodeo’s Bell Ringer – that he’s capable of registering a big score with. Fellow WNFR qualifier Chandler Bownds won the Wild Bill Hickok Rodeo Aug. 1 in Abilene, Kan., with a 90-point ride aboard that bull. Clayton Foltyn, who won Round 2, is riding Corey & Lange Rodeo’s Big Cool tonight. Wesley Silcox split the win at the Redding (Calif.) Rodeo with an 87-point ride on Big Cool. Kody DeShon is riding United Pro Rodeo’s Maximum Justice tonight, a bull that Brennon Eldred had an 86-point ride on to win the first round at Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days in July.
Record times and scores for the fourth round of the WNFR:
Bareback riding: 90.5 points, Will Lowe, 2004
Steer wrestling: 3.1 seconds, Dean Gorsuch, 2013
Team roping: 3.5 seconds, Brady Tryan/Jake Long, 2010
Saddle bronc riding: 90 points, Jesse Kruse, 2009; Jesse Wright, 2012
Tie-down roping: 6.6 seconds, Cody Ohl, 2009
Barrel racing: 13.49 seconds, Taylor Jacob, 2013
Bull riding: 92 points, Jesse Bail, 2001; Paolo Crimber, 2004
Courtesy of PRCA