WNFR Daily News and Notes, Dec. 8

by | Dec 08, 2015

Ricochet’s Heath Wright is the opening act and the national anthem will be performed by Terry Fator, who is also appearing at the Mirage. Resistol 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.


Today appears to be coronation day. Trevor Brazile has a lead of $177,827 over JoJo LeMond in the all-around world standings and can clinch his 13th gold buckle in that category (23rd overall) without making a dime if LeMond and partner Junior Nogueira finish sixth or lower in the team roping tonight. To put it another way: if Brazile and partner Patrick Smith finish ahead of LeMond/Nogueira in the team roping, Brazile clinches. If Brazile earns even slightly less than LeMond from his combined efforts in team roping and tie-down roping, he clinches. The maximum earnings available to anybody over the rodeo’s last five days is $198,424, accomplished only by winning all five rounds and the average. Tuf Cooper (-$191,960) and Caleb Smidt (-$195,503) still have a highly tenuous mathematical shot, although both are eliminated if Brazile earns a fifth-place finish in either of his events. Clayton Hass officially fell out of contention Monday night.


Two lead changes occurred during Monday’s fifth performance, with team ropers Derrick Begay and Clay O’Brien Cooper moving to the top of the world standings and tie-down roper Hunter Herrin claiming the No. 1 spot in his event. Herrin was second in Round 5 to earn $20,731 and leads Tuf Cooper – the world champion in 2011-12 and ’14 – by just $663. Cooper failed to post a time in Monday’s perf and is a disappointing 15th in the average. Herrin is 10th in the average. In spots 3-5 in the world standings are Timber Moore, Marty Yates and Caleb Smidt – and Smidt trails Herrin by only $9,748. Begay and Cooper won Round 4 and split the win in Round 5 with Coleman Proctor and Jake Long. That allowed Cooper – a seven-time world champion heeler, all with former heading partner Jake Barnes – and Begay to move about $12,000 ahead of Clay Tryan and Jade Corkill in the team roping world standings. Tryan and Corkill are seeking their third consecutive gold buckle as a team; Corkill is gunning for his fourth straight world title as a heeler.


Over the last decade, it has been little better than a coin-flip proposition that the regular-season champion in any one of the nine individual categories would hold on to claim the gold buckle. Forty-six have made it; 44 have not. At the midpoint of the 57th annual Wrangler NFR – with its record purse of $10 million – we seem to be entering new territory. Trevor Brazile moved from fourth to first at last month’s Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping in Mulvane, Kan., and only two of the eight regular-season champions competing here are currently atop the leaderboard. Steer wrestler Ty Erickson, team ropers Derrick Begay and Clay O’Brien Cooper, saddle bronc rider Jacobs Crawley, tie-down roper Hunter Herrin and barrel racer Lisa Lockhart have all moved to the front of the pack over the first five days. Bareback riding No. 1 Kaycee Feild has to be looking over his shoulder, too – he is less than tonight’s first-place round check ahead of Steven Peebles. Indeed, every event except bull riding, where Sage Kimzey has a lead of $44,739 over Parker Breding, is looking at the possibility of a new leader every night. If this trend continues and only two of the nine regular-season champions claim gold buckles, it will tie for the all-time low year with 2001 when only tie-down roper Cody Ohl and steer roper Guy Allen made it all the way to the finish line.


Bareback riding leader and four-time defending world champion Kaycee Feild drew Dilly Bar, the D&H Cattle mount that took Tim O’Connell to the win in Round 1 with a score of 84.5 points. O’Connell will be aboard Bar T Rodeo’s Ruby’s Girl, who tied for the eighth-highest scored bareback ride of the 2015 season with 89 points. Orin Larsen drew Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Betty Boop, who was named top bareback horse of Round 1 after bucking off Jake Brown. Cort Scheer drew Andrews Rodeo’s Fire Lane, who carried Wade Sundell to 86.5 points to win Round 1. Jake Wright has ridden Big John twice: once for 87 points at the 2012 Wrangler NFR and once for 77 points in Oakley City, Utah, in July. The horse has taken riders to an average score of 80-plus points the last four years. Isaac Diaz drew the Cervi Brothers Rodeo’s Vitalix Hell’s Fire Hostage, who also has averaged at least 80 points with riders in the last four years. Bradley Harter has an old friend in Stace Smith Pro Rodeo’s Fantana; he rode the horse for 83 points at the RAM Texas Circuit Finals Rodeo in Waco, Texas, in January. It’s also rematch time for Jacobs Crawley, who was bucked off Powder River Rodeo’s Look Again in February in Rapid City, S.D. The top bull of 2015, Growney Brothers Rodeo’s Crystal Deal, is in action tonight against Joe Frost. 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 47 outs in his career, but all three rides produced scores of more than 90 points. Tonight, Frost 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. Chandler Bownds was bucked off in Round 1. Reigning World Champ Sage Kimzey is matched with Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Red Rocket, who is unridden in seven outs this year in PRCA events. Brennon Eldred drew Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Half Nuts, who tied for third in the voting for top bull of the year. The bull bucked off Brett Stall in Round 1. Scottie Knapp became the first cowboy to ride the bull when he went for 93 points – the highest-scored ride of 2015 – at West of the Pecos (Texas) Rodeo.

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

Bareback riding: 90.5 points, Kaycee Feild, 2008; Cimmaron Gerke, 2004
Steer wrestling: 3.0 seconds, Bryan Fields, 2001 (equals arena record)
Team roping: 3.5 seconds, Trevor Brazile/Patrick Smith, 2011; Colby Lovell/Russell Cardoza, 2012
Saddle bronc riding: 89 points, Cody Wright, 2006
Tie-down roping: 6.9 seconds, Matt Shiozawa, 2014; Marty Yates, 2014
Barrel racing: 13.37 seconds, Taylor Jacob, 2013 (also arena record)
Bull riding: 94 points, Jerome Davis, 1996

Courtesy of PRCA