Josh Peek and Wade Sumpter left their Colorado homes about a week and half ago with high hopes and dreams of returning with rodeo world championships loaded up in their horse trailers.
But it will be Ken Lewis of La Junta, Colo., who will be heading back to Colorado with the biggest haul.
While Peek of Pueblo, Colo., has earned only one check through eight go-rounds and lost the lead in the world calf roping standings Thursday, Sumpter’s Finals dreams were ended by an injury in the second round of steer wrestling.
Sumpter, who lives in Fowler, Colo., still has a reason to remain focused on the steer wrestling competition. He wants to do whatever he can to help Lewis, his rodeo traveling partner the past three years.
Lewis, 26, has been a hazer at the National Finals Rodeo, and this is his first year competing for gold.
Lewis, a graduate of Colorado State University, started the Finals ranked fifth and has held the position by finishing in the money in four of the first seven rounds.
Lewis placed second a week ago, tied for second two nights later and tied for fifth Tuesday and Wednesday.
He had a solid time of 4.3 Friday but placed out of the money. He’s fourth in the NFR standings and fifth in world money with $122,943, including $31,911 won the past nine days.
This looked to be championship years for Pueblo’s Peek and Fowler’s Sumpter. They arrived in Las Vegas ranked No. 1 in their respective rodeo events for the 50th anniversary of the NFR.
But though they haven’t lost their smiles, it’s been a disappointing Finals for both heading into today’s 10th and final round of the $5.6 million rodeo at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Sumpter tore the right pectoral muscle from the bone in the second round Dec. 5. He tried to bulldog the next two nights but was unable to handle the steers once he left his horse.
He turned out of the fifth and sixth go-rounds, and finally conceded his third Finals was over Tuesday.
“I could live with the pain but I had no strength,” he said. “I’d run all 10 head if the pain was all I had to deal with. But hitting the ground with my head gets kind of old ... and embarrassing.”
Sumpter, 27, will have surgery before the end of the year and won’t be able to compete until July.
Peek has remained healthy, and isn’t certain what has happened in the first eight go-rounds of calf roping in which he placed in the money once.
He finally lost the money lead after Thursday’s eighth go-round, in which he had his worst run of the Finals by missing his first loop and finishing with a time of 23 seconds that dropped him to seventh in the Finals standings.
Reigning calf roping champion Trevor Brazile, who clinched the all-around Tuesday, took over the lead after Thursday’s go-round.
Peek remains in contention for the world title but needs to win the last two rounds to have any chance and get some help with Brazile and Hunter Herrin falling on hard times.
WORLD SERIES OF TEAM ROPING
Following is a report by publicist Susan Kanode:
Mack Altizer is a rodeo stock contractor and producer who is well known in the industry. He is also a talented roper and showed fans that experience at the World Series of Team Roping Bloomer Trailers #10 division.
Roping with longtime friend and former rodeo cowboy rider Doug Dugan, the duo stopped the clock in 7.66 seconds. Altizer, from Del Rio, Texas, is owner of Bad Company Rodeo and did the heading. Dugan lives in Stephenville, Texas, and his rodeo career included every event except team roping. Now team roping is the only event he is competing in. They earned $7,000 for their efforts at the South Point Equestrian and Events Center.
The second rotation winners were Brian Cline of Yeso, N.M., and Justen Washburn, of Corona, N.M., with a 7.85. Two cowboys from Mesilla Park, N.M., won the third rotation. Chad Morris did the heading for Brandon Barker. They had a 7.39-second run and joined Cline and Washburn in earning a $7,000 check.
Cole Applegate and Jesse DeBord, from Yoakum, Texas, had the fastest time in the three head consolation roping with a 7.58 second run to win $5,000.
The Thunder EquiGames Grand Finale today will feature the 15 teams that had the fastest total times on three head in the preliminary competition in the Cactus Ropes #13, the Priefert #11 and the Bloomer Trailers #10.
Over $3 million in cash and prizes will be paid to contestants during the Grand Finale, which begins at 1 p.m. Along with the team roping, the fastest times from the Charmayne James Invitational Barrel Race, the World Series of Mounted Shooting and the Rob Smets Bullfight will be featured.
Bloomer Trailers #10 preliminary results
Rotation 1: 1, Mack Altizer, Del Rio, Texas/Dug Dugan, Stephenville, Texas, 7.66, $7,000. 2, Cole Applegate, Yoakum, Texas/Jesse DeBord, Yoakum, Texas, 7.76, $6,000. 3, Court Will, Silt, Colo./Bruce Arbaney, Glenwood Springs, Colo., 7.92, $5,000. 4, Ross Gosney, Bayfield, Colo./Heather Anderson, Cave Creek, Ariz., 8.12, $4,000. 5, Court Will, Silt, Colo./Bruce Arbaney, Glenwood Springs, Colo., 8.23, $3,000.
Rotation 2: 1, Brian Cline, Yeso, N.M./Justen Washburn, Corona, N.M., 7.85 seconds, $7,000. 2, Jack Sparrowk, Clements, Calif./Tyler Holzum, Oakdale, Calif., $6,000. 3, David James, Purcell, Okla./Joe Bailey, Edmund, Okla., 8.04, $5,000. 4, Jerry Campbell, Shoshoni, Wyo./Jock Campbell, Shoshoni, Wyo., 8.38, $4000. 5, Frank Gardner, Lovington, N.M./Travis Rice, Hobbs, N.M., 8.54, $3,000.
Rotation 3: 1, Chad Morris, Mesilla Park, N.M./Brandon Barker, Mesilla Park, N.M., 7.39 seconds, $7,000. 2, Jon Witte, Clint, Texas/Bill Porter, Salem, Utah, 7.54, $6,000. 3, Dave Williams, Ord, Neb./Sam Brinkman, Ericson, Neb., 7.66, $5,000. 4, Bob Herrington, San Mateo, Fla./Becky Cannizzaro, Folsum, La., 7.76, $4,000. 5, Glenn Springer, Aspermont, Texas/Ray Douglas, Stephenville, Texas, 7.94, $3,000.
Top 15 — Grand Finale qualifiers (total on three): 1, George Ortega, Marana, Ariz./Gerardo Valenzuela, Sahuarita, Ariz., 30.21. 2, John Judd, Pima, Ariz./Troy Judd, Pima, Ariz., 30.31. 3, Court Will, Silt, Colo./Bruce Arbaney, Glenwood Springs, Colo., 30.46. 4, Carl Daniel, Bakersfield, Calif./David Daniel, Bakersfield, Calif., 30.53. 5, John Nichols, Cave Creek, Ariz./Randy Jackson, Clyde Park, Mont., 30.75. 6, Michael Ortiz, Manzanola, Colo./Mark Bigler, Pueblo, Colo., 31.14. 7, Tyler Scott, Chino Valley, Ariz./Chuck Perkins, Winslow, Ariz., 31.19. 8, Tyler Leavitt, Las Vegas, Nev./Lucas Leavitt, Las Vegas, Nev., 33.20. 9, David DeRuiter, Casper, Wyo./Leo Woodbury, Buffalo, Wyo., 33.21. 10, David James, Purcell, Okla./Joe Bailey, Edmond, Okla., 33.63. 11, Don Gosney, Bayfield, Colo./Bucky Harris, Aztec, N.M., 33.73. 12, Bill Joslin, Buckeye, Ariz./Dan Narramore, Palo Verde, Ariz., 35.27. 13, Doug Harrigal, Holliday, Texas/Jackie Davis, Decatur, Texas, 35.46. 14, Randy Taylor, Saco, Mont./Mark Pankratz, Dodson, Mont., 35.58. 15, Dan Martinez, Winnemucca, Nev./Joey Sanchez, Walnut Grove, Calif., 36.33.