Members of the rodeo community helped reporter Jeff Wolf select the 10 most memorable editions of the past 49 National Finals Rodeos.
The countdown to No. 1 continues.
1985, Las Vegas
Purse: $1.79 million
The first National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas isn’t the only reason this was a memorable edition of the world’s richest rodeo.
Among the world champions that year: rookie Joe Beaver in calf roping; veteran Lewis Feild in all-around and bareback riding; and Jake Barnes and Clay O’Brien Cooper — who are again competing together this year — in team roping.
But the most talked about performance was by 15-year-old barrel racer Charmayne James and her horse, Scamper.
James entered the seventh round having won three of the previous six nights.
During the run, the bridle broke and slipped down around Scamper’s neck, and James had to hold the rein to keep it from falling and tripping her steed.
Hall of Fame announcer Bob Tallman said it “was like driving a race car without a steering wheel.” Scamper ran the course and won the seventh go-round.
James and Scamper ended up winning the world championship, the second of 10 they would claim together.