Championships go down to wire at National Finals Rodeo


If the National Finals Rodeo were a Super Bowl or World Series, competition would be in the closing minutes of the last quarter or in the seventh inning with one score separating teams.

Tonight is the next-to-last round of the Finals at the Thomas & Mack Center, and only one world championship race has been determined. Another could be clinched tonight during the ninth of 10 go-rounds, which starts at 6:45.

Trevor Brazile wrapped up his ninth Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association all-around title on Sunday.

Bareback rider Kaycee Feild nearly clinched Thursday when won his fifth Finals go-round by tying for first with Bobby Mote and Clint Cannon before 17,558. Feild has a virtually insurmountable $72,064 lead over Will Lowe.

Feild, Mote and Cannon each won $14,231 after being scored for 83.5 points; Field rode Andrews Rodeo's Walk Hard, Mote was on Flying U Rodeo's Comanchero, and Cannon covered Carr Pro Rodeo's Real Deal.

■ STEER WRESTLING -- Jason Miller moved into the NFR aggregate lead when he won his third round of the week. His 3.9-second run also moved him to second in the world standings behind Luke Branquinho, who failed to earn a check on Thursday.

"It's going to come right down to the go-rounds every single night," said Miller, who expects the championship won't be determined until Saturday night.

"If Luke or Shawn beat me, I should have just done better earlier in the year or earlier on in the Finals," said Miller, who has won $78,173 in the NFR.

■ TEAM ROPING -- Brady Tryan and Jake Long won their first Finals round with a run of 3.7 seconds and the event's second-best time.

Clay Tryan is leading the heading standings, but partner Travis Graves dropped to second in the heeling.

Cory Petska took the world standings lead among heelers, and teammate Matt Sherwood is second in heading.

■ SADDLE BRONC RIDING -- While NFR rookie Jacobs Crawley won his first go-round with an 83.5-point ride on Flying 5's Sundance, Jesse Wright put himself in position to pass older brother and reigning champion Cody Wright for second. Jesse placed second in the round to enhance his chance of catching money leader Taos Muncy, who finished outside the money.

■ TIE-DOWN ROPING -- Scott Kormos turned in his fastest run of the week with a 7.2-second effort to win the round.

Money leader Tuf Cooper tied for second to extend his lead to a comfortable $41,605 margin over Cody Ohl, who is leading the Finals aggregate totals.

■ BARREL RACING -- Jane Melby won her second round of the week with a 13.78-second run, but bigger news was that Canadian Night at the NFR was magical for Alberta's Lindsay Sears.

Sears, who is second in the season standings, tied for third, and money leader Brittany Pozzi knocked over one of three barrels, and the five-second penalty cost her a chance at getting a check. Sherry Cervi, who is third in money this year, also tripped a barrel.

■ BULL RIDING -- J.W. Harris, who has been riding with a broken ankle since the fourth round, put more pressure on money leader Shane Proctor.

Harris, the three-time defending world champion, won his third round of the Finals with an 87.5-point ride on Korkow Rodeo's Black Velvet.

Proctor was bucked off, and Harris has cut the deficit $19,946.

"I'm in the position that I want to be," Harris said. "I've just got to keep doing what I did tonight and everything will fall my way."

Jeff Wolf is a freelance reporter. He can be reached at (702) 406-8165 or nitrorodeo@gmail.com.

 

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