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2013 National Finals Rodeo qualifiers

Following are breakdowns of each championship on the line at the 2013 National Finals Rodeo, with the list of qualifiers in each event, along with overviews of each title race and event descriptions. The NFR begins its annual 10-day run on Thursday night at the Thomas &Mack Center.

ALL-AROUND COWBOY

2013 TOP CONTENDERS

1. Trevor Brazile, Decatur, Texas, $255,187

2. Tuf Cooper, Decatur, Texas, $133,024

3. Jade Corkill, Fallon, $114,848

4. Rhen Richard, Roosevelt, Utah, $95,182

5. Steven Dent, Mullen, Neb., $86,223

6. Shane Proctor, Grand Coulee, Wash., $85,384

7. Caleb Smidt, Bellville, Texas, $81,824

8. Landon McClaugherty, Tilden, Texas, $77,684

9. JoJo LeMond, Andrews, Texas, $73,987

10. Ryan Jarrett, Comanche, Okla., $70,557

11. Stetson Vest, Childress, Texas, $65,405

12. Josh Peek, Pueblo, Col., $62,751

13. Jess Tierney, Hermosa, S.D., $60,230

14. Dakota W. Eldridge, Elko, $55,667

15. Jake Cooper, Monument, N.M., $55,015

2012 CHAMPION: Trevor Brazile

OVERVIEW: Brazile should continue to rewrite the rodeo record books by cruising to his eighth straight and 11th overall all-around crown, which would give him his unprecedented 19th world title. Brazile won the National Finals Steer Roping title in November to match steer roper Guy Allen’s career mark of 18 world titles. Brazile enters the NFR in fourth place in tie-down roping and in seventh place in team roping (headers).

DESCRIPTION: The PRCA cowboy who wins the most money in a year while competing in at least two events — earning a minimum of $3,000 in the second event — wins the all-around crown. Money earned in the PRCA’s Xtreme Bulls tour does not factor into all-around money.

BAREBACK RIDING

2013 TOP CONTENDERS

1. Bobby Mote, Culver, Ore., $126,187

2. Kaycee Feild, Payson, Utah, $120,375

3. Will Lowe, Canyon, Texas, $115,045

4. Ryan Gray, Cheney Wash., $108,287

5. Wes Stevenson, Lubbock, Texas, $88,409

6. J.R. Vezain, Cowley, Wyo., $84,729

7. Ty Breuer, Mandan, N.D., $84,321

8. Steven Peebles, Redmond, Ore., $81,800

9. Austin Foss, Terrebone, Ore., $77,936

10. Steven Dent, Mullen, Neb., $75,116

11. Jessy Davis, Power, Mont., $74,997

12. Clint Cannon, Waller, Texas, $72,882

13. Casey Colletti, Pueblo, Col., $71,517

14. Jared Smith, Williston, Fla., $68,026

15. Caleb Bennett, Morgan, Utah, $67,475

2012 CHAMPION: Kaycee Feild

OVERVIEW: In one of the closest and deepest NFR title races, Bobby Mote, Kaycee Feild and Will Lowe enter in first, second and third place, respectively, and have combined to win nine of the last 11 world titles. Four-time world champion Mote, at 37 the elder statesman of the group, can tie Bruce Ford and Joe Alexander for the record of five titles if he wins again this year. Feild, the son of five-time world champion Lewis Feild, is the two-time defending world champion in the event. Lowe, a three-time world champ, placed second in each of the last two years.

DESCRIPTION: A bareback rider begins his ride with feet placed above the break of the horse’s shoulder. If the cowboy’s feet are not in the correct position when the horse hits the ground on its first jump out of the chute, the cowboy has failed to “mark out” the horse properly, and his ride gets no score.

Throughout the eight-second ride, the cowboy must grasp the rigging (a hand-hold made of leather and rawhide) with only one hand.

The rider is judged on his control and spurring technique. He is disqualified if he touches his equipment, his body or the animal with his free hand.

The horse’s performance accounts for half the total score.

STEER WRESTLING

2013 TOP CONTENDERS

1. Casey Martin, Sulphur, La., $108,938

2. Trevor Knowles, Mount Vernon, Ore., $101,528

3. Matt Reeves, Cross Plains, Texas, $90,366

4. Jason Miller, Lance Creek, Wyo., $74,070

5. Jule Hazen, Ashland, Kan., $69,266

6. K.C. Jones, Decatur, Texas, $69,207

7. Hunter Cure, Holliday, Texas, $65,007

8. Dean Gorsuch, Gering, Neb., $64,351

9. Tyler Pearson, Louisville, Miss., $63,007

10. Stan Branco, Chowchilla, Calif., $62,585

11. Wade Sumpter, Fowler, Col., $59,092

12. Straws Milan, Cochrane, Ala., $58,151

13. Luke Branquinho, Los Alamos, Calif., $57,300

14. Bray Armes, Ponder, Texas, $57,094

15. Dakota W Eldridge, Elko, $50,806

2012 CHAMPION: Luke Branquinho

OVERVIEW: Casey Martin is the only cowboy leading the world standings who hasn’t won a gold buckle. He finished second in the world in the event last year and finished a career-best second in the NFR steer wrestling average. Martin has led the world standings this season every week but one since January. Dakota Eldridge — one of only two Nevada natives who qualified for the NFR, along with reigning team roping (heeler) world champion Jade Corkill — earned the last spot in the steer wrestling field in his second PRCA season.

DESCRIPTION: The steer wrestler and horse start behind a barrier and begin chase after the steer has been given a head start. If the wrestler leaves too soon and breaks the barrier, he receives a 10-second penalty.

The steer wrestler is assisted by a hazer, another cowboy on horseback who tries to keep the steer running in a straight line.

When the bulldogger’s horse pulls even with the steer, he eases down the side of the horse and reaches for the steer’s horns. After grasping the horns, he digs his heels into the dirt. As the steer slows, the cowboy turns the animal, lifts up on its right horn and pushes down with his left hand.

After the catch, he must either bring the steer to a stop or change the direction of the animal’s body before the throw, or he is disqualified. The clock stops when the calf is on its side with all legs pointing in the same direction.

TEAM ROPING-HEADERS

2013 TOP CONTENDERS

1. Clay Tryan, Billings, Mont., $112,981

2. Kaleb Driggers, Albany, Ga., $105,445

3. Brandon Beers, Powell Butte, Ore., $97,373

4. Erich Rogers, Round Rock, Ariz., $94,863

5. Luke Brown, Stephenville, Texas, $79,362

6. Riley Minor, Ellensburg, Wash., $78,672

7. Trevor Brazile, Decatur, Texas, $77,994

8. Nick Sartain, Dover, Okla., $77,226

9. Derrick Begay, Seba Dalkai, Ariz., $76,785

10. Dustin Bird, Cut Bank, Mont., $72,708

11. Drew Horner, Plano, Texas, $72,695

12. Turtle Powell, Stephenville, Texas, $71,040

13. Charly Crawford, Prineville, Ore., $66,636

14. Colby Lovell, Madisonville, Texas, $61,698

15. Justin Davis, Madisonville, Texas, $60,936

2012 CHAMPION: Chad Masters

TEAM ROPING-HEELERS

2013 TOP CONTENDERS

1. Jade Corkill, Fallon, $111,350

2. Travis Graves, Jay, Okla., $110,067

3. Jim Ross Cooper, Monument, N.M., $105,195

4. Cory Petska, Marana, Ariz., $94,762

5. Brady Minor, Ellensburg, Wash., $78,672

6. Patrick Smith, Lipan, Texas, $77,994

7. Rich Skelton, Llano, Texas, $77,278

8. Cesar de la Cruz, Tucson, Ariz., $76,047

9. Kollin VonAhn, Blanchard, Okla., $74,494

10. Paul Eaves, Lonedell, Mo., $71,884

11. Buddy Hawkins II, Columbus, Kan., $71,734

12. Dugan Kelly, Paso Robles, Cal., $69,347

13. Ryan Motes, Weatherford, Texas, $69,203

14. Clay O’Brien Cooper, Gardnerville, $65,643

15. Martin Lucero, Stephenville, Texas, $65,301

2012 CHAMPION: Jade Corkill

OVERVIEW: In the closest NFR title race, Nevada native Jade Corkill will try to hold off Travis Graves for his second straight world championship. Corkill won his first title in dramatic fashion by winning the final round of the 2012 NFR with Kaleb Driggers, who is teamed up with Graves this year. Corkill is paired with former world champion header Clay Tryan. The field also features seven-time world champion Clay O’Brien Cooper, making his 27th NFR appearance, and eight-time world champ Rich Skelton, making his 20th NFR appearance.

DESCRIPTION: A header must charge out of the box on horseback, and as in steer wrestling, he can’t break the barrier. He then must chase down a steer and rope it around its protected horns, neck or “half-head,” a partial horn-neck catch.

After making his catch, the header rides to the left, taking the steer in tow. The heeler moves in and ropes both hind legs. Catching only one hind leg is a five-second penalty. If the heeler tosses his loop before the header has changed the direction of the steer and has the animal moving forward, it’s called a “crossfire” and results in disqualification.

The run is completed when the steer is secured and the team ropers’ horses are facing each other on opposite sides of the steer.

SADDLE BRONC RIDING

2013 TOP CONTENDERS

1. Cody Wright, Milford, Utah, $128,703

2. Jesse Wright, Milford, Utah, $108,950

3. Chad Ferley, Oelrichs, S.D., $103,771

4. Tyler Corrington, Hastings, Minn., $97,927

5. Jacobs Crawley, Stephenville, Texas, $96,513

6. Cort Scheer, Elsmere, Neb., $89,731

7. Jake Wright, Milford, Utah, $88,095

8. Isaac Diaz, Desdemona, Texas, $83,951

9. Wade Sundell, Boxholm, Iowa, $81,913

10. Cole Elshere, Faith, S.D., $80,698

11. Taos Muncy, Corona, N.M., $74,379

12. Chet Johnson, Sheridan, Wyo., $60,569

13. Bradley Harter, Weatherford, Texas, $58,928

14. Heith DeMoss, Heflin, La., $56,642

15. Sterling Crawley, Stephenville, Texas, $56,054

2012 CHAMPION: Jesse Wright

OVERVIEW: The Wright brothers continue to soar in the saddle bronc riding standings, with two-time world champion Cody Wright leading the pack, just ahead of younger brother Jesse Wright, the reigning world champ. Jesse’s identical twin brother, Jake, is in seventh place.

DESCRIPTION: Model spurring action begins with the rider’s feet far forward on the bronc’s point of shoulder, sweeping to the back of the saddle as the horse bucks. The rider then snaps his feet back to the horse’s neck a split second before the animal’s front feet hit the ground.

Other factors considered in scoring are the cowboy’s control throughout the ride, the length of his spurring stroke and how hard the horse bucks.

Disqualification results if, during the eight-second ride, he touches the horse, his body or his equipment with his free hand, if either foot slips out of a stirrup, if he drops the bronc rein or if he fails to have his feet in the proper mark-out position at the beginning of the ride.

The horse’s performance accounts for half the total score.

TIE-DOWN ROPING

2013 TOP CONTENDERS

1. Tuf Cooper, Decatur, Texas, $135,164

2. Tyson Durfey, Colbert, Wash., $97,985

3. Cody Ohl, Hico, Texas, $94,943

4. Trevor Brazile, Decatur, Texas, $93,866

5. Scott Kormos, Teague, Texas, $93,520

6. Timber Moore, Aubrey, Texas, $83,196

7. Sterling Smith, Stephenville, Texas, $79,188

8. Justin Maass, Giddings, Texas, $78,047

9. Caleb Smidt, Bellville, Texas, $76,373

10. Shane Hanchey, Sulphur, La., $72,906

11. Shane Slack, Idabel, Okla., $69,664

12. Clif Cooper, Decatur, Texas, $66,195

13. Ryan Jarrett, Comanche, Okla., $62,899

14. Stetson Vest, Childress, Texas, $62,371

15. Randall Carlisle, Baton Rouge, La., $60,572

2012 CHAMPION: Tuf Cooper

OVERVIEW: Two-time defending champion Tuf Cooper has the largest lead in any of the individual events (more than $37,000 over Tyson Durfey) as he tries to become the first tie-down roper to win three straight world titles since his father, rodeo Hall of Famer Roy Cooper, won five in a row from 1980 to 1984. Five-time world champion Cody Ohl is in third place despite competing in about half as many rodeos as the other top contenders.

DESCRIPTION: Success in tie-down roping, once known as calf roping, depends on the teamwork between a cowboy and his horse, and the luck of the draw. A feisty calf that runs fast or kicks hard can foil a roper’s finest effort.

After the calf is given a head start, the cowboy on horseback follows, ropes the calf, then dismounts and runs to the calf. After catching and flanking it, the cowboy ties any three of its legs together using a pigging string he carries in his teeth. If the calf is not standing when the contestant reaches it, he must allow it to stand before flanking it.

When the cowboy completes his tie, he throws his hands in the air as a signal to the judge. He then remounts his horse and allows the rope to become slack. The run is declared valid if the calf is still tied after six seconds. And as in steer wrestling and team roping, the cowboy is penalized if he breaks the barrier early.

BULL RIDING

2013 TOP CONTENDERS

1. J.W. Harris, Mullin, Texas, $130,383

2. Tyler Smith, Fruita, Col., $99,085

3. Cole Echols, Elm Grove, La., $96,275

4. Josh Koschel, Nunn, Col, $94,230

5. Cody Teel, Kountze, Texas, $93,064

6. Cody Campbell, Summerville, Ore., $89,151

7. Cooper Davis, Jasper, Texas, $83,399

8. Parker Breding, Edgar, Mont., $82,238

9. Trevor Kastner, Ardmore, Okla., $81,207

10. Shane Proctor, Grand Coulee, Wash., $75,859

11. Chandler Bownds, Lubbock, Texas, $75,652

12. Tyler Willis, Wheatland, Wyo., $75,285

13. Trey Benton III, Rock Island, Texas, $73,329

14. Elliot Jacoby, Fredricksburg, Texas, $71,740

15. Steve Woolsey, Payson, Utah, $70,067

2012 CHAMPION: Cody Teel

OVERVIEW: J.W. Harris hopes his lead of more than $30,000 holds up after finishing second in the world the last two years. Harris, who won three straight world bull riding titles from 2008 to 2010, fell short by $1,056 last year to fellow Texan Cody Teel after being runner-up to Shane Proctor in 2011.

DESCRIPTION: Upper-body control and strong legs are essential to riding bulls. The rider tries to remain forward at all times. Leaning back could cause him to be whipped forward when the bull bucks.

Judges watch for good body position, use of the free arm and optional spurring action. A bull rider will be disqualified for touching the animal, his body or his equipment with his free hand.

As in all riding events, half the score is determined by the contestant’s performance, and the other half is based on the bull’s effort.

WPRA BARREL RACING

2013 TOP CONTENDERS

1. Sherry Cervi, Marana, Ariz., $147,418

2. Mary Walker, Ennis, Texas, $137,115

3. Michele McLeod, Whitesboro, Texas, $109,591

4. Christy Loflin, Franktown, Col., $105,042

5. Fallon Taylor, Whitesboro, Texas, $100,860

6. Sabrina Ketcham, Yeso, N.M., $100,217

7. Brittany Pozzi, Victoria, Texas, $94,225

8. Kaley Bass, Kissimmee, Fla., $87,515

9. Taylor Jacob, Carmine, Texas, $82,052

10. Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, S.D., $82,037

11. Jane Melby, Barneyville, Okla., $76,265

12. Jean Winters, Texline, Texas, $69,847

13. Shada Brazile, Decatur, Texas, $68,379

14. Sydni Blanchard, Albuquerque, N.M., $68,144

15. Trula Churchill, Valentine, Neb., $66,726

2012 CHAMPION: Mary Walker

OVERVIEW: Sherry Cervi won more than $72,000 — almost half of her total 2013 earnings — during a three-week midsummer span. Mary Walker, a 54-year-old who cruised to the 2012 world title by nearly $70,000 in her first NFR appearance, is within striking distance of her second straight world championship.

DESCRIPTION: The contestant and her horse enter the arena at full speed. As they begin the course, the horse triggers an electronic eye that starts the clock. The racer rides a cloverleaf pattern around three barrels, then sprints out of the arena, tripping the eye to stop the clock. The contestant can touch or even move the barrels but receives a five-second penalty for each overturned barrel.

­— TODD DEWEY/LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

 

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