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Attendance stampede makes 2022 NFR one to remember

Updated December 11, 2022 - 6:11 pm

Move ’em on, head ’em up.

Cut ’em out, ride ’em in.

Keep them dogies movin’.

That was part of the theme song of the old TV western “Rawhide.” It is a refrain that no doubt is reverberating throughout Las Vegas City Hall today, after attendance figures for the just completed National Finals Rodeo were announced.

The 10 performances attracted 173,350 paying spectators, up from 169,539 in 2021. The crowd for Saturday’s final round was 17,788 — the highest single-day attendance since 2014 when the Thomas & Mack Center was renovated, reducing seating capacity.

The NFR also ran its streak of consecutive sellouts to 350.

The numbers were just as impressive at The Cowboy Channel Cowboy Christmas at the Las Vegas Convention Center, where 279,465 — an increase from 241,522 in 2021 — attended. The throng of 40,894 shoppers who filed through the turnstiles Dec. 3 was a single-day Cowboy Christmas record.

Cha-ching, cha-ching. Keep them dogies movin’.

The scores and dollars earned during the rodeo itself were likewise impressive.

Here are some of the other numbers that made the 2022 NFR one to remember:

2

Number of Hay brothers from Canada who competed in the saddle bronc riding competition. The former hockey-playing sons of 20-time NFR qualifier Rod Hay combined for four (Logan Hay three, Dawson Hay one) of the 10 go-round wins. “He got a lot of goals. I got a lot of penalty minutes,” Dawson Hay said in reference to the siblings’ hockey skills.

3

Number of consecutive NFR average (best aggregate score over 10 rounds) titles earned by Jess Pope, who parlayed this year’s bonus into his first world bareback championship gold buckle.

4

Number of special guests who received a shout-out from the NFR announcers while seated in the crowd. Actors Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren, the stars of the Paramount Network’s forthcoming series “1923,” attended Round 3. Former Vice President Mike Pence and Nevada Gov.-elect Joe Lombardo were on hand for rounds 9 and 10, respectively.

4 in 5

World championships won by barrel racer Hailey Kinsel since 2018. Kinsel and her horse, Sister, won five of the 10 NFR rounds.

6

Number of qualifiers among the 121 who failed to place during the 10 rounds. Bareback rider Orin Larsen, saddle bronc rider Kole Ashbacher and bull riders Jared Parsonage, Lukasey Morris, Reid Oftedahl and Maverick Potter were either shut out or injured, preventing a trip to the pay window.

15

Number of 90-point rides — the number by which all rough stock performances are measured — at the 2022 NFR. Kaycee Feild (bareback riding), Dawson Hay (saddle bronc riding) and Stetson Wright (bull riding) received the top scores with 92s.

$2,693

The difference separating world steer wrestling champ Tyler Waguespack and Will Lummus at the end of the NFR, the closest of the eight gold buckle battles.

$256,078

Money won by 2022 saddle bronc champion Zeke Thurston en route to receiving the RAM Top Gun Award for most NFR single-event earnings.

$927,940

Money won by Stetson Wright is setting the single-season PRCA earnings record. The four-time world champion all-around cowboy from Milford, Utah, also established single-season standards for money won in the all-around ($758,829) and bull riding ($592,144) and set an NFR bull riding earnings record with $271,545.

$9,729,001

Toal purse paid to competitors, a new NFR record.

Contact Ron Kantowski at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

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