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Family tradition worth several bucks

Kaycee Feild never got to see his father, Lewis Feild, win the first of his three bareback world championships. He missed the second one, too, and certainly doesn’t remember much about the third.

He has a good reason: Kaycee Feild hadn’t been born.

The elder Feild — a five-time world champion — is one up on his son because he was able to watch the 21-year-old post his first National Finals Rodeo go-round victory Tuesday in front of a crowd of 16,652 at the Thomas & Mack Center.

"It’s past putting words to it," said Lewis Feild, who lives in Elk Ridge, Utah. "I’ve come here every year and watched guys win championships. I’m in awe that I ever did it. It’s just fabulous to watch your son do it."

The sixth go-round also was monumental for Trevor Brazile. His win in calf roping clinched a sixth all-around world championship and third straight with four go-rounds remaining. He also passed Joe Beaver to become the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s all-time career earnings leader with $2.93 million.

Every rodeo family cherishes the addition of a gold buckle, and it’s even more special when the gap between collecting gold is a generation.

The Feilds can boast of winning a go-round in each of their first Finals in Las Vegas. Lewis won bareback and all-around world titles in the inaugural event at the Thomas & Mack 24 years ago.

The ties to history fit perfectly with the 50th anniversary theme of this year’s NFR.

In 1985, Lewis Feild, then 29, won the first of three consecutive all-around titles and the first of two consecutive bareback championships.

The younger Feild isn’t looking that far ahead but probably never will forget winning his first Finals round.

"It’s just unreal," Feild said of joining his father on the list of NFR go-round winners. "It just motivates you that much more to have him watching.

"It always has given me chills to watch (the Finals)," he said, adding that competing in it is "awesome."

Kaycee said a lot of rodeo people call him "Little Lew" and that he doesn’t discourage it one bit.

He said he’s been attending the world’s richest rodeo since he was a youngster and that the goal always has been to be on the competition side of the railing.

Feild started the Finals ranked ninth and earned his first check Monday with a fourth-place finish. After winning $16,766 Tuesday, he moved to eighth with $114,652.

Lewis Feild and his wife of 26 years, Veronica, have been watching from the first row behind the bucking chutes for the past six nights. He’s been stoic; she’s watched her son perform through the lens of a video camera.

But that changed after Kaycee Feild scored 90.5 points on Classic Pro Rodeo’s Wise Guy. The moment that he dismounted and raised both fists toward the roof, his father showed plenty of emotion.

"I knew he had the horse to win a check, but I didn’t know he could win it all," Lewis Feild said.

He gave his son the same advice he has imparted to him before every round of these Finals: "Just go out and have fun."

Kaycee was named to honor 1986 NFR qualifier Deke Latham, who hailed from Kaycee, Wyo. About a week after the Finals, Latham, 21, was killed in an auto accident near Kaycee. Latham placed fifth in the saddle bronc world standings that year.

"I didn’t know him that well, but we had a good friendship for the short time he was here," Feild said of his one-time rodeo traveling partner.

"I really didn’t know him that well but liked what I saw."

Contact reporter Jeff Wolf at jwolf@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0247.

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