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Five years ago, Stran Smith wasn’t too worried about calf roping. He was more concerned about simply staying alive.

Doctors detected a heart defect after Smith suffered a mild stroke midway through 2003.

But he was back competing in rodeos two months after a surgical procedure to repair his heart.

Smith missed the National Finals Rodeo that year, but the 38-year-old’s 10th trip to the Thomas & Mack Center for the event’s 50th anniversary this year produced his first calf roping world title.

“What I want to say to people is never give up,” he said. “My mom has a saying ‘Keep going as you’re going, and you’re going to get to where you’re going.’ It’s kind of a cheesy little old saying … I’ve said it to myself thousands of times.”

Smith, needing to protect his No. 1 position in the NFR standings Saturday night, placed second in the last of 10 go-rounds to earn $13,251 along with a $42,999 NFR bonus to push his season total to $181,400.

He edged Hunter Herrin of Apache, Okla., by about $2,200.

“I just needed to go as fast as I could,” Smith said of his title-clinching run. “I had the (aggregate title) out there, but, at the same time, I would gamble that $43,000 for a gold buckle.”

Saturday night’s attendance of 17,879 brought the unofficial 10-day total to 172,747 — the event’s lowest since 2001.


Trevor Brazile, the only NFR contestant competing in two events, clinched the world all-around title Tuesday. He finished the year with total earnings of $419,868.

He became the first Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association competitor to win more than $3 million in his career with $3,027,539.


Justin McDaniel of Porum, Okla., used a dominating NFR to pass regular-season money leader Steve Dent for the world championship.

McDaniel, 22, started the Finals ranked third in the world but finished first in the Finals standings and won a 10-day total of $126,292 for a season total of $216,967. He topped Dent by $6,100.

McDaniel set an NFR record by scoring 859 points on 10 head.

“It takes a dancing partner, and I drew a great one every round,” he said.

Go-round winner: Tilden Hooper of Carthage, Texas; 90 points on Classic Pro Rodeo’s Scarlet’s Web

NFR titlist: McDaniel

World champion: McDaniel


Luke Banquinho of Los Alamos, Calif., won the NFR title and his second world championship to finish the season with $242,018.

Placing second in the final go-round helped him win the championship by $71,000.

“I didn’t sleep very good last night, wondering what would happen,” Branquinho said. “I knew I had a good steer, and I knew I had a chance to win good money on him which would have taken care of everything.”

Go-round winner: Todd Suhn of North Platte, Neb.; 3.4 seconds

NFR titlist: Branquinho

World champion: Branquinho


Logandale’s Randon Adams teamed with Arizona’s Matt Sherwood to become the first Nevadan to win a team roping world championship and the first from Southern Nevada to win any rodeo world title since 1946.

Go-round winners: Header Colter Todd of Marana, Ariz., and Cesar de la Cruz, Tucson; 4.0 seconds

NFR titlists: Matt Sherwood (header), Randon Adams (heeler)

World champions: Sherwood and Adams


Cody Wright of Milford, Utah, had the world championship clinched before being bucked off in the last round. He still placed third in the NFR standings.

Go-round winner: Rod Hay of Wildwood, Alberta; 89 points on Powder River’s Miss Congeniality

NFR titlist: Cody Taton, Newell, S.D.

World champion: Wright


Go-round winner: Jeff Chapman of Athens, Texas; 7.1 seconds

NFR titlist: Smith

World champion: Smith


“I’m very honored and very proud to be Canadian today, and it means a lot to get the first barrel racing world championship that we get to take home to Canada,” said Lindsay Sears, who clinched her first world title Friday.

Go-round winner: Terra Bynum of Colorado City, Texas; 13.7 seconds

NFR titlist: Moody

World champion: Lindsay Sears


J.W. Harris covered six of his 10 bulls to win the NFR title and $96,364, pushing him past regular-season money leader Chance Smart of Philadelphia, Miss.

Harris finished with $208,437 to beat Smart by $16,000.

Go-round winner: Shawn Proctor of Tooele, Utah; 82.5 points on Burch Rodeo’s Magic Man.

NFR titlist: Harris

World champion: Harris


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