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NFR final go-round recap: Kaycee Feild wins 6th bareback world title

For 10 grueling days, it was the young lion against the older lion in heated bareback riding competition at the National Finals Rodeo.

When 23-year-old upstart Jess Pope parried, five-time world champion Kaycee Feild, 34, thrust.

When Pope bobbed, Feild weaved.

When Pope floated like a butterfly, Feild stung like a bee.

Entering Saturday’s final go-round of the Super Bowl of Rodeo at the Thomas & Mack Center, the two roughstock heavyweights were divided by less than $36,000 — and only two points in the NFR average — atop the standings.

With each round paying nearly $27,000 to win and the cumulative pacesetter over 10 go-rounds receiving an additional $69,000 and change, it still was anybody’s rodeo.

It would all come down to eight seconds — or fewer — on the final day.

Pope drew Pendleton Whisky’s runner-up bareback horse of the year, Frontier Rodeo’s Gun Fire, and scored 92 points.

Feild drew New Scarlet representing the Pickett Pro Rodeo Company and scored 89.

After the math was performed and double-checked, the old lion was awarded the gold buckle — by $16,921. Or about a field goal if rodeo were football.

“It’s a real humbling experience,” said Feild, the son of Lewis Feild, a three-time all-around world champion who died in 2016. “The legacy of the Feild name that my great father Lewis Feild started — it’s an honor to carry it on.”

It was the second-closest of the world championship battles, as three-time all-around cowboy titlist Stetson Wright edged his brother, Ryder, by $187 after winning the final round in saddle bronc riding.

In another significant 10th-round development, Shane Hanchey slipped from the championship lead to fourth in the final standings after failing to tie down his calf. That paved the way for NFR average champion Caleb Smidt to earn his third world championship buckle. Smidt started the round trailing Hanchey by less than $4,000 atop the standings.

This year’s champions:

Bareback riding

Kaycee Feild

Genola, Utah

Age: 34

Season earnings: $357,419

World championships: 6

2021 NFR earnings: $231,563 (2nd place)

2021 NFR go-round wins: 3

Steer wrestling

Tyler Waguespack

Gonzales, Louisiana

Age: 31

Season earnings: $289,790

World championships: 3

2021 NFR earnings: $213,448 (2nd place)

2021 NFR go-round wins: 2

Team roping (heading)

Kaleb Driggers

Hoboken, Georgia

Age: 32

Season earnings: $263,226

World championships: 1

2021 NFR earnings: $143,896 (3rd place)

2021 NFR go-round wins: 1

Team roping (heeler)

Junior Nogueira

Presidente Prude, Brazil

Age: 31

Season earnings: $277,611

World championships: 1

2021 NFR earnings: $143,896 (3rd place)

2021 NFR go-round wins: 1

Saddle bronc riding

Stetson Wright

Milford, Utah

Age: 22

Season earnings: $343,523

World championships: 1

2021 NFR earnings: $150,427 (8th place)

2021 NFR go-round wins: 2

Tie-down roping

Caleb Smidt

Bellville, Texas

Age: 32

Season earnings: $318,455

World championships: 3

2021 NFR earnings: $191,576 (1st place)

2021 NFR go-round wins: 1

Barrell racing

Jordon Briggs

Tolar, Texas

Age: 33

Season earnings: $297,460

World championships: 1

2021 NFR earnings: $167,627

2021 NFR go-round wins: 3

Bull riding

Sage Kimzey

Salado, Texas

Age: 27

Season earnings: $345,497

World championships: 7

2021 NFR earnings: $146,726 (3rd place)

2021 NFR go-round wins: 0

All-around cowboy

Stetson Wright

Milford, Utah

Age: 22

Season earnings: $519,664

World championships: 3

2021 NFR earnings: $116,899

2021 NFR go-round wins: 3

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