Steer wrestler Ty Erickson hadn’t won a go-round at the National Finals Rodeo.
He needed a victory Friday night.
Erickson tackled his steer in 3.6 seconds to win the ninth go-round at the Thomas & Mack Center and move ahead of J.D. Struxness in the world standings. Erickson won $26,231 and has $211,645. Struxness did not place and is second with $190,137.
“It’s been a little slow,” said Erickson, who hails from Helena, Montana. “I just tried to go back to the fundamentals and make the best run I could, and it worked out.”
The gold belt buckle in steer wrestling will be up for grabs Saturday, while other championship races are all but over. Sage Kimzey is running away with the bull riding title. Zeke Thurston has a comfortable lead in saddle bronc riding. Same for Clayton Biglow in bareback riding and Hailey Kinsel in barrel racing.
But the steer wrestling race is close, and Erickson is focused on the final go-round.
“I’m not even going to think about it,” Erickson said of his place in the standings. “I’m just going to keep going at it like I have every round, just try to stay focused on getting a good start, making a good run on the ground and see where the chips fall.”
Other go-round winners
— Jake Brown, Cleveland, Texas, bareback riding (89.5);
— Kaleb Triggers, Hoboken, Georgia, and Junior Nogueira, Presidente Prude, Brazil, team roping (3.6 seconds);
— Zeke Thurston, Big Valley, Alberta, saddle bronc riding (91);
— Marty Yates, Stephenville, Texas, tie-down roping (7.0 seconds);
— Stevi Hilliman, Weatherford, Texas, barrel racing (13.53 seconds);
— Boudreaux Campbell, Crockett, Texas, bull riding (91).
1. Stetson Wright, Milford, Utah, $275,076
2. Clay Smith, Broken Bow, Texas, $252,172
3. Tuf Cooper, Decatur, Texas, $222,640
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