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1. Trevor Kastner on Corey & Lange Rodeo’s Wild Eyes, 88 points, $18,630; 2. J.W. Harris, 86, $14,724; 3. Cody Teel, 85.5, $11,118; 4. (tie) Chandler Bownds and Parker Breding and Tyler Smith, 85, $5,208 each.
LAS VEGAS â Casey Colletti is pretty excited about his back-to-back go-round victories at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
âIâd almost do a happy dance for you, but Iâd probably hurt myself,â said Colletti, 27, of Pueblo, Colo., who suffered a sprained MCL in his right knee during a rough get-off in the third round.
While he limps around Las Vegas, his bum knee doesnât seem to bother Colletti on the back of the best bucking horses in the world. On Tuesday night, he posted an 86.5-point on J Bar J Rodeoâs Smack Daddy to win the sixth round. He cashed in another $18,630 and pushed his NFR earnings to $40,515.
âI had her in San Angelo (Texas), and finished second in the long round,â he said. âShe grew up. When I had her, she was about 200 pounds lighter and a little bit smaller. I was so tickled to have her. It was kind of an underdog, because a lot of guys didnât know what she was. In the back of my head, I was going, âIf she does what she does, itâs going to be good.â
âShe kind of bucked. She wasnât super rank bucking, but she was phenomenal.â
So was Colletti, who has credited the Justin Sportsmedicine Program for getting him ready to ride each night.
âThe ride felt good,â Colletti said. âWhat a bareback ride should feel like, hurt or unhurt, thatâs just what it felt like.â
It seems to be working so far.
âItâs kind of a dream come true to me,â he said. âI just set my goals of other things when I get here, and one of the things was to win back-to-back go-round buckles.
âShe jumped out and had a hard move to the right, which I did not expect that. All I was thinking was, âZing your feet because youâre not going to win not spurring her.â There are 15 of the best guys in the world trying to compete for go-rounds. Iâm just going to try to win first every night.â
1. Taylor Jacob, 13.37 seconds, $18,630; 2. Mary Walker, 13.64 seconds, $14,724; 3. Brittany Pozzi, 13.69, $11,118; 4. Sherry Cervi, 13.75, $7,813; 5. Fallon Taylor, 13.76, $4,808; 6. Lisa Lockhart and Christy Loflin, 13.87, $1,502 each.
Rookie Taylor Jacob posted a 13.37-second run on Tuesday night to win the sixth round and claim a new arena record, bettering the mark of Carlee Pierce, who posted a 13.46 in 2011.
1. Justin Maass, 7.2 seconds, $18,630; 2. Shane Hanchey, 7.3, $14,724; 3. (tie) Tyson Durfey and Clif Cooper, 7.4, $9,465 each 5. Tuf Cooper, 7.5, $4,808; 6. Shane Slack, 7.8, $3,005.
1. Jesse Wright on Stace Smith’s Goin’ South, 83.5, $18,630; 2. (tie) Chad Ferley and Taos Muncy, 82, $12,291 each; 4. (tie) Cole Elshere and Jacobs Crawley, 81, $6,310 each; 6. Tyler Corrington, 80, $3,005.
Trevor Brazile has won a record 19th world championship, clinching the all-around title Tuesday with a first-place finish in team roping with partner Patrick Smith.
1. Trevor Brazile and Patrick Smith, 4.8 seconds, $18,630; 2. Riley Minor/Brady Minor, 5.0, $14,724; 3. Nick Sartain/Rich Skelton, 5.2, $11,118; 4. Luke Brown/Kolin VonAhn, 5.4, $7,813; 5. Colby Lovell/Martin Lucero, 5.8, $4,808; 6. Drew Horner/Buddy Hawkins II, 5.9, $3,005.
1. Dean Gorsuch, 3.2 seconds, $18,630; 2. Tyler Pearson, 3.6, $14,724; 3. Dakota Eldrigde, 3.8, $11,118; 4. (tie) Wade Sumpter and Bray Armes and Hunter Cure, 3.9, $5,208 each.
1. Casey Colletti on J Bar J’s Smack Daddy, 86.5, $18,630; 2. Caleb Bennett, 84, $14,724; 3. Wes Stevenson, 83.5, $11,118; 4. Will Lowe, 83, $7,813; 5. J.R. Vezain, 82.5, $4,808; 6. (tie) Clint Cannon and Ryan Gray, 81.5, $1,502 each.
We’re moments away from the fireworks in anticipation of the sixth round of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, and here are a few notes.
â It looks as though this is the last year the NFR will be telecast on GAC. The PRCA reported today the annual championship’s broadcasting home will move to CBS Sports.
â Steve Woolsey is expecting to ride tonight after suffering a pretty intimidating injury in Round 5. Woolsey was stepped on by Andrews Rodeo’s Strike Back and suffered a concussion and shoulder abrasions. Woolsey has a hoof-imprint type bruise on the back of his head.
LAS VEGAS â Caleb Bennett has placed four times at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, and three came on the backs of Pete Carrâs Classic Pro Rodeo horses.
His most recent triumph came Monday night when he rode Scarletâs Web for 86 points for a fourth-place finish in the fifth go-round. He earned $7,813 with the ride.
âAll three of those horses have been really good,â said Bennett, who won the opening round on Wise Guy, then placed sixth the next night on Fancy Free. âIâve been drawing really good, and I hope to keep it that way.â
In rodeo, cowboys are matched with livestock based on a blind draw. Based on the 100-point scale, half the score goes to the animal for how well it performs, while the other half is attributed to how well the cowboy rides. In bareback riding, that involves spurring from the horseâs neck back to the rigging that is strapped to the animalâs back.
âIâd never been on Scarletâs Web before,â said Bennett, 25, of Morgan, Utah. âI finally drew her, and guys win money on that horse every time they nod their head. I knew, once again, that I had a chance to win some money.
âI almost got a little too worked up on her. I feel like my start wasnât as good as I wanted, but I think I finished her well.â
He did. A qualifying ride lasts eight seconds, and cowboys must make the most of every moment they have in the arena.
âThe start Iâm having to the NFR so far is great,â he said. âJust to place in four rounds so far is amazing. I had some goals coming in, and I feel like those goals are starting to become a reality right now.
âIâve still got five more rounds to go, so Iâm going to try to take it a horse at a time.â
It may be clichĂ©, but itâs the only way to approach this type of competition. At the halfway point of the NFR, Bennett has pocketed $31,851 and has moved up from 15th to ninth in the world standings.
âI think Iâm finally getting through the soreness that comes with this,â Bennett said. âThe stiffness in my neck and back is pretty much gone, and I think the forearm pain and the elbow stuff will fade through. The Justin Sportsmedicine team has been working with me real hard to try to get ahead of that.â
While heâs been matched with great horses much of his early performance at ProRodeoâs grand finale, Bennett also has been performing quite well. Heâs scored a five-ride cumulative total of 413 points and is third in the average race. The average champion will earn a $47,776 bonus at the end of the NFR; should the Utah cowboy stay in third through remaining five rounds, he would add $30,649.
âI think the key is just staying relaxed,â he said. âI think Iâve been having a little bit more fun this year. Iâve just been enjoying what I do because I love what I do. My goal here is to enjoy it and thrive off it.â
LAS VEGAS â The first time Tyler Corrington watched Big Bend Rodeoâs Kool Toddy, he wasnât very old.
He was sitting in front of his familyâs television in Hastings, Minn., watching the great bay mare buck at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. On Monday night during the 2013 championshipâs fifth round, Corrington felt just what the bucking machine was like while on her back.
It mustâve felt pretty good; the two danced across the Thomas & Mack Centerâs dirt for 83 points to finish in a share of fifth place in the fifth round, adding $3,906 to his season earnings.
âSheâs been around forever and has been right up there for bucking horse of the year two or three times,â said Corrington, now in his second trip to the NFR. âSheâs been awesome forever.â
The top bronc busters in the game know that, and they know a few other things about the horse. For instance, she has a tendency to hesitate when the chute gate opens, and the stalling delays the start; if she were to fail to leave the chute, the cowboy would then have to get on another horse. But thatâs not what they want, because sheâs that good when sheâs in the arena.
âShe has that stalling deal, and she sure wants your feet in the saddle; if you stay down in the saddle, sheâs going to do the work for you,â Corrington said, explaining that the horse leaps high into the air, then her front end will drop; on Monday night, the Minnesota cowboy kept pushing his feet forward to match his spur stroke with her bucking motion.
âSheâs just real droppy and kind of quick. If you sit on your foot (because of the spurring motion back to the saddle) or make any kind of mistake, sheâs going to drill you.â
So how do the best cowboys in the game get through all of her early antics?
âYou canât mark her out too early,â he said, referring to the riderâs start, where he must have the heels of his boots over the front of the horseâs shoulders. âYou know the stall is coming, and you just hope she gets out because sheâs so good.â
At the NFRâs halfway point, Corrington has earned $29,748 and has pushed his annual income to $127,674. He is fourth in the world standings.
âIâm happy where I am right now,â he said. âThe last time I was here, I won $40,000 out of the whole deal, and I wasnât sad leaving.
âItâs such a great rodeo that you canât complain about anything.â
LAS VEGAS â Too look at Jule Hazen, one recognizes quickly he is the epitome of a steer wrestler. He stands 6-feet-3 and weighs in at just shy of 250 pounds.
He needed every bit of it Monday night at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, where the burly bulldogger from Ashland, Kan., maneuvered his steer to the ground in 4.2 seconds, sharing second place in the fifth go-round with Luke Branquinho and adding nearly $13,000 to his season earnings.
âItâs such a mental game, and this is what we do,â said Hazen, now riding in Las Vegas for the third time in his career. âOn that steer, if you get in too big of a hurry, heâll get you set down on your rear and keep your head up. Youâve just got to slow down and keep pulling.â
It was the second run for the stronger set of steers, and Hazen knew he was going to be in a battle from the start. What he didnât expect is that the steer left the chute a little slower, so the cowboy had to use all the horsemanship skills his late grandfather, Richard Degnan, had shown him to make the run possible.
You see, Hazen started his great horse, Bam Bam, then had to slow the horse down so he didnât break the barrier and suffer a 10-second penalty for not allowing the steer an appropriate head start.
âWhen you pull on the reins on a horse that runs like that in a little building, and your horse still lets you be 4.2, thatâs telling youâre your horse is pretty special,â Hazen said. âThe first time these steers were out, I gave it all I had, and it still wasnât enough. This time maybe I drew a little better and reached down and found a little more.â
Through five nights of ProRodeoâs championship, Hazen has the best cumulative time of 22.2 seconds to lead the average by more than a second over the runner-up, Nevadan Dakota Eldridge; he also has pocketed $27,344. That helps make his Las Vegas experience a little more fun, but more importantly, it helps with the financial costs that come with the game.
âWith the help of Boot Hill Casino, it helps me with my fuel and other expenses,â he said. âUntil I had a sponsor like that, there were times I was winning $5,000-$6,000 a week, and it wasnât paying my bills. Whatever you win here, thatâs what you make in a year.
âBoot Hill Casino has taken the pressure off. I think itâs helping my bulldogging here. I know Iâm going to be making a little money with them behind me, so I just have to come in here and do my job. I have to win so I can put Pull-Ups on Joslyn.â
Joslyn Hazen is 2 years old, and she has needs that Hazen wants to meet. Itâs proof of where his priorities are.
LAS VEGAS â Hunter Cure isnât the biggest steer wrestler at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
Cowboys like Jule Hazen, Bray Armes and world champions Dean Gorsuch and Luke Branquinho tower over the 6-foot, 195-pound Cure. But nobody handled the biggest pen of cattle inside the Thomas & Mack Center on Monday night than the Holliday, Texas, cowboy, who downed his steer in 4.1 seconds to win the fifth go-round.
âIf you wouldâve asked me which pen I thought Iâd win a go-round in, it wouldnât have been the strong pen,â Cure said.
Now in his second qualification to ProRodeoâs grand finale, Cure earned his first go-round title, pocketing $18,630 in the process. That pushed his NFR earnings to $39,363 â not too bad for five daysâ worth of work.
Most importantly, though, he has moved to fourth in the world standings and trials leader Casey Martin by about $22,000. If everything falls into place the way Cure needs, he could take the lead in two days. But everythingâs got to go perfectly, and thatâs just not the nature of competition â in fact, heâs just one night removed from a frustrating 12.3-second run.
âI felt like the round was never going to end,â said Cure, who was the first bulldogger to run Monday. âIt seemed like world champion after world champion was behind me. Iâm extremely excited just to place in that round, much less win.
âBeing able to get that steerâs head across me was the key. I made a mistake last night of not getting that steerâs head placed. I didnât want to do that two nights in a row.â
He didnât. In fact, he ended his statement with an exclamation point.
âI had to get my hat peeled down tight tonight and try to be a little more aggressive,â he said.
He called run a little bit of redemption. Even through his frustration, he took the opportunity to find adjustments with Sundayâs performance.
âUsually I have a 30-minute rule; it was more like a three-hour deal,â Cure said. I was a little upset with myself over that run. I watched the replay and tried to make adjustments. My thought is after last night and spotting the field in the average, I need to be aggressive for the next half of this rodeo in order to play catch up.â