Courtesy of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association
December 10, 2017
Bareback rider, Orin Larsen, had his best ride of the 2017 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo with a terrific 86 point effort on Four Star Rodeo’s Big Star. The Manitoba talent finished third in the go-round as only Ty Breuer of Mandan, North Dakota was better with a huge 90.5 score – courtesy of his effort on Brookman Rodeo’s Risky Business. Larsen has been very consistent to date, having placed in three of the four rounds with over $40.000 in the bank. Three-time Canadian Champion, Jake Vold, collected 83.5 points on J Bar J’s Dirty Rags for a 7/8/9 split in the round, just out of the money. He sits second in the average and third in the world standings as we near the halfway point of this edition of the WNFR . Zwingle, Iowa superstar, Tim O’Connell had to get on two but finished up with an 84.5 for fifth in the round and is looking more and more like an awfully good bet to win his second consecutive world title.
Two time Canadian Champion steer wrestler Tanner Milan was out of the money on a very rapid night number four of the WNFR. Milan’s 4.4 second run split 7/8 on the night but the Cochrane, Alberta man remained in 6th place in the average and is 6th in the world standings as well. The second of the Canadian doggers at this year’s Finals, Scott Guenthner, of Provost, AB. struggled to a 7.3 second run on Sunday night and sits 9th in the average and 10th in the world. The big surprise in the go-round was the no time of Tyler Waguespack. The reigning World Champion missed the nose on his steer and fell to 11th place in the average, and with $50.000 dollars to make up on leader Ty Erickson, he’ll have to be lights out in the rounds if he hopes to repeat as champion. The Oklahoman, J. D. Struxness, who won four go-rounds a year ago, was the top gun on the night with a 3.6 second run.
The struggles continued for the Canadian trio in the saddle bronc riding. 2017 Canadian Champion, Layton Green, managed an 80 score but was 8th in the round while reigning World Champion Zeke Thurston was 11th in the round with a 72.5 score. 2016 Canadian Champ, Clay Elliott has had a frustrating Finals to date. He’s been bucked off twice, including tonight and, like Green has yet to hit the pay window. Ryder Wright, of the amazing Utah family of saddle bronc riders won the round with an 89 point score, while 2015 World Champion Jacobs Crawley continues to lead the world with CoBurn Bradshaw in second place and Thurston hanging on to third. Three time Canadian Champion saddle bronc, Get Smart, from the Northcott Macza firm, dispatched 2015 Canadian champ and perennial WNFR qualifier, Cody DeMoss well before the whistle, while the Calgary Stampede’s Stampede Warrior did a similar number on 2012 World titleist, Jesse Wright.
In the bull riding, 2016 Canadian Champion, Jordan Hansen, bucked off Bridwell Pro Rodeo’s Boot Hill at 7.3 seconds to remain one for four at his first WNFR. The round win went to Trey Benton lll, as the Texas hand is only guy to be four for four on a night that saw both front runners, Sage Kimzey and 2017 Canadian Champion Garrett Smith among the twelve buckoff victims of this tough pen of bulls. Wayne Vold’s 2017 Canadian Bull of the Year, Johnny Ringo carried Colorado bull rider, Ty Wallace to an 80.5 for third in the go round while Kesler Championship Rodeo’s Flight Plan put Jordan Wacey Spears on the ground and Outlaw Buckers’ Chrome did the same thing to Tim Bingham.
And in the team roping, Arrowwood, Alberta’s Jeremy Buhler remains in 15th spot overall after a no time on Sunday night. The defending world champion heeler and 2017 Canadian champ is roping alongside Arizona roper, Tom Richards, after regular partner (for both of those championships) Levi Simpson, finished just out of the top fifteen. The duo of Richards and Buhler have been blanked to date through the first four rounds. Tonight’s honours were split between Jake Long and Luke Brown and the combination of Kory Koontz and Dustin Egusquiza with both teams posting 4.1 second runs. Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira continue to lead the world standings but several teams are within spitting distance in what might prove to be one of the hardest fought battles at this year’s Finals.
Alma, Kansas first time WNFR tie down roper, Cooper Martin, won the 4th go-round with a 7.6 second run to get his first $26,230 cheque while the two iconic front-runners, Tuf Cooper (first) and Trevor Brazile (second) both finished out of the money.
Amberleigh Moore, the Salem, Oregon cowgirl, won her second go-round of this finals (13.56 seconds) and is one of three or four cowgirls with a shot at catching Tiany Schuster who came to Las Vegas with what looked like an insurmountable lead. The Texan has yet to place at the Thomas and Mack and what looked like a coronation might still be a race. Schuster does sit sixth in the average with another Texan, Hailey Kinsel, atop the average leaderboard and California’s Nellie Miller is in second spot. Kinsel is the only barrel racer to have placed in all four rounds.