Returning for her second consecutive Wrangler National Finals Rodeo is Ivy Conrado of Hudson, Colorado, after cashing in $78,180.90 at 88 rodeos in the 2017 season. She will be bringing CF Tibbie Stinson aka Tibby (by Eddie Stinson, out of a Del Puerto Bill mare), KN Fabs Gift of Fame aka JLo (by Frenchmans Fabulous, out of a Dash Ta Fame mare) and Fames To Blame aka Famey (by Lions Share of Fame, out of a Frenchmans Guy mare)
What was your favourite rodeo this year and why? Rodeo Houston! I didn’t get to go to Calgary this year but I do love Calgary! Both rodeos take great care of the contestants— other rodeos should take notes!!
What has been the best advice you’ve been given regarding barrel racing or rodeo? To have a short memory!
If you were just starting out now, who would you train under, what clinics would you be taking? Who do your morals line up with? That’s a great question! I’m not really sure. Lisa Lockhart’s horsemanship & patience is unbelievable. She teams up with her horses instead of stepping on and demanding. I’d love to ride with Jordon Briggs! I am of course bias to my dads horsemanship & Jimmie Munroe’s.
With all the miles made, what kept the WNFR dream alive for you? Well rodeo is my job & the only way you can really make money is at the NFR. It’s your “bonus” for the year, so to keep my dream alive of being able to do this I have to make the “bonus round” which is the NFR!
We all know that being competitive takes mental strength. What do you do to keep a sharp mental edge in the game of rodeo? Do you do anything before a run to keep your nerves in check? I was struggling this year and I was at a jackpot in Cresson, Tx. Molli Montgomery was in the holding pen & we were just vaguely talking about my struggles. She told me to get the book The Inner Game of Tennis. So I did! Now, whenever I am struggling, I will go back & listen to my favorite chapters to get back to the correct winning state of mind.
Under your program, what do you do when a horse feels off to you? Who/what therapies do you include in your program? I usually have a spaz attack and call Marty Tanner, Kelly Tisher & Reese Hand. I’ll do whatever they tell me depending on what’s going on. I have Ice Boots, a Responds System Blanket & will use a P3 whenever I can get my hands on one.
When shopping, what areas of conformation turn you off? What points of conformation do your prospects absolutely must have? For rodeo horses I absolutely won’t touch anything with long pasterns. They won’t last with the rodeo ground conditions. I have to have a low hock that is underneath of them so that they never “fish tail” because that is also a recipe for disaster on not so perfect ground. Horses that are naturally up underneath of themselves & I have found that horses high in their withers, maybe even a little higher in their withers than their hind end, stay underneath themselves. Good bone density is a must have as well!
What would you like to see be done in the industry to better rodeo as a sport? As far as I’m concerned my aspirations are in the WPRA. I would love to see the structure of the WPRA board be slightly changed just so we can get more done as an association. Also seeking out better policies for the current drugs rules & presenting them as the WPRA’s own set of rules to the limited rodeos committees so that there is a difference in fines & strikes between the use of banamine/bute versus actual harmful drugs to our equine athletes. I would love to see PROCOM be updated & maybe even become online! I really just want to see the WPRA & the PRCA move forward instead of running in place!
Kellie Collier just came from the Canadian Finals Rodeo, finishing tenth in the standings after $25,921.03 won in the 2017 season on her horse Muffin.
Collier is headed to Vegas in 13th position with $83,337.95 won after 99 rodeos, and will be running LoLo (Streakin Easy April, by Streak of Fling out of a Doc O Dynamite mare, Easy April Lena)
I had chatted with Kellie a bit heading into the CFR. To read about her CPRA season, and her horses, click here.
What are you most looking forward to in Las Vegas? I am of course looking forward to running down the alley in the Thomas and Mack. It’s been a life long dream and goal, and I can’t wait to experience that adrenaline rush.
What was your most memorable moment on the road in 2017? There were a lot of ups and downs on the road this year. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart. But my most memorable moment would probably have to either be winning Denver or winning Stephenville (which punched my ticket to the NFR).
What has been the best advice you’ve been given regarding barrel racing or rodeo? The best advice I have ever been given is, that you have to learn how to lose before you can win. Another very important piece of advice I have been given is, if you do good or bad your still headed to the next one.
If you were just starting out now, who would you train under, what clinics would you be taking? Who do your morals line up with? I honestly believe I have grown up with one of the best coaches and mentors some one could ask for and that’s my mom Kathleen. She taught me a lot.On the other hand there is some very respectable people out here on the road that have helped me along the way. Too many to name, but amazing amazing people.Also, if I could give any advice to someone looking for mentors, just ask questions and don’t be afraid to talk to the ones that have been there and done that!!
When shopping, what areas of conformation turn you off? What points of conformation do your prospects absolutely must have? My three horses are all different in conformation. So to me, conformation is different in every style of barrel racing. I wish I could look into a horses heart and tell if they wanted it and love it as much as I do.
What would you like to see be done in the industry to better rodeo as a sport? I believe that everyone is doing a very good job of keeping horses and athletes safe to the best of their ability. And to see the try in the committees this year is outstanding.
Kellie would like to thank her sponsors, Top of Texas, ASCO, Tireworks, CSI saddle pads, Biome, Professional choice, Panhandle/RockandRoll Denim, JW Brooks Custom Hat Company, MVP Supplements, and Mobile Veterinarian Practice.
Sydni Blanchard of Albuquerque, New Mexico is headed back to the WNFR this year after winning $91,361.75 at 74 rodeos in the 2017 season. She will be bringing Famous Heartbreaker (by Dash Ta Fame out of a Shawne Bug mare) a 7yr old mare and Mr Famous Jess (by Jess Louisiana Blue out of a Dash Ta Fame Mare) an yr old gelding.
What are your main mounts quirks? Jesse is very sweet and personable, Heart is pushy and bites.
What was your favourite rodeo this year and why? Baker Montana was a huge win for us. We were on the bubble with a month left of rodeo . Winning It was a huge relief.
What has been the best advice you’ve been given regarding barrel racing or rodeo? The best advise I have been given was from my mom my rookie year at Reno . I was nervous running in the shot go with world champions and she said, ” Just do your Job and leave the winning up to God.” I live by that.
If you were just starting out now, who would you train under, what clinics would you be taking? If I were just starting out now I would find a barrel racer that Is consistent and a good winner . Someone I would want to ride similar to and study them. Pick their brain and ride with them. If you truly want to be great at something you will figure out how to be great at it. I still attend clinics , ask questions and ride with horseman I admire. If you are not learning you are not living.
With all the miles made, what kept the WNFR dream alive for you? I’m not sure what keeps the dream alive. Sometimes you get to a point that you have put so much into it that you have no choice but to push forward. Mainly knowing everything my friends and family have done to help me achieve these goals keeps me on the road when I want to go home.
We all know that being competitive takes mental strength. What do you do to keep a sharp mental edge in the game of rodeo? Do you do anything before a run to keep your nerves in check? I have been blessed with a mother that is a therapist that also studied sports psychology. She taught me different exercises to help with nerves as well as goal setting which helps with over all success. My father also played sports and taught me to stay at a happy medium in competition and my grandfather is one of the most mentally tough individuals I know he has always been eager to share all of his knowledge with me. I am now passionate about helping others with goals and nerves. I make it available to contact me for coaching on my website. Sydniblanchard.com
Under your program, what do you do when a horse feels off to you? Who/what therapies do you include in your program? I believe the trick is assessing a problem before it becomes a bigger problem. Knowing your horse is important. When they feel good or if they seem lethargic. Listen to their breathing , being aware of what is normal for your horse. I use stress line equine products , revita vet , centurion products , the theraplate . And other therapies to keep my horses in line. Vet work as needed.
When shopping, what areas of conformation turn you off? What points of confirmation do your prospects absolutely must have? Confirmation is important to me . There are particular confirmations that fit my riding style. I’m not as confident on a short strided short necked horse. If we raise one however I do go on with them and sell them later. Just because a horse is not my style does not mean they won’t be perfect for someone else. Strait legs low hocks and a short back are all important for soundness, athleticism and speed.
What would you like to see be done in the industry to better rodeo as a sport? to better the sport of rodeo I would like to see more money at more rodeos. The more large rodeos we have the more large rodeos will materialize. I believe that would help the majority of contestants make money rodeoing. I know that at a world champion perspective one would rather not have the large money rodeos count for the NFR but i do believe things need to change in order for the sport to progress.
A huge thank you to God my family, friends and sponsors. Elite Compression Services, Blackmon Quarter Horses, Stress Line Equine Products, The Rowdy Rose and Revita Vet.
The 2017 Rookie of the Year is coming into the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 8th position, after $97,023.14 at 71 rodeos.
Taci Bettis of Round Top, Texas is a two time AQHA World Champion in the Amateur barrel racing, and has certainly proved herself to be a champion this year in the WPRA, keeping up with the best in the Womens Professional Rodeo Association. Taci has been featured on Racers Edge on RFD-TV, and the preview gives me goosebumps.
Bettis will be packing Bogie is a Smash “Smash” by Bogie Biankus out of a Remember Smash mare, Bogies French Bug “Bugs” by Frenchmans Bogie, and LK Sheza Hayday “Ziva” by PC Frenchmans Hayday, out of a Pie in the Sky mare, with her to Las Vegas this December.
What are your main mounts quirks? Smash is a bit needy, he has to have a buddy he is familiar with when we are on the road.
What was your favourite rodeo this year and why? I would say Reno because It really got my season going. That was our first big breakthrough and kicked everything off.
What has been the best advice you’ve been given regarding barrel racing or rodeo? There is no substitute for hard work in barrel racing/rodeo. If you put the work in and stay committed, it will pay off.
If you were just starting out now, who would you train under, what clinics would you be taking? Who do your morals line up with? I have a great coach, mentor, hauling partner, and friend in Tammy Fischer. She knows how to push people to get the best out of them and she is a big player in why I am where I am today. From starting colts to seasoning barrel Horses, she has done It all and has had a lot of success.
With all the miles made, what kept the WNFR dream alive for you? The WNFR has always been a dream but I was really out there this summer to take it all in. I tried to treat it one week at a time and fortunately I had some great weeks this season. it gets hard being away from home for so long but as the season came closer to an end, the dream looked more like a reality and here we are, packing to go run at the Thomas & Mack.
We all know that being competitive takes mental strength. What do you do to keep a sharp mental edge in the game of rodeo? Do you do anything before a run to keep your nerves in check? Drink… A lot… just kidding. But seriously, the sport of rodeo is very humbling and you MUST be strong mentally. There is no guaranteed money like in other professional sports, there are no days off, we have to compete and win to get paid, bottom line. When you have those kind of stakes at play, the pressure can feel overbearing at times. But we breathe, talk to our family, friends and mentors, and we realize that we are living the dream, and I wouldn’t trade that for the world.
Under your program, what do you do when a horse feels off to you? Who/what therapies do you include in your program? I think it’s important to know how your horse feels so you can catch the little things before they become much more serious. If it’s something I feel needs attention I’m usually on the phone with my vet for a consultation.
When shopping, what areas of conformation turn you off? What points of conformation do your prospects absolutely must have? I seem to always pick ranchy looking horses. Honestly, I don’t look hard at much, I ride them and if I like the way they move and feel then I give them a shot.
What would you like to see be done in the industry to better rodeo as a sport? I think there is a lot we can do as an association. I think the PRCA/WPRA have done a great job in growing the sport to what it is today, but I genuinely feel that there is a lot more ground to gain moving forward. We have some of the best, most humble, good hearted, genuinely pure athletes in the world in our sport and I’m excited to be a part of helping to gain exposure to the world for my fellow athletes.
This is the UNOFFICIAL list of the top 15 barrel racers in the WPRA who should be heading to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo this December in Las Vegas, thanks to Miles McNarland, who keeps tabs on this all year long! As official results come in from the WPRA, I will update this post!
The number one cowgirl, Tiany Schuster and her horse Showmance, are ahead of Stevi Hillman who is occupying second position by $65,319, unofficially. The next closest by money won in the rough stock and timed events is bull riding sensation Sage Kimzey, who has won $234,136.27 in his 2017 season, then Tuf Cooper with $211,927.32.
Canada will be sending 9 of their best south of the border for finals, including Jordan Hansen, Tanner Milan, Scott Guenther, Jake Vold, Orin Ellis, Clay Elliot, Zeke Thurston, Layton Green, and Jeremy Buhler who will not be competing with his roping partner Levi Simpson as Simpson fell into the crying hole. Buhler will be roping with Tom Richards. Thanks to Ted Stovin with Everything Cowboy for the update. To learn more, check out his story here.
1 Tiany Schuster Krum, TX $250,016.98 90
2 Stevi Hillman Weatherford, TX $177,791.92 92
3 Nellie Miller Cottonwood, CA $130,536.75 46
4 Amberleigh Moore Salem, OR $120,852.11 50
5 Kassie Mowry Dublin, TX $115,162.81 24
6 Kathy Grimes Medical Lake, WA $111,785.38 45
7 Hailey Kinsel Cotulla, TX $97,778.87 66
8 Lisa Lockhart Oelrichs, SD $93,438.32 57
9 Taci Bettis (R) Round Top, TX $93,222.32 66
10 Sydni Blanchard Albuquerque, NM $91,376.73 74
11 Tillar Murray Fort Worth, TX $86,019.79 88
12 Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi Victoria, TX $83,741.30 90
13 Kellie Collier Hereford, TX $83,342.23 96
14 Ivy Conrado Hudson, CO $77,490.74 83
15 Kimmie Wall Roosevelt, UT $73,819.70 58
16 Sherry Cervi Marana, AZ $73,015.80 76
17 Emily Miller Weatherford, OK $71,704.09 79
18 Jana Bean Ft Hancock, TX $70,654.26 92
19 Jackie Ganter Abilene, TX $68,758.99 96
20 Ari-Anna Flynn Charleston, AR $62,607.25 86
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah- I know I just did a world standings post after the Calgary Stampede, but another huge paying rodeo was on this weekend and shifted the standings yet again. Of course this will continue to happen right ’til the last rodeo of the season, but this is important.
Hailey Kinsel, the same college student who won RFD-TV’s The American this past February for 1/3 of a MILLION dollars on her 5 year old mare named Sister who is by Dinero aka PC Frenchmans Hayday, oh, and also won a College National Finals Rodeo title, won The Days of ’47 rodeo this past weekend, which paid $50,000 to first, plus the qualifying rounds, which send Kinsel from sitting in the 20’s, maybe it was even the 30’s, up to 7th spot with $92,812.19 after 47 rodeos attended. HOW EXCITING!!
The silver medalist, Kellie Tovar moved to 22nd and bronze medalist Lisa Lockhart moved to 9th position in the world rodeo standings.
Canadians Kirsty White and Carman Pozzobon are 32nd and 33rd respectively!
OH, and Tiany Schuster has almost a $100,000 ($97,961.10) lead over second place cowgirl, Stevi Hillman. No big deal..
Excited to watch how the standings play out the remainder of this season! Will we see Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi make a return to the bright lights of Vegas and finally get to watch the record setting Mona run at the T&M? Will Sydni Blanchard make it back? Will Amberleigh and Paige run again and break the arena record this year? I cannot wait to find out!
Standings courtesy of the WPRA–>
1 Tiany Schuster Krum, TX $229,279.82 63
2 Stevi Hillman Weatherford, TX $131,318.53 62
3 Kassie Mowry Dublin, TX $115,201.07 20
4 Nellie Miller Cottonwood, CA $112,500.60 34
5 Amberleigh Moore Salem, OR $106,751.81 37
6 Kathy Grimes Medical Lake, WA $99,804.79 28
7 Hailey Kinsel Cotulla, TX $92,812.19 47
8 Tillar Murray Fort Worth, TX $73,451.97 55
9 Lisa Lockhart Oelrichs, SD $67,642.11 34
10 Emily Miller Weatherford, OK $66,189.48 45
11 Taci Bettis (R) Round Top, TX $63,453.31 48
12 Kellie Collier Hereford, TX $61,404.53 56
13 Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi Victoria, TX$54,318.68 53
14 Kimmie Wall Roosevelt, UT $51,730.41 34
15 Ari-Anna Flynn Charleston, AR $51,629.15 52
16 Sydni Blanchard Albuquerque, NM $51,334.25 44
17 Tammy Fischer Ledbetter, TX $49,212.45 56
18 Ivy Conrado Hudson, CO $48,826.05 48
19 Taylor Langdon Aubrey, TX $45,574.64 45
20 Carley Richardson Pampa, TX$45,074.60 38
21 Sherry Cervi Marana, AZ $43,848.12 37
22 Kelly Tovar Rockdale, TX $42,469.18 45
23 Cayla Small Bokchito, OK $40,261.91 41
24 Sabra O’Quinn (G) Ocala, FL $39,791.37 42
25 Jackie Ganter Abilene, TX $39,447.93 61
26 Sidney Forrest Lipan, TX $36,145.34 52
27 Jana Bean Ft Hancock, TX $36,102.27 50
28 Carmel Wright Roy, MT $35,699.73 48
29 Ericka Nelson Century, FL $35,366.56 60
30 Christine Laughlin Pueblo, CO$33,303.02 41
31 Jordan Moore Mauston, WI $33,000.69 47
32 Kirsty White Maricopa, AZ $32,432.23 22
33 Carman Pozzobon Aldergrove, BC $32,229.10 21
34 Shelby Janssen Coleman, OK $32,033.10 63
35 Tracy Nowlin Nowata, OK $31,892.57 34
36 Sammi Bessert Grand Junction , CO$29,785.80 27
37 Kim Schulze Larkspur, CO $28,842.32 31
38 Nicole Laurence Cresson, TX $28,456.15 48
39 Jane Melby Bokchito, OK $28,263.78 47
40 Laura Kennedy Quitman, AR $28,129.91 59
41 Michele McLeod Whitesboro, TX $28,100.88 62
42 Jaime Hinton Bulverde, TX $27,082.05 38
43 Mary Walker (G) Ennis, TX $26,282.39 39
44 Lori Todd Willcox, AZ $26,104.94 24
45 Jana Griemsman Piedmont, SD $25,818.53 25
46 Fallon Taylor Collinsville, TX $25,687.64 16
47 Nikki Hansen Dickinson, ND $24,157.40 25
48 Jessica Telford Caldwell, ID $23,682.42 37
49 Trula Churchill Valentine, NE $23,537.05 37
50 Brooke Rix Skidmore, TX $23,230.16 34
The Wrangler National Finals Rodeo is over for another year. This means we can all start to catch up on some sleep, our non-rodeo friends can talk to us about civilian matters again, and those of you who unfollowed me on Facebook for fear of seeing live results before you witnessed the run, can “follow” or “friend” me again.
First things first. HOLY INTENSE BARREL RACE!!! Huge congrats to Mary Burger and Mo on their world title. Though her and Mo may not have the prettiest pattern each night, he still managed to make up time with his huge stride, probably saying to Mary, “hang on tight lady, here we go!”
Queen B beat Ambereigh Moore by $10,793.24. Moore came into the finals in 15th position and finished 2nd! Amber & her mare Paige were amazing to watch and quickly became all anyone could talk about. They even tied Taylor Jacobs arena record of 13.37 and could’ve beat it but tipped a barrel to be a 13.31. Now, you may say “Cass, she tipped that barrel, if she went around it she wouldn’t have been that fast.” But when you watch that run, the horse had to take an extra stride around the tipped barrel and she didn’t hustle the mare home. So I still believe she would’ve had the new record. I got in on a WNFR Barrel Draft and after I had made my picks, watched Amberleighs runs on Facebook from earlier in the year, and KNEW I should’ve put her on my team. Paige works phenomenal indoors. They are a great team and hope to see a lot of them in the 2017 season.
Lisa Lockhart and Mr. Consistency himself/Louie, won the Average title staying clean for all ten rounds, and have the new average record of 137.98! They always make just the prettiest runs. Sherry Cervi broke her own WNFR earnings record which was $155,899 from 2013; Sherry earned $164,634.63 this year and Amberleigh Moore earned a whopping $187,692.29. Poor Mary Walker & Latte were unable to pull a single cheque and only had a few clean runs. I was completely shocked that Tibbie ducked third barrel on the first night and second barrel on the last night. Hats off to Ivy for riding the hair off of that power house each night. They are still one of my favourites to watch! I was also happy to see a Facebook Live feed with Sarah Rose McDonald where she was asked how she feels about all the talk regarding her riding, where she happily replied “I don’t care.” Round 7 was my absolute fave to watch of her and Bling where they ended up 2nd with a 13.66. Also, how about Cervi and Arson bringing the heat! She rides him so so well (duh, Cassie it’s Sherry, she could ride a camel at finals and do well) but they also won (tied for 1st) the last round the same as she did last year on him. Way to be Sherry!
My recommendation for all barrel racers for next year that will be watching, go follow Blaine McDougal on Facebook. He’s a barrel racer out of Kansas and did hilarious 20 minute live feed recaps of each round. He also has perfect brows. You’re welcome.
Lastly regarding the barrels, kudos to those who were able to bring new ground into the Thomas & Mack, which allowed the top 15 to give us the most exciting finals to watch!
Okay, okay, now onto other WNFR excitement. Snow Mexican’s (Canadians’s) brought home THREE World Championship titles. Holy sweet maple syrup, we’re really doin’ it Harry!
Levi Simpson won the world with $249,133.31 and the average along side his pard Jeremy Buhler who took home a grand total of $258,311.13. They were the first all Canadian team to make it to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, and the first to clinch the world title. Though it was not Buhler who started #FearTheBeard, ropers across the world now do, fear the beard.
Zeke Thurston beat out Jacobs Crawley for the world title by $2,831.39 after winning the average and a 3/4 place split in the final round where Crawley received a no score for missing his horse out of the chute. Jake Watson made it into the finals just by a few hundred bucks, and silently flew under the radar during the first bit of the finals, slowly climbing up by dominating the average. Watson ended up 2nd to Thurston in the average, and finished 5th in the world!
Jake Vold finished second in the world with $240,161.06. Vold had 3 go-round wins which launched him towards the top. Orin Larsen finished third in the world with $219,372.59 and had a go-round win despite all the pain he was in with his ribs during the finals. Kolton Schmidt came into the finals first in the world, but the pressures of the finals may have got to him with several misses, though he and Shay Carroll did win Round 9, they finished 10th in the world. We all know that Kolton is one hell-of-a roper and all of Canada looks forward to watching his 2017 season!
Also I would like to give a shout out to Dennis Halstead for being Alternate Barrel Man during the WNFR, and to Gary Remple as one of the pickup men! As well a shout out to Calgary Stampede as their 6 year old mare Xplosive Skies was named top Bareback Horse of the 2016!
Other Canadian’s who were making it big in Vegas this December were Daryl Thiessen, Travis James & Monty Philips who competed at the Bull Fighters Only Championships, Thiessen making it to the short round, Monty was out early with a bad knee, and Travis did not advance.
Veronica Swales won the 2D taking home $10,000 at the All In Barrel Race in Las Vegas that ran during the WNFR. Sandy McGinnis & Jordyn Schuett also competed at the All In. McGinnis figured she may as well go big or go home while down in Sin City, she entered the American Qualifier finishing 20th against NFR horses and some of the best out there right now. Rylee Shields & Lindsay Sears also entered and finished in the Top 10 and will be competing at the Semi-Finals in Fort Worth, Texas.
Canadian Matthew Mousseau won the Pro Fantasy Rodeo draft that thousands of people enter.
Dang, the Canadians sure cleaned up down south the past ten days, eh?
Full World Standings are below.
1 Tim O’Connell $374,271.53, 2 Jake Vold $240,161.06, 3 Orin Larsen $219,372.59, 4 Caleb Bennett $217,167.12, 5 Tanner Aus $213,152.41, 6 R.C. Landingham $211,986.10 7 Clayton Jon $171,064.17, 8 J.R. Vezain, $159,508.019,Winn Ratliff $153,679.51, 10 Wyatt Denny $148,861.91, 11 Richie Champion $129,092.09, 12 Jake Brown $120,282.43, 13 Evan Jayne $119,081.12, 14 Ty Breuer $114,329.92, 15 Jessy Davis $79,916.05
1 Tyler Waguespack $298,675.58, 2 Matt Reeves $226,542.67, 3 Clayton Hass $213,111.08, 4 J.D. Struxness $213,107.74, 5 Jason Thomas $205,136.76, 6 Dakota Eldridge $176,672.53, 7 Ty Erickson $145,672.82, 8 Riley Duvall $129,103.74, 9 Josh PeekP $119,156.51, 10 Nick Guy $118,308.09, 11 Billy Bugenig $109,330.21,12 Trevor Knowles $101,336.11 13 Cody Cabral $101,331.34, 14 Jacob Talley $96,686.36, 15 Baylor Roche $93,635.63
Team Roping (Headers)
1 Levi Simpson $249,133.31, 2 Kaleb Driggers $230,283.97, 3 Luke Brown $228,435.76, 4 Riley Minor $220,166.07, 5 Clay SmithB $218,611.20, 6 Dustin Bird $200,102.27, 7 Erich Rogers $189,184.93, 8 Matt Sherwood $145,906.76, 9 Zac Small $143,787.19,10 Kolton Schmidt $132,378.12, 11 Colby Lovell $122,245.15, 12 Tyler Wade $114,529.41, 13 Garrett Rogers $109,731.45, 14Cody Snow $100,717.73, 15 Coleman Proctor $92,049.18
Team Roping (Heelers)
1 Jeremy Buhler $258,311.13, 2Junior Nogueira $230,283.97, 3 Jake Long $225,091.16, 4 Paul Eaves $219,900.02, 5 Brady Minor $218,658.07,6 Russell Cardoza $193,441.35,7 Cory Petska $190,411.17, 8 Quinn Kesler $145,876.06, 9 Wesley Thorp $138,221.06, 10 Dakota Kirchenschlager, $120,755.43, 11 Shay Carroll $110,968.20, 12Jake Michael $109,152.43, 13 Dugan Kelly $106,510.45, 14 Travis Graves $106,450.23, 15Billie Seabees $98,833.62
The Canadian contingent went into their night at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo needing just $38,000 to top the half million dollar mark in take home pay from the ten million dollar event, easily surpassing the best previous Canadian performance.
And Orin Larsen wasted no time in getting ‘Team Canada’ closer to that milestone payoff as he made his best ride of the 2016 WNFR with an 87.5 score on Frontier Rodeo’s Full Baggage to win his first ever go-round and the $26,000 plus first place cheque. The talented Manitoba cowboy has fashioned an inspirational story as he re-injured a painful rib tear in the opening round but has refused to give in. And over the last three days, Larsen has placed in all three rounds to win almost fifty thousand dollars.
“Full Baggage – he’s a big, strong horse that I’ve always wanted to get on and there’s no better place to do that than right here,” Larsen noted with a smile. “That trip to the South Point (nightly go-round buckle presentations) is something I’ve wanted to do since I was a little kid – that’s going to be an emotional roller coaster for sure.”
Referencing the pain that has been an unpleasant accompaniment to every one of his rides at the Finals, the two time WNFR qualifier was philosophical. “It’s not too bad during the ride other than the popping and crunching that’s happening. But after the ride, that’s when I can feel it. But tonight I won so I feel pretty good.”
Airdrie’s Jake Vold who won three rounds in a row earlier at this Finals, had some trouble with the Pickett Rodeo bareback horse, Top Notch and had to settle for just 70.5 points.
Canadian bareback horses had a big night as C5 Rodeo’s Virgil packed Winn Ratliff to 86.5 and second place while Big Stone Rodeo’s Call Me Kindra carried JR Vezain to an 85 point 3/4 split.
For the third night in a row all three Canadian saddle bronc riders were in the money. The ‘kids’ (the oldest is 23) were led by Nanton’s Clay Elliott who rode Burch Rodeo’s Lunatic Fringe to an 86 point second place finish and a $20,730 dollar payday. Big Valley cowboy Zeke Thurston spurred out an 85 point effort on Pete Carr Rodeo’s Manhattan Moon for third place money of $15,653 and the guy who has been Mr. Consistency through the first eight days in Las Vegas – Jake Watson of Hudson’s Hope, BC – made it eight for eight with an 82 point ride on JK Rodeo’s Dakota Babe for 6th place and $4230.
Watson sits in top spot in the average and Thurston who has bucked off only one horse (at 7.92 seconds) is right behind Watson in the average with just two go-rounds remaining.
Two time World Champion, Cody Wright turned back the clock on this night and rode like his two sons Rusty and Ryder who are among the five Wrights qualified for Las Vegas in 2016. The elder statesman of the family was a brilliant 88 points on Lipstick and Whiskey from Powder River Rodeo, a horse that eighteen year-old Ryder rode to a go round win earlier in the week.
The lone disappointment for the dedicated Canadian fans, who had the flags waving with attitude tonight, came in the team roping as Levi Simpson (Ponoka) and Jeremy Buhler (Arrowwood) took their first no time of the rodeo and fell to third place in the average. Barrhead’s Kolton Schmidt went after it but broke the barrier to take him and Texas partner Shay Carroll to a 13.9 with the ten second penalty.
The 2016 Canadian champion team of Dustin Bird from Cutbank, Montana and Russell Cardoza from Terrebonne, Oregon were picture perfect in making the fastest run of the week, a sensational 3.7 seconds to win the round and keep Bird in the #1 spot in the All-Around standings.
Terrell, Texas bulldogger Clayton Hass won the round in his event with a 4.1 second run and remains in contention for both the steer wrestling and all-around titles. And in the barrel race, Oregon cowgirl, Amberleigh Moore, equaled the arena record with her 13.37 to win the round while former champion, Mary Burger, at 68 years young finished third in the round with a 13.66 to inch closer to her second world title.
Three Canadian champions finished atop the tie down roping leaderboard for the eighth go-round. Sulphur, Louisiana’s Shane Hanchey topped the round with a 6.8 second run; Blackfoot Idaho’s Matt Shiozawa (the reigning Canadian Champ) was second at 7.1 and the new dad from the state of Washington, Tyson Durfey, finished up in third spot with a 7.3.
It was fitting that in the Canada Night finale, it was a Canadian bull, Wayne Vold Rodeo’s Cooper’s Comet, that carried Fruita, Colorado cowboy, Tyler Smith, to an 89 point win in a round that saw only two men able to ride. In two trips at the 2016 WNFR, Cooper’s Comet, the 2016 Canadian Bull of the Year, has been 88.5 and 89 points and his riders, Smith and Roscoe Jarboe have both won the rounds.
Canadians continued their assault on the Wrangler National Finals’ chequing account and their own all-time earnings record in Wednesday’s seventh round.
The big move for the Canadian contingent once again came courtesy of the team roping duo, Levi Simpson and Jeremy Buhler. The talented twosome, from Ponoka and Arrowwood, Alberta respectively, roped their steer in 4.3 seconds to split second in the round and add $18,192 to their earnings total. More importantly, they moved to first place in the average and are the only team to have roped all seven of their steers. The average or aggregate – which is the total time on ten head – pays $67,000 to the first-place finisher.
“We just missed getting to the Finals last year,” Simpson commented, “so we changed a few things so that wouldn’t happen again. We went to fewer rodeos so we could be rested and focused for the ones we did go to.”
“We’re just trying to stay aggressive and take it one night at a time,” Buhler added. “Levi’s turning ‘em just great and I’m just trying to do my job on the back side.”
Matt Sherwood and Quinn Kesler won the round with a 4.1 while the third Canadian in the team roping, Barrhead, Alberta’s Kolton Schmidt along with Texas partner, Shay Carroll continued to struggle and finished out of the money in round seven.
Jake Watson is quickly becoming one of the very cool stories of the 2016 WNFR. On a night that saw all three Canadian bronc riders cash some chips, the 23 year old Hudson’s Hope, BC cowboy stuck an 83.5 point ride on the three time Canadian champion saddle bronc, Get Smart from the Northcott Macza firm. Watson, who barely squeaked into 15th place to qualify for his first WNFR, split 2/3/4 in the round, for a $15,794 payday. He’s climbed all the way to first place in the average and 7th in the world standings with over $143,000 won. Watson split the round with world leader and defending champion, Jacobs Crawley and Jake Wright who was aboard the Calgary Stampede’s Waning Moon. Another Stampede bronc, Tiger Warrior, ended the perfect run of first time finalist Allen Boore who was 6 for 6 before tonight’s encounter with the Grated Coconut son.
Reigning Canadian champion Clay Elliott put together an 81 point effort on Stace Smith’s Pretty Boy for a fifth place $6769 cheque while Zeke Thurston, who won round six, teamed with Burch Rodeo’s Angel Slings for 6th place in the round and $4230.
Orin Larsen followed up his 2/3 spilt and first cheque of the Wrangler National Finals rodeo in Tuesday’s sixth go-round with a split of sixth place in round seven to add a $2215 cheque to the $18 thousand plus he collected the day before. The Manitoba product, who came to the WNFR in second place, was 78 points on Rafter G Rodeo’s Ankle Biter. Meanwhile the blazing pistols of Jake Vold cooled slightly on this night. The Ponoka cowboy who had won the previous three rounds was out of the money in round seven as he managed a 76 score on Beutler and Son’s Nod Big .Com Wonderland. Vold remains in second place in the average and fourth in the world.
The California man and Canadian Finals Rodeo qualifier, RC Landingham won the round with an 84.5 on a horse called Scarlet Fever while Tim O’Connell continues to enjoy a commanding lead atop the bareback riding leaderboard. On the stock side where going into round seven, $240,000 had been won on Canadian horses and bulls, the Calgary Stampede’s Trail Dust carried Texan Richie Champion to 79 points and a fifth place cheque for $6769.
Defending average champion, Dakota Endridge won the round in the steer wrestling with a 3.4 second time. Leading the world after seven rounds is Louisiana cowboy Tyler Waguespack with $204,000. Mary Burger came to Las Vegas leading the world and the 68 year old grandmother continued her storybook year as she and her tremendous gelding, Mo, posted a 13.58 to win the round and consolidate her lead for the world title. Canadian champion Matt Shiozawa of Blackfoot, Idaho won his first round of this WNFR with a 7.3 second run one night after he suffered the misfortune of having his rope break to force a no time.
And in the bull riding, all eyes were initially focused on Sage Kimzey and his quest for a third world title. But former world champion, Shane Proctor, has become one of the big storylines and tonight he made it seven for seven as the Washington cowboy was part of a three-way split of first with 85 points. Joining Kimzey in the Winner’s Circle were Garrett Tribble and Cody Rostockyj.
The Canadian saddle bronc riders have been watching the bareback riders and team ropers getting all the headlines. And in go-round six of the 2016 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, they decided to do something about it.
The youthful trio enjoyed their finest hour to date as all three Canadian bronc riders placed in the round for the first time at this Finals. It was Big Valley’s Zeke Thurston leading the way as he put together a spectacular 88.5 on C5 Rodeo’s Black Hills for his first-ever WNFR go-round win. The win gives him $49,923 in earnings to date and third place in the slot machine-like average.
Right behind the second generation bronc rider was Hudson Hope, BC’s Jake Watson with his 87 point effort on Frontier Rodeo’s Times Up. The second place cheque meant the very consistent Watson is now 6 for 6 and has moved to the overall lead in the average. The third member of the Canuck threesome, Canadian Champion Clay Elliott, saw his 82.5 on Big Rafter Rodeo’s Pearl hold on for a split of sixth place and $2115.
“That’s just a really nice little horse of Vern’s (MacDonald),” Thurston grinned after his ride. “I’ve had her a couple of times before and I’ve won quite a bit of money on her. She felt really good out there.”
Thurston had to put the disappointment of a 7.92 second buckoff earlier in the week behind him and is definitely in a groove now. “Yeah, Killer Bee is one of the buckiest horses I’ve ever been on.” Thurston acknowledged. “I set an arena record on him at Tucson but here he got me. You just have to put those things out of your mind and get ready for the next one.”
* * * * * * * * * * * *
“It’s not over ‘till I win.”
Those were the words of Canadian bareback rider, Orin Larsen. The talented Manitoba cowboy had not had the finals he had hoped for, particularly as he came into the Wrangler NFR in second place in the world standings and was coming off a terrific Canadian Finals Rodeo that saw him win three rounds.
But it was clear almost from the outset that all was not right with the soft-spoken two time WNFR qualifier.
“I’d torn some ribs back in September but after the CFR I thought I was pretty well home free. But about two or three jumps out on my first round horse here (Frontier Rodeo’s Night Watch) I felt a pop and knew I’d tore them again.”
Not one to look for an excuse, Larsen was quick to accentuate the positive. “The Sport Medicine Team has done as awesome job of keeping me in one piece,” he stated. “ I’m really looking forward to the last half of the Finals.” That despite admitting to ‘feeling it crunch and pop’ as he rides.
Larsen noted as well that he’s aware of the support of Canadian fans both here in Las Vegas and back in Canada. “That means so much to me; I really appreciate it,” he smiled. “I don’t have any choice. I have to go out there and win.”
It turns out that those fans and Larsen’s attitude were just the combination to get his week turned around.
In tonight’s round six, he climbed aboard Bar T Rodeo’s Ruby’s Girl and did what he has done all season long, spurring out an 85 score to split 2/3 in the round and pocket his first cheque of this finals, a sizable $18,192 payoff. In fact only one man was better.
And that man, fellow Canadian, Jake Vold, was a half point better on Burch Rodeo’s Jim Dandy to post his third go-round win in succession. Vold’s $91,000 plus haul has moved him to 4th place in both the average and the world standings with four rounds remaining.
“I had Jim Dandy here in 2014; I think it was in the same round,” Vold recalled, “and I knew he was good. But I think I rode him better this time.”
As happy as he was with his own performance, Vold was equally tickled to see his countryman enjoy some success. “Orin is as tough as nails – riding with separated ribs; I was really excited to see him win a big cheque tonight.”
A couple of Canadian horses grabbed a share of the spotlight in the bareback riding as well. The Calgary Stampede’s Tootsie Roll carried Tanner Aus to an 84 point ride and 4th place in the round while Kesler Rodeo’s Starburst was the mount for Jake Brown’s 84 point 5/6 split.
The all Canadian team roping duo of Levi Simpson and Jeremy Buhler kept their streak of qualified runs going with a 9.3 to finish just out of the money but maintain their hold on second place in the average. Lady luck continued to plague the third Canadian team roper, Kolton Schmidt, and his Texas partner, Shay Carroll as the team is still without a cheque to date.
The $416,000 won by Canadian competitors at the 2016 WNFR has made this finals the most lucrative for Canadian contestants in the history of the event.
In the bull riding, Outlaw Buckers’ Chip Shot carried Rexburg, Idaho’s Garrett Smith to 82 points, just outside of the money in a round that saw Minnesota’s Brennon Eldred ride Championship Pro Rodeo’s The Duke to a 90.5 score for the win.
There was a three-way split for first in the steer wrestling between Billy Bugenig, Riley Duvall and Tyler Waguespack – all with 3.6 second runs. Two time Canadian Champion Tyson Durfey was the quickest of the tie-down ropers with a 7.4. And in the barrel racing, Utah cowgirl Kimmie Wall ran the fastest time of the finals to date – a 13.46 – for her second round win this week.