Courtesy of CPRA

WNFR Round 6 – Good Start – Strong Finish For Canada

Courtesy of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association

December 12, 2017

Jordan Hansen capped off a solid night by the Canadian contestants at the 2017 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. The 2016 Canadian Champion conquered Beutler and Son Rodeo’s El Diablo to the tune of 84.5 points to finish third in the round and cash his second cheque of the week, this one for $15,653. Coupled with his fifth place finish for $6769 in round two, the young man – who as a kid dreamed of the yellow chutes of Las Vegas – now has just over $22,000 in his first appearance at the Thomas and Mack arena.

“I cracked out a new rope and just tried to stop thinking about things,” the twenty four year-old Hansen commented. “I needed that one tonight. I just got sick of falling off and got a little angry at myself. Now I’m excited for the rest of the week.”

But the story of the night in the bull riding was Trey Benton lll who made it five of six with a spectacular 92.5 ride on Rocky Mountain Rodeo’s Bomb Pop. The Rock Island, Texas cowboy is first in the average with 442 points on five rides. The only other man to ride five so far is the man who is quickly turning the bull riding into a coronation. Sage Steele Kimzey keeps adding to his earnings record and did it again tonight with a second place finish and now sits at $340,000, almost $90,000 ahead of 2017 Canadian Champion Garrett Smith who has been giving it a gritty effort but is battling a series of injuries including a torn ACL suffered in an earlier round. Kimzey looks more and more like a lock to take his fourth consecutive gold buckle back to Strong City, Oklahoma four nights from now.

Layton Green is another Canadian who appears to have found his mojo after a slow start at his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. The 2017 Canadian Champion rode the Pete Carr Pro Rodeo bronc Cool Runnings for 85.5 and a 4/5 split that earned him $8884. That followed his 87.5 point ride twenty-four hours ago that gave him a 2/3/4 split and the back to back successes have boosted his WNFR earnings to just over $24,500. The other two members of the talented trio of Canadian bronc riders finished just out of the money. Reigning World Champion, Zeke Thurston and 2016 Canadian Champion, Clay Elliott posted identical 83.5 scores as did 2015 World Champion and 2017 season leader Jacobs Crawley who continues to lead the world with $220,000 won, just $20,000 ahead of Thurston in second spot.

What was a good night for Canada actually started early for the guys representing the Canadian Maple Leaf. In the night’s first event, Manitoba bareback rider Orin Larsen rode J Bar J Rodeo’s Beyond Bugs to a solid 85.5 to win third in the round and $15,653. The talented 26 year-old, competing at his third WNFR has placed in five of six rounds and has won over $71,000. Larsen sits 5th in the average after six go rounds.

And not to be outdone, Jake Vold, the Ponoka raised, Airdrie, Alberta resident, was just a half point back of his countryman to finish 4th and pick up a tidy $11,000 on Summit Rodeo’s Revolving Door. Vold’s solid performance gives him $76,211 in money won so far and, more importantly, puts him in first in the average with 515 points on six head. The payoff to win the average is a whopping $67,269.

Tanner Milan maintained his momentum from last night’s go round win, his second of this Finals, with a sixth place 4.0 run on a rapid night of steer wrestling. The $4230 payday gives the two time Canadian Champion a total of $66,692 WNFR dollars and he is now third in the average and 4th in the world standings, about $80,000 back of the leader. The round was won by Tremonton, Utah bulldogger Baylor Roche with a 3.6 while Helena, Montana’s Ty Erickson continues to lead both the average and the world standings.
In the barrel race, season leader Tiany Schuster had been okay through the first five go-rounds. But ‘okay’ hasn’t really been her M.O throughout the 2017 season. The Krum, Texas cowgirl who has been the dominant force all season long, looked more like that Tiany Schuster as her 13.52 second run was second only to Hailey Kinsel’s 13.49. However, the barrel race is no longer the runaway it has been throughout the season. Kinsel, a first time qualifier, leads the average and trails Schuster by just $62,000 – no longer the seemingly insurmountable obstacle that faced everyone in the field not named Schuster when the Finals kicked off six days ago.

The plot has definitely thickened in the tie down roping race as well. What had been a three man race between Tuf Cooper, Marcos Costa and Trevor Brazile is still a three man race. Except that the third man in that battle is now Marty Yates, as Brazile may have taken himself out of contention with a no time in round six. Yates, the Stephenville, Texas man, tied the go round record with a 6.9 second run for his second go round win in a row; he now sits third in the world behind Cooper and Costa.

And in the team roping, the round was split between Riley and Brady Minor and the duo of Cody Snow and Wesley Thorpe, both teams posting blazing 3.7 second runs. The hands-across-the-border team of American Tom Richards and Canadian Jeremy Buhler took a no time as the defending world champion missed his shot on the back side. Arizona cowboys Cory Petska and Erich Rogers continue to cling to a narrow lead with just four rounds remaining.

The drama wil continue to unfold in Round 7 tomorrow evening.

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