The 53rd annual Wrangler National Finals Rodeo came to an end late Saturday night at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
As always, each of the 10 rounds during the 10-day event in Nevada ends too late for American News deadlines. The newspaper always runs the agate results one-day late, but here is a recap of highlights:
· It was good news, bad news Saturday night for Washington bull rider Shane Proctor of Grand Coulee. He won his first world championship by earning $238,249 this season, but he broke his left arm in the round when his bull, Black Attack, bucked him off and then stepped on him.
· South Dakota cowboy Jake Rinehart of Highmore had a good season of steer wrestling. He finished fourth at the NFR for average, winning at least a share of two rounds, and seventh in the world by earning $124,123 this season.
· After tying for first Friday night with Luke Branquinho and Casey Martin, Rinehart and Martin rode double on a single horse during the victory lap.
Rinehart is 6-foot-7 and Martin 6-foot-5 and the two weigh a combined 495 pounds.
Well, I knew if I was going off, he was coming off with me, Rinehart said of the ride around Thomas & Mack. It wasn't too bad, really, except for that first little corner. I knew I didn't want to jump on there with Luke. I knew Casey and I could at least wrap our legs around him a little bit.
Martin shared Rinehart's concerns. Jake was on the back, and he's a little bigger than I am, aid the Sulphur, La., cowboy. I was scared we were both going to end up on the ground for a second.
· In tie-down roping, Tuf Cooper of Decatur, Texas, claimed his first world championship ($192,042).
· Cooper's two brothers, Clif and Clint, also competed in tie-down roping at the NFR. They are the sons of eight-time world champion Roy Cooper.
· South Dakota had three of the 15 saddle bronc riders at the NFR: Jesse Bail of Camp Crook, Chad Ferley of Oelrichs and Chuck Schmidt of Keldron. Ferley finished sixth in the world, Bail seventh and Schmidt 12th.
· California cowboy Luke Branquinho of Los Alamos won his third world steer wrestling championship ($234,518) and third National Finals Rodeo aggregate title Saturday night.
· In barrel racing, Lisa Lockhart of Oelrichs finished fourth in the world by earning $159,710.
· Friday was a good night for South Dakotans. Not only did Rinehart win, but so did Lockhart. The South Dakota barrel racer won her second round of the week as well.
· Korkow Rodeo of Pierre and Sutton Rodeo of Onida provided stock for the NFR, as both always have for every NFR in history.
· On Tuesday night, Chandler Bownds of Lubbock, Texas, won the sixth round of bull riding aboard the Suttons' Crystal Springs Peach. Bownds earned $17,885 for his winning ride in the round, but he and bullfighter Darrell Diefenbach each took a hit from the bull following the ride.
Bownds was left with a good-sized hematoma on my butt, but it will be all right. I'll be able to keep riding; it's just a popped blood vessel. I had a good bull from the Suttons, and he came around left to start and then went back around to the right. He hung me out there at the end, and I had a bad get-off and he threw me over his outside shoulder.
· In barrel racing, Lindsay Sears of Nanton, Alberta, won her second world championship by securing the $45,865 bonus that goes to the NFR aggregate standings champion. Of her $238,064 season total, she won $133,558 at the NFR.
· In team roping, header Turtle Powell of Stephenville, Texas and heeler Jhett Johnson of Casper, Wyo., won their first world and NFR aggregate championships. Powell earned $195,407 while Johnson made $197,112.
· In saddle bronc riding, Taos Muncy of Corona, N.M., won his second world championship ($249,914).
· In the second round on Dec. 2, two Wrangler NFR rookies topped their events. Bull rider Bownds won, as did South Dakota saddle bronc rider Schmidt. Yesterday, I was so nervous. I was almost shaking, Schmidt said. I felt calmer today, and I wanted to come and try and win some money. I had no clue. I knew the horse was good, but all the horses are good and all the riders are good, so I was pretty tickled. This was another good day for South Dakota as barrel racer Lockhart won on this night as well.
· Trevor Brazile of Decatur, Texas, won his record sixth championship in all-around. He finished this season with a record $4,275,252 in career earnings.
· On Dec. 5 in saddle bronc, South Dakotans Ferley, Schmidt and Bail finished third, fifth and sixth, respectively.
· Kaycee Feild of Payson, Utah, won the the world bareback riding crown by earning a season-record $319,986. Feild also won the NFR aggregate standings title ($179,327) in record-setting fashion - he won or split six of the 10 rounds - to earn a Ram truck.
· Rinehart rides his 19-year-old horse, Eight Ball, to steer wrestle.