There was a race in every event going into tonight — nothing was decided. For every bit of jubilation in Thomas & Mack tonight, there was an equal (or more) amount of heartbreak.
The Bareback Riding went according to script — Kaycee Field won the title. It was uphill all week for Jess Pope, and in the end, he won the aggregate, but he was just short in the title race. That heartbreak I mentioned? Our man Orin Larsen got a piece of it when he was flagged for missing his horse out. Orin had spurred his way up to fourth in the aggregate but dropped right out of the big payoff with the MO. That yellow flag cost Orin $32,658. Calgary’s World Champion Bareback Horse X-9 Xplosive Skies carried R.C. Landingham to 89 points and a third-place cheque tonight. Ward Macza’a fabulous 118 OLS Tubs Stevie Knicks helped Garrett Shadbolt to 87.5 points and a fourth-place cheque. Calgary’s A-91 Agent Lynx took Tilden Hooper to an 86.5-point trip and fifth hole. Richie Champion was 83 points and slid into that fourth-place average cheque.
Tyler Waguespack won his third Steer Wrestling World Championship tonight. Curtis Cassidy and Scott Guenthner never did get to jump off Curtis’ two-time World Champion Steer Wrestling Horse Tyson, but they both came through for cheques tonight. Curtis split the round with 4 seconds flat. In what Scott Guenthner has proclaimed is his final NFR, he won a sixth-place cheque with his 5.1-second journey.
More Canadian Heartbreak
I feel for 2016 World Champion Heeler Jeremy Buhler. He came into the fray tonight with a legitimate shot at a second World title. Alas, his header had an almost-catch and rode around ‘fishing’ for a few seconds before the rope fell to the ground. Jeremy never even got to throw a loop. Kaleb Driggers and his Brazilian heeler Junior Nogueira won the titles. Season leaders Dustin Egusquiza and Travis Graves won the night with a smoking fast 3.5 seconds.
Andrew Ward and Buddy Hawkins set a new average record with 10 rounds in 54.7. With only two teams catching all their cattle, Jeremy and Rhen only fell to fourth in the average, so they got a healthy cheque, just not enough to take them to the winner’s circle.
A big 93-point ride helped Stetson Wright become the World Champion Saddle Bronc Rider. Brodie Cress won his third NFR Average title. The real Dawson Hay showed up tonight, and he and Ward Macza’s World Champion Saddle Bronc 242 OLS Tubs Get Smart teamed up for second place with a fine 90-point trip. Two-time World Champion Zeke Thurston had a good payday. He spurred out an 89-point ride for fifth in the round and third ($44,414) in the average. Layton Green was 84.5 on C5’s 3003 Trump Card and hung in there for sixth in the average. Kolby Wanchuk scored 84. Calgary’s Canadian Champion Bronc W-16 Wild Cherry bucked off Ben Andersen. It certainly wasn’t from lack of effort from Ben — that horse was double-rank today. Sage Newman rode T-77 Tokyo Bubbles from the Stampede Ranch to 83.5 points.
Last year, two-time World Champion Tie-Down Roper Caleb Smidt had to sit out the NFR because he tested positive for COVID. This year, he won the average and another world title. Today, Marty Yates clocked 6.9 to win the round. I noticed Weston Hughes was riding Logan Bird’s Canadian Tie-Down Horse of the Year Peso; he placed third with a 7.6. Season leader Shane Hanchey was also on Bird’s horse and was in the hunt until he roped his calf deep. He had to cut his rope but ran out of time before he completed his task — more heartbreak.
Like Mother, Like Daughter
There’s a new category in the Barrel Racing record book. Four-time World Champion Barrel Racer Kristi Pederson and her daughter Jordan Briggs became the first mother/daughter to win world titles. Today Jordan won the average and her first title. In her interview, Jordan said that her horse Rolo didn’t tip a barrel this year. In the ‘more irony’ department, Dona Kay Rule also tested positive and was barred from NFR 2020. Today she won round 10 with a fast 13.58 run.
Sage Kimsey is now a seven-time World Champion Bull Rider. He sealed it today with an 88-point ride. This year’s Linderman Award winner Josh Frost was 92.5 to win the day and the average. The two Big Stone bulls played a role in the title race when they bucked off a pair of contenders, W20 War Cry and 409 Mr. Clean bucked off Parker Breding and Stetson Wright.
What Did I Think?
I wish we’d seen Two-Time World Champion Steer Wrestling Horse Tyson in action, and I hope he’s okay.
I thoroughly enjoyed the timed events. The riding events I found very frustrating. If I wasn’t bit so hard by the rodeo bug, I’d have quit watching. I know people that did.
If this sounds like I’m bitching about the NFR judging, I am. It’s got to be fixed. So, on Monday, I’ll post what I think is a common-sense solution to what I consider an NFR quandary. Come back and read it. I’ll bet it will make sense to you, and you’ll forward it to someone you know.
Let me know what you think.
[Click on the above link for the 2021 Wrangler NFR Round 10 Highlights – available only on the PRCA page. -TM]