Thanks to the fastest run of his eight consecutive trips to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, Trevor Knowles is two-for-two and closing fast on the top spot in the world standings. Of course, he’s just one of three cowboys who are having a dream start to the $6 million Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Tie-down roper Cody Ohl and bareback rider Kaycee Feild are in the same enviable boat.
Knowles, of Mount Vernon, Ore., downed his steer in 3.3 seconds to win Round 2 in front of 17,445 fans Friday night at the Thomas & Mack Center and moved to second place behind Luke Branquinho – who took over the world standings lead with a second-place finish in the round. Branquinho holds a $3,822 lead over Knowles in the world standings but is second to Knowles in the average race.
“I was pumped,” Knowles said of his quick run in Round 2. “A guy tries to stay as cool and collected as he can, and as soon as you stand up, then you can hear the crowd. I’m not a very flamboyant guy, but it’s hard to keep your hat on in that situation. It felt like I came out with a little more authority tonight and a lot more finish on that run. We’ll hopefully keep that up.”
GAC is celebrating the union of rodeo, country music and Wrangler in December by broadcasting the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo live, December 1-10 at 10/9c each night. Plus, eight-time All-Around Champion, Trevor Brazile plays host to Suzanne Alexander and Joe Nichols on his ranch, deep in the heart of Texas in our special, Inside the WNFR 2011. Whether you are new to the sport and or a die-hard fan, this must-see show gives you the 4-1-1 on all the rodeo event categories from Steer Wrestling and Barrel Racing, to the death-defying Bull Riding event.
Knowles split the Round 1 win with Jason Miller – who is third in the standings and less than $5,200 back himself – on Thursday with a 3.9-second run.
“We’re off to a great start,” Knowles said. “I got hurt in late July and didn’t do very good all fall. I just mentally wasn’t ready, and physically I felt it held me back. I feel as healthy as I’ve been since that day, and it feels great to be able to open up and expose myself and go at them and do my job as best as I can. To do that here and win two firsts, it really has my confidence up.”
Knowles isn’t the only one with two reasons to celebrate after two rounds.
Ohl stopped the clock in 7.1 seconds and topped second-place finisher Tyson Durfey by a half-second for another $17,885. It’s been an emotional start for the six-time world champion.
“You know, I’ve got a lot of things on my mind,” Ohl said. A lot of young kids lost their lives this year – and it’s close friends of mine that are here (whose kids passed away). Like Joe (Beaver) last night, he took his hat off and saluted Byron Walker and his family. I just started crying in the roping box. I’ve got kids, and it just emotionally kicked my butt. It just lit a fire under me. I’m doing it for the people that we love. Joe B’s given so much, and I wanted to come out here, 38 years old, and give 110 percent.”
Ohl has now won the first two rounds of the Wrangler NFR three times in his career – the two previous times (1998, 2001), he won the world title in tie-down roping. Of course, some of his fellow tie-down contestants were just kids the last time he won two rounds to open the NFR.
“It’s kind of an emotional deal there, too,” he said. “They want to give them (the young NFR contestants) our credit; you know what I’m saying? They don’t have one (a gold buckle) strapped on yet. When I get here, I want to make a statement. It’s not a cruel thing, but hey, I’m not giving up that easy. You don’t have one of my buckles yet, and you’re going to have to earn it.”
Bareback rider Kaycee Feild is right there with him. He might lack the five gold buckles of his dad, Lewis Feild, but Kaycee has accomplished something in his fourth Wrangler NFR trip that his dad never accomplished. He won the Finals’ first two rounds to push his world standings lead to nearly $40,000 over second-place Will Lowe. He also leads the average race by 3.5 points over Casey Colletti.
“I wanted to come here and dominate. That was the plan. It’s just awesome to come in and start the week the way I have. I feel good about where I’m at now. Hopefully, I can keep it up for another eight rounds.”
Feild was paired with JK Rodeo’s Molly in the second round and turned in an 87.5-point ride to best Ryan Gray and Carr Pro Rodeo’s Grass Dancer by 1.5 points. Feild has now earned $35,769 in two days of Wrangler NFR action to share the Top Gun Award lead with Ohl.
Eight-time World Champion All-Around Cowboy Trevor Brazile and two-time World Champion Team Roping Heeler Patrick Smith claimed victory in Round 2 with a 4.1-second run that pushed them to second in the average race, and sixth and seventh, respectively, in the team roping world standings.
Turtle Powell/Jhett Johnson and Colby Lovell/York Gill were just a tenth of a second off the pace to split second and third in the round.
“Last night, I didn’t expect that steer to start that hard, and I was late,” Brazile said of their 5.9-second first-round run. “Tonight was just the opposite. I got a really good start, and it made my job easy. Patrick has heeled both the first two steers really sharp.”
The two were the first team out and had to watch as others made runs at their round-leading time.
“Being the first team up, you never know what’s going to happen, if it’s going to be a tough round or not,” Smith added. “Our plan was to be aggressive and see how it played out.”
Two Wrangler NFR rookies topped their events on Friday. Bull rider Chandler Bownds rode Robinson ProRodeo’s RMEF Bugle for 91 points to earn a $17,885 first-place check – his first of the 2011 Wrangler NFR.
“It’s an adrenaline rush to step out there and make 91 points and then get off and throw your arms up in the air and the crowd goes crazy; it was awesome,” Bownds said. “I just want to stay positive and ride the rest of my bulls and try to win the average out here.”
Saddle bronc rider Chuck Schmidt turned in an 87.5-point ride on Bar T Rodeo’s Son of Sadie to pick up his first Finals check, which was worth $17,885. Jesse Wright finished second in the round to take the lead in the average after two rounds. But it was Schmidt’s night to shine.
“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.”
South Dakota’s Lisa Lockhart turned in the Finals’ first run under 14 seconds in the barrel racing to win Round 2 with a 13.95-second run on Friday. She had nothing to lose after tipping a barrel in Round 1.
“I can’t fault (my horse, Louie) for how he worked last night,” Lockhart said. “We just tipped a barrel. He ran really fast tonight. It’s nice to have a horse that likes it here. I’ve been on some previously here that haven’t done as well here, and so it’s nice to have one that really does like it and fits the situation.”
53rd annual Wrangler National Finals Rodeo
Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, Nev.
December 2, 2011
Bareback riding: 1. Kaycee Feild, Payson, Utah, 87.5 points on JK Rodeo Company’s Molly, $17,885; 2. Ryan Gray, Cheney, Wash., 86, $14,135; 3. (tie) Casey Colletti, Pueblo, Colo., and Wes Stevenson, Lubbock, Texas, 85.5, $9,087 each; 5. Steven Peebles, Redmond, Ore., 84.5, $4,615; 6. Cody DeMers, Kimberly, Idaho, 83.5, $2,885; 7. Clint Cannon, Waller, Texas, 82.5; 8. Bobby Mote, Culver, Ore., 82; 9. (tie) Will Lowe, Canyon, Texas; Brian Bain, Culver, Ore., and Jason Havens, Prineville, Ore., 80.5 each; 12. (tie) Steven Dent, Mullen, and Matt Bright, Azle, Texas, 80 each; 14. Tilden Hooper, Carthage, Texas, 76.5; 15. Royce Ford, Briggsdale, Colo., 75.
Steer wrestling: 1. Trevor Knowles, Mount Vernon, Ore., 3.3 seconds, $17,885; 2. Luke Branquinho, Los Alamos, Calif., 3.4, $14,135; 3. Sean Mulligan, Coleman, Okla., 3.6, $10,673; 4. (tie) Jason Miller, Lance Creek, Wyo., and Stockton Graves, Newkirk, Okla., 3.9, $6,058 each; 6. Jake Rinehart, Highmore, S.D., 4.2, $2,885; 7. Shawn Greenfield, Lakeview, Ore., 4.3; 8. Billy Bugenig, Ferndale, Calif., 4.4; 9. Todd Suhn, Hermosa, S.D., 4.5; 10. (tie) Blake Knowles, Heppner, Ore., and Mickey Gee, Wichita Falls, Texas, 4.9 each; 12. Casey Martin, Sulphur, La., 15.7; 13. (tie) Dean Gorsuch, Gering, Neb.; Olin Hannum, Malad, Idaho, and Seth Brockman, Wheatland, Wyo., NT.
Team roping: 1. Trevor Brazile, Decatur, Texas/Patrick Smith, Midland, Texas, 4.1 seconds, $17,885 each; 2. (tie) Colby Lovell, Madisonville, Texas/York Gill, Memphis, Tenn., and Turtle Powell, Stephenville, Texas/Jhett Johnson, Casper, Wyo., 4.2, $12,404 each; 4. Jake Barnes, Scottsdale, Ariz./Walt Woodard, Stephenville, Texas, 6.0, $7,500; 5. Derrick Begay, Seba Dalkai, Ariz./Cesar de la Cruz, Tucson, Ariz., 9.0, $4,615; 6. Clay Tryan, Billings, Mont./Travis Graves, Jay, Okla., 11.6, $2,885; 7. Brady Tryan, Huntley, Mont./Jake Long, Coffeyville, Kan., 13.7; 8. Chad Masters, Cedar Hill, Tenn./Jade Corkill, Fallon, Nev., 15.2; 9. Kaleb Driggers, Albany, Ga./Brad Culpepper, Poulan, Ga., 19.1; 10. (tie) Erich Rogers, Round Rock, Ariz./Kory Koontz, Sudan, Texas; Matt Sherwood, Pima , Ariz./Cory Petska, Marana, Ariz.; Luke Brown, Stephenville, Texas/Martin Lucero, Stephenville, Texas; Spencer Mitchell, Colusa, Calif./Broc Cresta, Santa Rosa, Calif.; Brandon Beers, Powell Butte, Ore./Jim Ross Cooper, Monument, N.M., and Riley Minor, Ellensburg, Wash./Brady Minor, Ellensburg, Wash., NT.
Saddle bronc riding: 1. Chuck Schmidt, Keldron, S.D., 87.5 points on Bar T Rodeo’s Son of Sadie, $17,885; 2. Jesse Wright, Milford, Utah, 86, $14,135; 3. Heith DeMoss, Heflin, La., 83, $10,673; 4. Bradley Harter, Weatherford, Texas, 80.5, $7,500; 5. (tie) Jacobs Crawley, College Station, Texas, and Tyler Corrington, Hastings, Minn., 78.5, $3,750; 7. Chad Ferley, Oelrichs, S.D., 77.5; 8. Ty Atchison, Jackson, Mo., 76.5; 9. Taos Muncy, Corona, N.M., 75.5; 10. Sam Spreadborough, Snyder, Texas, 73.5; 11. Jesse Kruse, Great Falls, Mont., 69.5; 12. (tie) Cody Wright, Milford, Utah; Wade Sundell, Boxholm, Iowa; Cody DeMoss, Heflin, La., and Jesse Bail, Camp Crook, S.D., NS.
Tie-down roping: 1. Cody Ohl, Hico, Texas, 7.1 seconds, $17,885; 2. Tyson Durfey, Colbert, Wash., 7.6, $14,135; 3. Trevor Brazile, Decatur, Texas, 7.8, $10,673; 4. Matt Shiozawa, Chubbuck, Idaho, 7.9, $7,500; 5. Scott Kormos, Teague, Texas, 8.2, $4,615; 6. Hunter Herrin, Apache, Okla., 8.4, $2,885; 7. Tuf Cooper, Decatur, Texas, 8.5; 8. Clint Cooper, Decatur, Texas, 9.3; 9. Timber Moore, Aubrey, Texas, 9.4; 10. Adam Gray, Seymour, Texas, 10.2; 11. Jerrad Hofstetter, Portales, N.M., 10.3; 12. Cory Solomon, Prairie View, Texas, 11.3; 13. Shane Hanchey, Sulphur, La., 17.5; 14. Ryan Jarrett, Comanche, Okla., 21.1; 15. Clif Cooper, Decatur, Texas, NT.
Barrel racing: 1. Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, S.D., 13.95 seconds, $17,885; 2. Angie Meadors, Blanchard, Okla., 14.00, $14,135; 3. Jody Sheffield, Ogden, Utah, 14.02, $10,673; 4. Christina Richman, Glendora, Calif., 14.09, $7,500; 5. Jeanne Anderson, White City, Kan., 14.13, $4,615; 6. Sherry Cervi, Marana, Ariz., 14.17, $2,885; 7. (tie) Lindsay Sears, Nanton, Alberta, and Brenda Mays, Terrebonne, Ore., 14.21 each; 9. Tammy Fischer, Ledbetter, Texas, 14.42; 10. Brittany Pozzi, Victoria, Texas, 18.71; 11. Sue Smith, Blackfoot, Idaho, 18.91; 12. Britany Fleck, Mandan, N.D., 19.06; 13. Jane Melby, Backus, Minn., 19.25; 14. Jill Moody, Letcher, S.D., 19.57; 15. Carlee Pierce, Stephenville, Texas, 23.98.
Bull riding: 1. Chandler Bownds, Lubbock, Texas, 91 points on Robinson Pro Rodeo’s RMEF Bugle, $17,885; 2. Wesley Silcox, Santaquin, Utah, 89.5, $14,135; 3. Jacob O’Mara, Prairieville, La., 86, $10,673; 4. Bobby Welsh, Gillette, Wyo., 83.5, $7,500; 5. Shane Proctor, Grand Coulee, Wash., 83, $4,615; 6. L.J. Jenkins, Porum, Okla., 82, $2,885; 7. (tie) J.W. Harris, Mullin, Texas; Trevor Kastner, Ardmore, Okla.; Clayton Foltyn, El Campo, Texas, Clayton Savage, Cheyenne, Wyo.; Tate Stratton, Kellyville, Okla.; Tyler Willis, Wheatland, Wyo.; Seth Glause, Cheyenne, Wyo.; Steve Woolsey, Payson, Utah, and Cody Whitney, Asher, Okla., NS.