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Driggers/Nogueira tie team roping world record

by Matt Naber | Dec 15, 2017

LAS VEGAS – Junior Nogueira was so excited to celebrate that he nearly fell off his horse. His jubilation came with good reason, as the heeler and his header, Kaleb Driggers, tied the team roping world record with a time of 3.3 seconds Friday night. 

The time tied them with Chad Masters and Jade Corkill, who also recorded their 3.3 at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo presented by Polaris RANGER in 2009, and Brock Hansen/Ryan Motes in Nacogdoches, Texas, in 2012.

“Man, that was great,” Nogueira said. “When I looked back at the time and saw 3.3, I said ‘Golly! We tied the arena/world record!’ When I went to celebrate, my horse got spooked or something. I couldn’t find the saddle horn. I just had the reins in my hand and I think he spun around three times. I tried to get a hold of him, but I didn’t. When I got up, everyone was standing up and they were ready to cheer because we tied the record.”

The win put Driggers and Nogueira, who entered the WNFR in the top spot in the world standings, back into the race for the world title – though they are ninth in the race for the average.

“We’re far down enough in the average that even if we end up pulling in the average check, it’s not going to be very good, maybe seventh or eighth at best,” Driggers said. “The last three or four nights, we’d been going for broke, and tonight it worked out for us. We had a good steer. We hadn’t really been drawing very good, a lot of the steers we had, people hadn’t even placed on them. Then tonight, we knew we had a really good steer and we were just going to be aggressive. They roped a great roping tonight, and we had to follow up.”

Driggers has $222,317, while Nogueira has $223,047.

“To have a chance to win it, I think a lot of stuff would have to go our way tomorrow, but we gave ourselves a chance, and that’s pretty much all we can do,” Driggers said.

Ryder Wright wins fourth go-round of 2017 Finals

Saddle bronc rider Ryder Wright looks like he might be a world champion at the age of 19.

The Milford, Utah, cowboy from the famed Wright family won Round 9 with 87 points on Korkow Rodeo’s Kitty Whistle, notching his fourth go-round victory through the first nine rounds at the 2017 WNFR.

A night after taking the lead in the saddle bronc riding for the first time, Wright upped his world standings total to $273,515 to remain No. 1. He also continues to lead in the race for the RAM Top Gun Award, having won $174,154 at this year’s Finals.

If Wright completes a qualified ride in Round 10 on Saturday, he would most likely clinch his first gold buckle.

“That’s crazy hearing that, and I’ll try not to think about it,” Wright said. “I’m just trying to have a better attitude toward everything. I got down on myself after having done so good in the first four rounds last year and then not in the last part. So, I’m just staying positive.”

In the world standings, he has a lead of more than $46,000. Wright is fourth in the average with 702.5 points on eight head. The run he’s on has him hoping to climb higher in the average.

“It helps a lot – I kind of messed up a bit in the second round and it took me out of the average, so I’m trying to make up for it,” Wright said. “I doubt I’ll get the average (title), but I’ll definitely go for the world.”

Benton/Campbell each win $42K in bull riding

Trey Benton III and rookie Boudreaux Campbell split first place in bull riding and each won $42,308 thanks to being the only riders to cover eight seconds.

Benton rode Rafter H Rodeo Livestock’s Nose Bender for 88 points, while Campbell scored the same on Stace Smith Pro Rodeo’s Reveloution to share the victory.

The win also has Benton in first place in the average with 530.5 points on six head. He is second in the world with $279,054 and trails only three-time defending world champion Sage Kimzey, who has $340,229. Kimzey is second in the average with 513.5 points on six head.

“I just knew I needed to stay on and do my job,” Benton said about seeing the other riders get bucked off.

Campbell, who qualified for the WNFR on the final day of the regular season, was happy to split it with Benton.

“If anything, I was wondering if I would be the only one, but I’m glad Trey did because he’s is one of my best buds,” said Campbell, 19. “We live nearby each other, and I have known him since I could walk, and he is like my big brother.”

Benton is in the hunt for the world title, but he knows there is work still to be done.

“Shoot, I don’t know, but I’ve got one more bull I got to handle,” he said.

Campbell is hoping to get another win on his way out of his first Finals experience.

“It’s everything to come in and ride that last bull and finish it off strong,” he said.

Sister carries Kinsel to another go-round win

For the third time in seven rounds, Hailey Kinsel rode her horse, Sister, to a 2017 Finals go-round victory.
Kinsel placed for the seventh time in nine rounds, winning in 13.43 seconds.

“Sister’s kind of like that,” Kinsel said. “She doesn’t always make the prettiest run ever, but she always shuts off the clock. I don’t really know how, but it’s really fun when I make a really good run because then we can be really fast. I had some mistakes in there. I mean, I felt like I had to work at that run a little bit, but she definitely clocked.”

Kinsel has won $146,654 at this year’s Finals, the second most among all of this year’s competitors.

“It’s absolutely thrilling,” Kinsel said. “Just like anybody would want to, you want to finish on a strong note. I did have some trouble in the middle there, so I’m really glad that I could salvage that and fix it and do better tonight.”

Tiany Schuster leads the barrel racing world standings with $285,339, while Nellie Miller is in first place in the average and third place overall with $241,229.

Hanchey ties down first win of ’17 Finals

Shane Hanchey got his first round win of the 2017 Finals in style.

Hanchey won the tie-down roping in 6.8 seconds, the fastest time of this year’s WNFR.

“It’s relieving to get this round win,” said the 2013 tie-down roping world champ. “Tonight was the first time I ran a calf I really loved. I tried to talk myself into a few calves this week, but tonight I didn’t have to talk myself into that one. I saw Marty (Yates) was 6.9 on that calf to win Round 6, and I knew I could be in the mix on her.”

The year Hanchey won the world title, he also won the average title in a record of 80.1 seconds, a record that still stands. This year, he’s sitting fourth in the average and fifth in the world.

“I’ve been riding Bam Bam here all week,” he said. “I like Simon (Cow, his other horse that was the PRCA/AQHA Horse of the Year) outside in the summer arena and big setups, and Bam Bam is my indoor horse. I rode Bam Bam at the last five rounds of last year’s NFR and honestly, I can’t fault my horse this week. It has been more me and what I have been running, but it is pretty cool to get the round win.”

Tuf Cooper leads the world standings with $247,406, while also sitting second in the average with a total time of 80 seconds on nine head.

Guenthner notches first Finals go-round win

Scott Guenthner tied the second fastest Round 9 time, winning the steer wrestling in 3.3 seconds to mark his first Finals go-round win.

Guenthner’s time was one-tenth of a second behind the Round 9 record. 

It was just the second time Guenthner has placed at the 2017 Finals. He previously tied for third in Round 1. His time on Friday tied for the fastest of this year’s Finals.

“This week was a little bit frustrating for me, but it feels great to get this win,” said Guenthner, from Provost, Alberta. “Now, I’m just going to go after it again in Round 10. I have nothing to lose and I would love to win again and get another ($26,000).”

This is the first year that Guenthner has qualified for the Finals, so needless to say he was ecstatic with the victory.

“I’m pretty pumped,” he said. “This was a very tough round of bulldogging, and it seemed like every guy was going faster. I had a steer that was a runner and I knew I would have to get a good start and I got a great start and the steer was good on the ground. I’m in awe that I won this round. This is really cool and something I will never, ever forget.”

Ty Erickson continues to lead the world standings with $235,767, but fell out of the average lead after recording a Round 9 time of 26.8 seconds. Tyler Pearson is second in the world and average standings, and is now in the driver’s seat for the world title, while Dakota Eldridge also has a decent chance sitting currently in fourth, but first in the average.

Brown wins bareback riding with 87.5 points

For Jake Brown, the 2017 WNFR had been less than stellar heading into Round 9.

But Brown built off his third-place finish in Round 8 to win Round 9 and cash for $26,231 in bareback riding, his first go-round win of these Finals.

Brown scored 87.5 points on Bar T Rodeo’s Ruby’s Girl to top the pack.

“The first couple nights were rough – I won a check, but not much – and it was kind of going slow,” said Brown, who placed for the third time this Finals. “The horses got me on the dirt a couple times. But the last two nights have gone good. Last night, I was 86 (points) and got third, now I was blessed to get 87.5 to get the win.”

Brown, of Amarillo, Texas, is in his third consecutive Finals. The win was his second career Finals round victory.

“I won one in 2015,” he said. “It feels just like it did winning the first one, like a dream come true, getting to take the victory lap. Just knowing that I get to go to the South Point and get up on stage and get that buckle is the best feeling in the world.”

World standings leader Tim O’Connell tied for fifth to up his 2017 Finals earnings to $102,231. He leads the world standings with $304,147, more than $90,000 ahead of his nearest competitor. He also leads in the average with 768 points on nine head.

Brazile continues hold on all-around 

Trevor Brazile is still in the lead by a good margin in the race for the all-around title.

Brazile has $319,337 in total earnings in 2017. He is also sitting in ninth in the average of the tie-down roping.

His brother-in-law, Tuf Cooper, is still second with $286,983. But Cooper is second in the average in tie-down roping with one round to go.

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