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Rogers and Petska climb into world lead in team roping

LAS VEGAS – Team ropers Erich Rogers and Cory Petska tried to remain consistent throughout the first four rounds of the Wrangler Nationals Final Rodeo presented by Polaris RANGER.

On Monday night, they punctuated that consistent run by tying for first place in the team roping competition with Clay Tryan and Jade Corkill in 3.9 seconds at the Thomas & Mack Center.

The win moved Rogers into first place in the team roping header standings and Petska into the same spot in the team roping heeler standings, the first changing of leaders in the WEATHER GUARD® PRCA World Standings at the 2017 WNFR.

“Good horses and drawing good steers,” Rogers said. “That’s what we do. That’s what Cory and my run is. We make good runs and we try to make sure we don’t make any mistakes, so that’s how we like to do it.”

For Tryan and Corkill, it was their first time placing this WNFR.

“It always feels good to get off the schneid,” Tryan said. “When you win here, if you can win first, it adds up, so I feel pretty good now. My roping feels a little bit better, I was a little off at the beginning of the week, but the last two I turned ’em good.”

Tryan and Corkill knew to push their slow start aside and refocus.

“Everything happens so fast here,” Corkill said. “You’re kind of in that mode either way. Whether you win the average or not, there’s too much money here not to try to win something.”

Rogers and Petska are trying to keep roping like they do at any rodeo.

“We make that run all the time,” Petska said. “Here, anywhere else we go, we pretty much have our run and we stick to it no matter where we’re at or what the setting is. We’re comfortable doing it and it makes it what’s easiest for us.”

Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira, who entered the WNFR in first, are both second place in their respective events.

Sterling Crawley notches first WNFR round win

In four-plus trips to the WNFR, Sterling Crawley had yet to win a round.
He snapped that streak in Round 5 on Monday night.

Crawley scored 89 points on four-time Saddle Bronc of the Year award-winner Frontier Rodeo’s Medicine Woman.

The score was Crawley’s highest of his 35 rides at the WNFR.

“I drew really good and stuck to the basics and kept it simple – just let my mark-out come instead of hanging and then lifting on my rein,” he said, “and she wants your feet in the seat so it’s all the stuff you go over the first couple days of rodeo school.”

For Crawley, the win carried a little extra meaning.

“It’s just awesome, but it’s even cooler that my brother (Jacobs) won this round on this horse last year,” Sterling Crawley said. “We agreed on what it was, and to not make it complicated out here.”

Sterling Crawley is sitting third in the average and seventh in the world standings. 

“I was just happy the way it went with the history we had (with Medicine Woman), and tomorrow will be another horse and another story, and I’ll try to do my best on each one.”

Jacobs Crawley continues to lead the field in the world standings with $220,158.

Kimzey cashes in with 89-point bull ride

After seeing just three bull riders cover a night earlier and earn some big checks, three-time defending World Champion Sage Kimzey got right back into the action.

Kimzey, on the final bull ride of the night, scored 89 points on Beutler and Son Rodeo’s Record Rack’s Shootin’ Stars.

“Each year is different because there’s the same trials and tribulations,” Kimzey said. “Round 4 was rough, but getting the win tonight stretches the lead a bit and maybe I’ll get some sleep tonight. It’s great bulls, great guys and a ton of money up for grabs – so you’ve got to do your job when you put your hand in your rope.”

Kimzey netted $27,077 after only five riders placed. The win gives him $318,652 and has him in the lead of his closest competitor (Garrett Smith) by more than $60,000.
Kimzey watched Cole Melancon ride Rafter G Rodeo’s Johnny Cash for 86.5 points on the second ride of the round. It looked like it might hold up until Kimzey climbed on board.

“Cole (Melancon) was 86.5, and coming down to the last few guys the pressure starts building, but you have to block it out because you are getting on an 1,800-pound athlete,” Kimzey said. “There’s no gimmes in bull riding, so just block it out and compete to the best of your ability.”

Kimzey knows he’s not out of the woods yet. 

“I’m feeling good, but I feel bad that Garrett (Smith) got hurt,” Kimzey said. “I know he’s not at 100 percent, it’s not good for him or the sport of bull riding, but there’s a bunch of dark horses behind him like Trey (Benton III) and Ty (Wallace) and they are all riding good and will keep riding good.”

WNFR rookie Mason Clements wins first round win

Bareback rider Mason Clements is at the WNFR for the first time. The 25-year-old Utah cowboy who grew up in Las Vegas had dreamed of competing in the Thomas & Mack. 

Not only has that dream become reality, but now Clements has his first round victory.
Clements rode Korkow Rodeos’ Onion Ring for 88.5 points, winning Round 5 and a check for $26,231.

“Man, I’ve been dreaming of that, replaying every scenario over in my head just to be at the Thomas & Mack and making sure I’ve got everything perfect – exactly the way I want to ride, exactly the way I need to ride,” Clements said. “There’s a lot going on. You can’t let your nerves and your fears get you when you get to this point. … Seriously, when I asked my buddies and friends, ‘What’s it like to get to the NFR – from world champions to multiple qualifiers – they said, ‘It’s indescribable.’ I have that indescribable feeling now. It’s the coolest feeling right now.”

With the win, Clements has upped his season earnings to $135,672, putting him ninth in the world standings.

World standings leader Tim O’Connell is atop the standings with $271,570.

Steer wrestler Milan nabs second round win of 2017

After not winning a round in 2015 – the last time he reached the WNFR – Tanner Milan doubled his steer wrestling round wins in Round 5.

Milan won the steer wrestling competition in the fifth round in 3.8 seconds, giving him $62,462 at the 2017 WNFR.

“In 2015, I didn’t win a round when I was here at the NFR, so this feels absolutely awesome,” said the Canadian cowboy. “I’ve won a crazy amount of money here, and I can’t have a better feeling than I’m feeling right now.”

Milan came into the WNFR in eighth place, but has climbed to fourth in the world standings with $146,535.

“I can’t back off at all,” Milan said. “I have to keep taking a real good start at the barrier and try and catch up as fast as I can and throw them down as fast as I can.”

After the draw was posted Monday morning, Milan knew he would have a chance to win a check because the steer he drew was the same one Tyler Pearson had wrestled in 4.0 seconds in Round 2. 

“I was really happy with that draw,” Milan said. “Tyler Pearson made a really good run on that steer and the steer didn’t run quite as hard as some of them in the pen, and I knew if I could get the start I would catch up quick and give myself some time to get one thrown down.”

Standings leader Ty Erickson is still out front after his fifth-place finish. He’s holding the lead for the world title with $209,537.

It’s lucky No. 7 for Yates

Marty Yates won six rounds over the course of his first three WNFR trips, but had yet to win through the first four rounds of the 2017 WNFR.

He thought his luck might change on Monday. His premonition was right. 
Yates won Round 5 of the tie-down roping in 7.0 seconds.

“You come to Vegas and you can have some bad luck, but if you stick to what you know how to do, it will all turn out good,” Yates said. “I was a little down about it (not winning a round before Monday night), but I knew I had a really good calf tonight that he (Trevor Brazile) won Round 2 with, and things turned around for me.”

Yates turned to a familiar horse to ride at this WNFR.

“I’m riding Buster,” the Texas cowboy said. “This is the horse I rode here last year, and he worked great tonight. The best part about my run was the start that I got. They won a round on that calf, but she was known to jump at you when you got to her, and I got a great start at her and got her to come around, and she was a little easier for me to flank when I got to her.”

He also tried something a little different in Round 5.

“I wanted to come out here this year and get a check in the average, and I backed off the first couple of nights and I came out tonight and I knew I made a good run,” Yates said. “I got a great start, and when you get a good start, it ends up good for you.”

As he’s been since the end of the regular season, Tuf Cooper is still at the top of the tie-down roping standings, increasing his 2017 total to $226,675 after placing second Monday.

Conrado, Lockhart split barrel racing title

Ivy Conrado shared the spotlight on Monday. She was ecstatic to do that with one of her barrel racing heroes.

Conrado and Lisa Lockhart split the Round 5 win, as both finished in 16.59 seconds.
“I never would have dreamed I’d be back here (as a round winner) with Lisa Lockhart,” Conrado said. “She’s everybody’s hero. I don’t even know what to say, I’m so excited.”

Lockhart and Conrado each took home $23,481. Both of them are in the top five in the aggregate standings, with Conrado sitting second and Lockhart fourth.

“We were definitely trying to capitalize that we were on the top of the ground,” Lockhart said. “Louie has gotten stronger and stronger all week, and that is what he has done in the past. So, I was trying not to panic earlier in the week, so we just stuck with it and had faith that it was going to get stronger, and he finally has.”

Tiany Schuster is still sitting at the top of the standings with $260,378.

Hailey Kinsel finished third to cash a check for $15,654. The money moved Kinsel into first place in the race for the RAM Top Gun Award.

Cooper cuts into Brazile’s all-around lead

The battle between brothers-in-law continues.

By taking second place in tie-down roping, Tuf Cooper earned $20,731 to inch closer to Trevor Brazile in the race to become the 2017 all-around cowboy.

Brazile is still in the lead with $313,837. Cooper is second with $266,253.

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