LAS VEGAS – Former Gillette College saddle bronc rider Cole Elshere of Faith, S.D., scored 67.5 on Thursday at the National Finals Rodeo at Thomas & Mack Center.
The former Pronghorn went into his first NFR ranked 13th in the world standings with $65,837. Defending world champion Taos Muncy of Corona, N.M., won with an 87 on Fire Lane. He’s second in the season standings with $118,998.
“That horse was real good and it took two jumps, and I got a pretty good mark-out on him,” Muncy said.
“After the first two jumps, he stayed underneath himself and was really an awesome horse that I’d like to get on every day.”
Jesse Wright of Milford, Utah, stayed in first at $145,760 by tying for second with brother Jake at 84.5. Jesse Wright rode Going South, while Jake was on Spring Blues. A third Wright brother, Cody, placed fourth with an 83.5 on Lori Darlin.
The big ride of the night came in the bulls. J.W. Harris wasn’t focused on sending any sort of message on the first night of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
He did anyway.
The three-time world champion bull rider came to the Thomas & Mack Center entrenched in one of the most intriguing battles – trailing long-time 2012 world standings leader and NFR rookie Cody Teel by a little more than $7,000 – but erased it and took over the world lead in front of 17,460 fans, winning the first round with a 90.5-point ride aboard Four Star Rodeo’s Stink Eye.
“I wouldn’t even call it a statement; I just come out here and do my job and let the secretaries and all those other people figure the rest of the stuff out,” the Mullin, Texas, cowboy said. “Any time you can ride for 90, it’s special. I don’t care if you’re at a little $1,000-added rodeo or here at the NFR. Usually if you’re 90 out here, you’re going to win the round.”
In tie-down roping, defending world champion Tuf Cooper of Decatur, Texas, took a big step in his bid to repeat by winning in 7.4 seconds. Cooper is second in the world standings with $142,679.
Justin Maass of Giddings, Texas, tops the list with $144,001. Maass was shut out in the round after failing to place among the top six.
In bareback, Wes Stevenson of Lubbock, Texas, won with an 87 on Freckled Doll. Kaycee Feild of Payson, Utah, the standings leader with $149,295, was fourth with an 84.5 on Short Fuse.
In steer wrestling, Casey Martin of Sulphur, La., won with a 3.4-second run. Dean Gorsuch of Gering, Neb., was second at 3.5. World leader Ethen Touvenell of Napa, Calif., followed in third in 3.6 to push his total to $109,591.
In team roping, header Kaleb Driggers of Albany, Ga., and heeler Jade Corkill of Fallon, Nev., tied with header Brock Hanson of Casa Grande, Ariz., and heeler Ryan Motes of Weatherford, Texas, at 4.7.
Header Trevor Brazile of Decatur, Texas, and heeler Patrick Smith of Lipan, Texas, remained in the world lead with $144,649 for Smith and $143,149 for Brazile by finishing third in 4.8. Driggers, who has earned $126,571, and Corkill, who has made $122,480, are the second-place team.
In barrel racing, Mary Walker of Ennis, Texas, in 13.75 to move up to second in the standings with $145,549
In all-around, defending world champion Brazile, who has won nine of the last 10 world all-around titles, extended his lead over runner-up Dent. Brazile has earned $258,873, while Dent has made $144,465.
National Finals Rodeo Results
At Thomas & Mack Center
1. Wes Stevenson, Lubbock, Texas, 87 points on J Bar J, Inc.’s Freckled Doll, $18,257. 2. Winn Ratliff, Leesville, La., 85.5, $14,429. 3. Casey Colletti, Pueblo, Colo., 85, $10,895. 4. Kaycee Feild, Payson, Utah, 84.5, $7,656. 5. Caleb Bennett, Morgan, Utah, 84, $4,712.
1. Casey Martin, Sulphur, La., 3.4 seconds, $18,257. 2. Dean Gorsuch, Gering, Neb., 3.5, $14,429. 3. Ethen Thouvenell, Napa, Calif., 3.6, $10,895. 4. Les Shepperson, Midwest, Wyo., 3.7, $7,656. Team Roping
1 (tie), Kaleb Driggers, Albany, Ga./Jade Corkill, Fallon, Nev.,and Brock Hanson, Casa Grande, Ariz./Ryan Motes, Weatherford, Texas, 4.7 seconds, $16,343 each. 3. Trevor Brazile, Decatur, Texas/Patrick Smith, Lipan, Texas, 4.8, $10,895.
Saddle Bronc Riding
1. Taos Muncy, Corona, N.M., 87 points on Andrews Rodeo’s Fire Lane, $18,257. 2 (tie), Jesse Wright, Milford, Utah, and Jake Wright, Milford, Utah, 84.5, $12,662 each. 4. Cody Wright, Milford, Utah, 83.5, $7,656. 5. Jacobs Crawley, College Station, Texas, 83, $4,712.
1. Tuf Cooper, Decatur, Texas, 7.4 seconds, $18,257. 2. Shane Hanchey, Sulphur, La., 7.6, $14,429. 3. Houston Hutto, Tomball, Texas, 8.1, $10,895. 4. Adam Gray, Seymour, Texas, 8.2, $7,656. 5. Ryan Jarrett, Comanche, Okla., 8.7, $4,712.
1. Mary Walker, Ennis, Texas, 13.75 seconds, $18,257. 2. Kelli Tolbert, Hooper, Utah, 13.77, $14,429. 3. Brittany Pozzi, Victoria, Texas, 13.86, $10,895.
1. J.W. Harris, Mullin, Texas, 90.5 points on Four Star Rodeo’s Stink Eye, $18,257. 2. Cody Whitney, Sayre, Okla., 86.5, $14,429. 3. Beau Schroeder, China, Texas, 83.0, $10,895. 4. Cody Teel, Kountze, Texas, 74.5, $7,656. 5. Trey Benton III, Rock Island, Texas, 73.5, $4,712.
6 (tie), Ardie Maier, Timber Lake, S.D.. Trevor Kastner, Ardmore, Okla.. Seth Glause, Cheyenne, Wyo..
Tate Stratton, Kellyville, Okla.. Cody Samora, Cortez, Colo.. Shane Proctor, Grand Coulee, Wash.. Clayton Savage, Casper, Wyo.. Kanin Asay, Powell, Wyo.. Tag Elliott, Thatcher, Utah, and Brett Stall, Detroit Lakes, Minn., NS.