The excitement that surrounded the ninth round of the 2014 Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association’s Wrangler National Finals Rodeo was well under way even prior to the first horse being bucked out of the chutes inside the Thomas & Mack arena. As the nearly 18,000 rodeo fans sat on the edge of their seats they were treated to a pre-performance opening act from the one and only Charlie Daniels. Tonight was truly a night to remember as we were all able to witness this true country music legend play the strings off of his fiddle to set the mood for the entire performance on this rainy Friday evening here in Las Vegas.
The bareback riding took center stage once again immediately following the opening ceremonies and the iconic grand entry showcasing the top rodeo athletes in the world as they tipped their Resistols to the crowd and started preparing for their performance. Tonight the bareback riders looked pretty sore and beat up but, as always, put on an amazing show for the fans that watch the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. With the World Championship race coming down to tomorrow night they cowboys put fourth their best efforts to chase that gold belt buckle. Tonight it was Kaycee Feild that was able to win the round with a 85.50 point ride aboard J Bar J’s Dirty Rags. As the tenth round draws near the race to the end is just starting the heat up! Jason was able to catch up with him to see what he thought about his ride tonight and the predictions he has for the World Championship races.
Steer wrestling was, as it has been all week, one that everyone would be focused in on as the World title race is one of the closest it has ever been. The runs get faster and the starts get closer as every contestant is pushing forward trying to claim their share of the go round, average and World title monies that are still out and up for grabs. As the dust settled down on the arena floor it was Dakota Eldridge that did everything right to bring him home the ninth go round win and gave him a trip across the South Point Hotel and Casino stage tonight with a 3.3 second run. Jason caught up with him after his run to get his thoughts on the night, the World title race and the importance of having a great hazer on your team.
Team Roping was the next event in this ninth round of competition at the 2014 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and you could tell that every team was pushing themselves to the limit and trying to make a run at the barrier. Some fantastic runs were made again tonight but some teams were not able to finish the job which really opens up the average payout to most teams competing at this year’s finals. Tonight it was the team of Nick Sartain and Rich Skelton that laid down an amazing run by recording a 3.9 second time to win the ninth go round here inside the Thomas & Mack arena.
After the teams all got settled down it the team roping it was time to head to the other side for the arena for the classic rodeo event of Saddle Bronc Riding. After last night’s performance you could tell the cowboys were wearing pretty thin and are having to dig deep to give their best efforts to stay in the title and average hunts going into tomorrow night’s tenth and final performance. Tonight there were some astonishing rides made that lit the entire crowd inside the Thomas & Mack on fire. No one was able to beat the ride that Wade Sundell put together aboard Big Bend Rodeo’s Broken Camp that gave him the ninth go round win with a qualified 82.50 point ride.
The tie-down ropers were next to take the spot light on this electric Friday night in Las Vegas. After last night’s performance one would think that it would be hard to beat the excitement that these guys brought to the arena but we were all very happy and content with the performance put on, yet again, by the cowboys of the tie-down roping event. Over the past eight rounds we have witnessed some of our favorite personalities stepping up and winning go rounds or making exciting runs making the Thomas & Mack a very energized place and one that you want to be a part of. Tonight it was Cade Swor and Trevor Brazile that became the kings of the hill as they split the ninth go round with a time of 7.6 seconds and will head to the buckle presentation later this evening over at the South Point! Jason caught up with the two winners before the headed over to South Point for the go round buckle presentation!
The ladies of the cowgirl professional barrel racing were set to take to the arena following a short intermission to get the arena set and the barrels in place. Since it was the ninth performance and sponsored by RAM Rodeo the beautiful vehicles were proudly on display as the crowd sat anxiously for the pretty ladies on fast horses to begin. With winning times hitting that 13 second mark it was not far fetched that there may be a record lead change here tonight. Even though that was not the case the ladies did everything they could to make that happen. Tonight Trula Churchill was the top dog making a 13.90 second run to win the ninth go round and her share of the $19,000 she gets for winning. Jason had the chance to catch up with her following her go round win to talk about the run and how the ground has improved everyday and how thankful they are for that.
The seventh and final event of the ninth round would be non other than the bad boy sport of bull riding. Many people have been praying and patiently waiting for word on how J.W. Harris ended up after his horrible and scary hang up in last night’s eighth round of the 2014 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. You could hear the sighs of relief as they announced his name over the sound system and to find out he was not only competing but escaped serious injury just 24 short hours ago. Tonight no one could get past Sage Kimzey after he made a qualified ride to the tune of 87.50 points aboard Stace Smith Pro Rodeo’s Foolish Man.
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