Matt Sherwood is two-for-two. The guy has qualified for two Wrangler National Finals Rodeos and has skipped town with two gold buckles. They call that batting a thousand in baseball, and it translates to flat amazing in any professional sport.
Sherwood, who won his first world title in 2006, won the late-season tour finale in Omaha, Neb., both years and was also twice the regular-season leader heading into the NFR. Sherwood, who led the headers pack into the Finals in 2008 with a narrow thousand-dollar margin over Travis Tryan, had mixed emotions when comparing his two crowns. "Your first world championship is something nothing else will ever compare to," he said. "But to sit here with the guy I worked hard with all year long is much more enjoyable."
The last time I sat down with Sherwood in the players and coaches' red folding chairs along the sidelines of the University of Las Vegas Running Rebels' practice basketball court after round 10 at the Finals, he was distracted if not downright depressed, that his partner, Walt Woodard, was out putting the horses up after finishing a close second in the world championship race to Allen Bach. Western Justice took care of that a year later when Woodard and Bach's 2006 partner, Chad Masters, came back and won it all in 2007. "Randon and I will have fond memories about each other for the rest of our lives," said Sherwood, 39. "We get to share this."
Adams, who's 26 now, entered the NFR a little less than $5,000 back of Michael Jones, who heeled for Tryan in Vegas. In addition to winning the ninth round with a 3.7-second run, Sherwood and Adams placed second in rounds three, four and seven, and finished fourth in round 10 and the NFR average with 86.5 seconds on 10 steers. Randon roped or slipped legs in rounds one, two, five (Matt dallied on the knot on that one), six (Matt used a second loop after waving off his first one) and eight. With a total haul of $83,834, Sherwood and Adams were the second winningest team at NFR '08 behind average champs Trevor Brazile and Patrick Smith, who raked in $90,144 a man.
Trevor and Patrick roped 10 steers in 60.1 seconds, which is only one second behind the 59.1-second NFR record set by Jake Barnes and Clay O'Brien Cooper in 1994. Trevor and Patrick won round seven with a 3.9-second run and placed in five others. What's amazing is that they came within a second of Jake and Clay's record with a broken barrier on their ninth steer. Jake and Clay were flawless less one leg in 1994.
As long as I'm digressing from Matt and Randon to bring you more of the NFR team roping big picture, I also want to high five Travis Tryan and Michael Jones for tying the 3.5-second NFR and world team roping record in the eighth round, and Colter Todd and Cesar de la Cruz for closing out Colter's current competitive career with a 4.0-second round-winning bang in round 10. Then there was the feat of Garrett Tonozzi and Kinney Harrell winning the first two rounds and taking another victory lap in round five; two of the three in 3-second range (3.9 in round two and 3.6 in round five).