December 8, 2010 -- J. W. Harris, of Mullin, Texas, won the bull riding for the third straight night at the 2010 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and for the fourth time in seven rounds, and Luke Branquinho, Los Alamos, Calif., won for the third time - and second in a row - in front of 17,132 at the Thomas & Mack Center. Both cowboys took over the top spots in their respective events thanks to their Round 7 victories at the $5.875 million rodeo.
Harris' win came thanks to a rodeo-best 94.5-point ride aboard Frontier Rodeo's Smoke Screen, and he is the only bull rider to have covered six bulls at this year's Finals. Wrangler NFR rookie Tyler Smith was second in Round 7 with a score of 89 points.
He has now earned $92,644 - the second most of any of the 119 contestants - in Las Vegas this year and is riding high.
"It's the highest score I've had at the Finals and third-highest I've ever been," said Harris, who leads the Wrangler NFR average by 117.5 points over Cody Whitney. "I've had a good Finals, but I just have to keep moving forward. I've come here to win the gold buckle. That's what I'm after."
Harris has $180,447 in total season earnings, $15,939 ahead of 2007 World Champion Wesley Silcox, who led the world standings through Round 6.
Branquinho, of Los Alamos, Calif., took over the No.1 spot in the PRCA World Standings in the process. Branquinho, who won world titles in 2004 and 2008, won Round 7 with a rodeo-best 3.3-second run, one-tenth of a second faster than Trevor Knowles and two-tenths of a second faster than Cody Cassidy.
Header JoJo LeMond has already decided not to compete full-time in 2011 to spend more time with his family. In the mean time, though, he's helping his partner Cory Petska fight for a world title.
LeMond, of Andrews, Texas, and Petska, of Marana, Ariz., won the team roping at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo for the second consecutive night, taking Round 6 in 3.9 seconds. The team of Brady Tryan and Jake Long, who won the fourth round, were second in 4.0 seconds.
LeMond is eighth in the world standings among headers, but the win moved Petska all the way to second place. He trails top-ranked heeler Travis Graves by just $613 heading into Round 7 after Graves and his world standings-leading partner Clay Tryan had a no-time in Round 6.
He also won a share of first place in Round 2 and took Round 6. Branquinho now leads the PRCA World Standings with $143,667 after earning an event-best $53,525, while Knowles moved from fifth to second with $130,035 thanks to his runner-up finish.
Round 7 was an exciting one in the steer wrestling, with the lead changing three times in the last four runs. Branquinho was last to nod his head, and he made the most of it.
"It was really exciting, especially when you're last out and 3.4 is winning the round," Branquinho said. "I wasn't trying to beat 3.4; I was just trying to back in there and make a good run. Luckily for me, I had the steer they won the first and fourth rounds on, so I knew I had a chance. But, at this stage, I was just trying to get a good start and make a good run."
Wednesday night was a good time to be from Louisiana, as Heflin, La., brothers Cody and Heith DeMoss shared the saddle bronc riding win and Sulphur, La., tie-down roper Shane Hanchey won the tie-down roping.
Cody and Heith DeMoss had matching 87.5-point rides en route to the first-place tie. Cody DeMoss, the elder of the two, rode Burch Rodeo's Friendly Fire to his $15,676 check, while Heith DeMoss earned the same check for his mark on Diamond G Rodeo's Marla's Rose.
"Shoot, battling with this son-of-a-gun day in and day out, it's good to finally to tie him," said Heith DeMoss, who crossed the $100,000 mark in season earnings ($112,817) thanks to the tie for the win. "And to do it at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo is heck of a feat. I'm glad to be here with him. It's an awesome deal."
It was Heith DeMoss' third check of the 2010 Wrangler NFR, while his older brother has now cashed in four rounds.
"Winning the round here is amazing anyway, because you beat the Top 15 in the world, but to tie your brother for the round is so cool," said Cody DeMoss, who is third in the Wrangler NFR average standings. "We have dreamed about something like this growing up and in our whole careers. We always both want to win it, but to split it with my brother is beyond my wildest dreams."
The saddle bronc riding has developed into a two-man race between Wade Sundell and 2008 World Champion Cody Wright. Wright leads the world with $174,989 and leads the Wrangler NFR average with 597 points on seven head, and Sundell is right on his heels with $171,854 and a second-place ranking in the average with 594.
Wrangler NFR rookie Hanchey won the tie-down roping with a 7.6-second run, five-tenths of a second ahead of two-time World Champion Tie-Down Roper Trevor Brazile. It was Hanchey's first round win and fourth check of the rodeo thus far, and he stands sixth in the world and fourth in the Wrangler NFR average standings.
Hanchey said he had a good feeling about his run, especially after seeing the DeMoss brothers take their victory lap.
"When they said 8.1, I said, 'This is my round,'" said Hanchey, of Sulphur, La. "I had the calf to do it - Trevor had won the round on that calf before - so I knew it was for mine for the taking. When the DeMoss brothers split the bronc riding, that was God telling me, 'This is your night.'"
Brazile's runner-up finish pushed his lead in the tie-down roping world standings over his brother-in-law Tuf Cooper to more than $25,000, and he stands third in the Wrangler NFR average. Cooper is second in the average, which is led by seven-time World Champion Tie-Down Roper Fred Whitfield, who is fifth in the world standings.
In the bareback riding, three-time and reigning World Champion Bobby Mote broke through for a round victory after spurring Classic Pro Rodeo's Cimmaron for 85.5 points. That score left the Culver, Ore., cowboy a half-point ahead of Clint Cannon and added another $17,512 to his bottom line.
Mote, who finished second in the first two rounds, was happy to get along so well with a horse that was new to him.
"I had a horse I'd never seen or heard of before, and I was kind of glad because a lot of the ones I've had this week that haven't been as good were ones I'd both seen and heard of. So, having one I didn't know, I really didn't have much of a game plan. I just wanted to go make a good ride, and the horse was really good."
The final three rounds in the bareback riding will be a shootout, as world standings leader Steven Dent is only $32,097 ahead of Mote, who is fifth in the world. Mote is tied for second in the Wrangler NFR average, while Dent is tied for sixth.
Team roping was a tight battle in Round 7, with seven-tenths of a second separating first from sixth place. The team of Brady Tryan and Jake Long won their second round of the 10-day event with a 3.9-second run, one-tenth of a second ahead of three teams: Trevor Brazile/Patrick Smith, Keven Daniel/Caleb Twisselman and Ty Blasingame/Cody Hintz.
"It's a blast," Tryan said of roping at his first Wrangler NFR. "Our goal was to come here and win as much as we could. We've already done better than we could have counted on, being two first-timers here. We're just going to stick with the plan to win as much as we can every night, and see where it takes us."
Tryan and Long may be Wrangler NFR rookies, but they are in the world-title hunt, standing fifth in the world and third in the Wrangler NFR average.
"We're just having a great time out here," Long said. "It's been better than we could have expected. It's been like a dream. We didn't think we liked the steer we had tonight. They were no-time on him the first two times he went. He tries to run to the right out of the chute. We talked about it before the rodeo and decided I would be really aggressive about hazing him to try to keep him running straight."
The barrel racing went to two-time World Champion Sherry Cervi, who stopped the clock in 13.70 seconds to finish three-tenths of a second quicker than 2008 World Champion Lindsay Sears. Lisa Lockhart - who has earned an event-best $68,165 after placing in six of the first seven rounds - finished third in the round in 13.93 seconds.
"It's been a really great barrel racing this week," said Cervi, who is riding her 8-year-old Palomino mare Stingray. "In barrel racing, it's all about your horse, and I'm grateful to be able to ride her. At any time, anybody can win a round here. There's pressure because I want to win $17,000 ($17,512) every night. I want to win as much money as I can."
Cervi's $238,602 in earnings this season is $84,968 shy of Sears' single-season earnings record from 2008 with three rounds and the average payout remaining.
Cervi, who also won Round 3, has placed in five rounds and earned $58,750 in Las Vegas thus far.
RAM TOP GUN AWARD UPDATE:: A tie for second with Patrick Smith in the team roping and a second-place finish in the tie-down roping put another $24,385 in Brazile's pocket and moved him back atop the Ram Top Gun Award standings with $97,964. The Ram Top Gun Award recognizes the competitor who wins the most money during the 10-day event, and the winner gets a Ram truck, a custom buckle from Montana Silversmiths and a one-of-a-kind Ram Truck Top Gun-branded rifle from Commemorative Firearms. After winning his fourth round of this year's Wrangler NFR, Harris stayed close to Brazile and has $92,644 in earnings.
WALKING WOUNDED: Not surprisingly after seven rounds at the Wrangler NFR, the Justin Sportsmedicine Injury Report is full of cowboys with various ailments and injuries. For a complete injury report, log on to ProRodeo.com
COMPLETE ROUND 7 RESULTS AND AVERAGE STANDINGS
Bareback riding:1. Bobby Mote, Culver, Ore., 85.5 points on Classic Pro Rodeo's Cimmaron, $17,512; 2. Clint Cannon, Waller, Texas, 85, $13,840; 3. Jason Havens, Prineville, Ore., 84.5, $10,451; 4. Dusty LaValley, Bezanson, Alberta, 83.5, $7,344; 5. Justin McDaniel, Porum, Okla., 82, $4,519; 6. (tie) Steven Peebles, Redmond, Ore.; Kaycee Feild, Payson, Utah, and D.V. Fennell, Neosho, Mo., 81.0, $942 each; 9. Matt Bright, Azle, Texas, 80.5; 10. Kelly Timberman, Mills, Wyo., 80; 11. Steven Dent, Mullen, Neb., 77.5; 12. Joe Gunderson, Agar, S.D., 76; 13. Will Lowe, Canyon, Texas, 71; 14. Wes Stevenson, Lubbock, Texas, 69; 15. Ryan Gray, Cheney, Wash., out. Average: 1. Justin McDaniel, 586 points on seven head; 2. (tie) Bobby Mote and Kelly Timberman, 575.5; 4. Dusty LaValley, 572; 5. Clint Cannon, 570; 6. (tie) Steven Dent, Mullen, Neb., and Jason Havens, Prineville, Ore., 568.5; 8. (tie) Will Lowe and Joe Gunderson, 561.5; 10. Wes Stevenson, 561; 11. Steven Peebles, 560.5; 12. Kaycee Feild, 502 on six; 13. D.V. Fennell, 465; 14. Matt Bright, 405.5 on five; 15. Ryan Gray, 76.5 on one.
Steer wrestling:1. Luke Branquinho, Los Alamos, Calif., 3.3 seconds, $17,512; 2. Trevor Knowles, Mount Vernon, Ore., 3.4, $13,840; 3. Cody Cassidy, Donalda, Alberta, 3.5, $10,451; 4. Dean Gorsuch, Gering, Neb., 3.7, $7,344; 5. (tie) Ethen Thouvenell, Napa, Calif., and Nick Guy, Sparta, Wis., 4.1, $3,672 each; 7. Jule Hazen, Ashland, Kan., 4.2; 8. Kyle Hughes, Olney Springs, Colo., 4.3; 9. Billy Bugenig, Ferndale, Calif., 4.5; 10. Josh Peek, Pueblo, Colo., 4.6; 11. Curtis Cassidy, Donalda, Alberta, 4.8; 12. (tie) Matt Reeves, Cross Plains, Texas, and Wade Sumpter, Fowler, Colo., 6.5; 14. Todd Suhn, Hermosa, S.D., 13.4; 15. Dane Hanna, Berthold, N.D., NT. Average:: 1. Billy Bugenig, 31.4 seconds on seven head; 2. Dean Gorsuch, 33.0; 3. Cody Cassidy, 36.4; 4. Luke Branquinho, 39.0; 5. Nick Guy, 45.5; 6. Trevor Knowles, 46.7; 7. Todd Suhn, 58.6; 8. Ethen Thouvenell, 26.0 on six; 9. Dane Hanna, 28.0; 10. Matt Reeves, 33.6; 11. Wade Sumpter, 39.2; 12. Kyle Hughes, 25.6 on five; 13. Josh Peek, 26.5; 14. Curtis Cassidy, 18.6 on four; 15. Jule Hazen, 34.7.
Team roping: 1. Brady Tryan, Huntley, Mont./Jake Long, Coffeyville, Kan., 3.9 seconds, $17,512 each; 2. (tie) Trevor Brazile, Decatur, Texas/Patrick Smith, Midland, Texas; Ty Blasingame, Ramah, Colo./Cody Hintz, Spring Creek, Nev., and Keven Daniel, Franklin, Tenn./Caleb Twisselman, Santa Margarita, Calif., 4.0, $10,545 each; 5. Travis Tryan, Billings, Mont./Rich Skelton, Llano, Texas, 4.3, $4,519; 6. Clay Tryan, Billings, Mont./Travis Graves, Jay, Okla., 4.6, $2,825; 7. Turtle Powell, Stephenville, Texas/Broc Cresta, Santa Rosa, Calif., 4.8; 8. Luke Brown, Rock Hill, S.C./Martin Lucero, Stephenville, Texas, 5.2; 9. Colby Lovell, Madisonville, Texas/Kory Koontz, Sudan, Texas, 14.0; 10. (tie) Chad Masters, Clarksville, Tenn./Jade Corkill, Fallon, Nev.; Charly Crawford, Prineville, Ore./Russell Cardoza, Terrebonne, Ore.; Britt Williams, Hammond, Mont./Bobby Harris, Gillette, Wyo.; Derrick Begay, Seba Dalkai, Ariz./Cesar de la Cruz, Tucson, Ariz.; JoJo LeMond, Andrews, Texas/Cory Petska, Marana, Ariz., and Nick Sartain, Yukon, Okla./Kollin VonAhn, Durant, Okla., NT. Average: 1. Luke Brown/Martin Lucero, 43.5 seconds on seven head; 2. Trevor Brazile/Patrick Smith, 25.4 on six; 3. Brady Tryan/Jake Long, 34.4; 4. Turtle Powell/Broc Cresta, 35.9; 5. Clay Tryan/Travis Graves, 39.9; 6. Charly Crawford/Russell Cardoza, 41.2; 7. Keven Daniel/Caleb Twisselman, 41.8; 8. Chad Masters/Jade Corkill, 45.8; 9. JoJo LeMond/Cory Petska, 34.6 on five; 10. Derrick Begay/Cesar de la Cruz, 27.1 on four; 11. Ty Blasingame/Cody Hintz, 32.1; 12. Travis Tryan/Rich Skelton, 12.2 on three; 13. Britt Williams/Bobby Harris, 19.0; 14. Colby Lovell/Kory Koontz, 27.5; 15. Nick Sartain/Kollin VonAhn, 29.7 on two.
Saddle bronc riding:: 1. (tie) Heith DeMoss, Heflin, La., on Diamond G Rodeo's Marla's Rose, and Cody DeMoss, Heflin, La., on Burch Rodeo's Friendly Fire, 87.5 points $15,676 each; 3. Wade Sundell, Boxholm, Iowa, 87, $10,451; 4. Cody Wright, Milford, Utah, 86, $7,344; 5. Bradley Harter, Weatherford, Texas, 83.0, $4,519; 6. (tie) Cort Scheer, Elsmere, Neb., and Sam Spreadborough, Snyder, Texas, 82, $1,412 each; 8. Shaun Stroh, Dickinson, N.D., 80.5; 9. Jesse Wright, Millford, Utah, 79.5; 10. Taos Muncy, Corona, N.M., 79.0; 11. Jeff Willert, Belvidere, S.D., 78.5; 12. J.J. Elshere, Quinn, S.D., 77.5; 13. Scott Miller, Boise, Idaho, 75; 14. (tie) Jesse Kruse, Great Falls, Mont.; Rod Hay, Wildwood, Alberta, and Dustin Flundra, Pincher Creek, Alberta, NS. Average: 1. Cody Wright, 597 points on seven head; 2. Wade Sundell, 594; 3. Cody DeMoss, Heflin, La., 574.5; 4. J.J. Elshere, Quinn, S.D., 555.5; 5. Jesse Wright, Millford, Utah, 508.5 on six; 6. Cort Scheer, Elsmere, Neb., 489.5; 7. Taos Muncy, Corona, N.M., 483.5; 8. Shaun Stroh, Dickinson, N.D., 478.5; 9. Dustin Flundra, Pincher Creek, Alberta, 475.5; 10. Jeff Willert, Belvidere, S.D., 474.5; 11. Scott Miller, Boise, Idaho, 471; 12. Heith DeMoss, Heflin, La., 413 on five; 13. Jesse Kruse, Great Falls, Mont., 401; 14. Bradley Harter, Weatherford, Texas, 393.0; 15. Sam Spreadborough, Snyder, Texas, 235.5 on three.
Tie-down roping: 1. Shane Hanchey, Sulphur, La., 7.6 seconds, $17,512; 2. Trevor Brazile, Decatur, Texas, 8.1, $13,840; 3. (tie) Tuf Cooper, Decatur, Texas, and Tyson Durfey, Colbert, Wash., 8.5, $8,897; 5. Fred Whitfield, Hockley, Texas, 8.9, $4,519; 6. (tie) Jerome Schneeberger, Ponca City, Okla., and Scott Kormos, Teague, Texas, 9.3, $1,412 each; 8. Jerrad Hofstetter, Portales, N.M., 9.4; 9. Clif Cooper, Decatur, Texas, 10.7; 10. Trent Creager, Stillwater, Okla., 11.6; 11. Joseph Parsons, Marana, Ariz., 21.2; 12. (tie) Ryan Jarrett, Summerville, Ga.; Stran Smith, Childress, Texas; Cody Ohl, Hico, Texas, and Clint Cooper, Decatur, Texas, NT. Average: 1. Fred Whitfield, 58.2 seconds on seven head; 2. Tuf Cooper, 59.4; 3. Trevor Brazile, 62.9; 4. Shane Hanchey, 63.8; 5. Trent Creager, 70.4; 6. Scott Kormos, 79.6; 7. Jerome Schneeberger, 83.3; 8. Tyson Durfey, 83.4; 9. Joseph Parsons, 88.3; 10. Clif Cooper, 61.2 on six; 11. Cody Ohl, 65.9; 12. Clint Cooper, 95.6; 13. Jerrad Hofstetter, 41.8 on five; 14. Ryan Jarrett, 43.6; 15. Stran Smith, 50.2.
Barrel racing: 1. Sherry Cervi, Marana, Ariz., 13.70 seconds, $17,512; 2. Lindsay Sears, Nanton, Alberta, 13.73, $13,840; 3. Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, S.D., 13.93, $10,451; 4. Christina Richman, Glendora, Calif., 13.95, $7,344; 5. Brittany Pozzi, Victoria, Texas, 13.96, $4,519; 6. Sydni Blanchard, Albuquerque, N.M., 14.01, $2,825; 7. Kelli Tolbert, Hooper, Utah, 14.04; 8. Brenda Mays, Terrebonne, Ore., 14.12; 9. Jill Moody, Letcher, S.D., 14.19; 10. Benette Barrington, Lubbock, Texas, 14.31; 11. Sherrylynn Johnson, Henryetta, Okla., 14.83; 12. Jeanne Anderson, White City, Kan., 18.83; 13. Angie Meadors, Blanchard, Okla., 19.47; 14.Nellie Williams, Cottonwood, Calif., 20.00; 15. Tana Poppino, Big Cabin, Okla., NT. Average: 1. Jill Moody, 97.04 seconds on seven runs; 2. Lisa Lockhart, 97.12; 3. Sherry Cervi, 97.19; 4. Sydni Blanchard, 102.53; 5. Christina Richman, 103.27; 6. Brittany Pozzi, 103.85; 7. Lindsay Sears, 106.90; 8. Kelli Tolbert, 107.20; 9. Brenda Mays, 107.62; 10. Benette Barrington, 108.33; 11. SherryLynn Johnson, 108.78; 12. Nellie Williams, 109.09; 13. Jeanne Anderson, 118.60; 14. Angie Meadors, 122.87; 15. Tana Poppino, 75.10 seconds on five runs.
Bull riding:1. J.W. Harris, 94.5 points on Frontier Rodeo's Smoke Screen, $17,512; 2. Tyler Smith, 89, $13,840; 3. Bobby Welsh, 86.5, $10,451; 4. Shawn Hogg, 84.5, $7,344; 5. Corey Navarre, 60.0, $4,519; no other qualified rides. Average: 1. J.W. Harris, 538.5 points on six head; 2. Cody Whitney, 421 points on five head; 3. Kanin Asay, 344 points on four head; 4. Clayton Williams, 340; 5. Corey Navarre, 315; 6. Bobby Welsh, 258.5 points on three head; 7. Wesley Silcox, 254.5; 8. Dustin Elliott, 240; 9. D.J. Domangue, 176 points on two head; 10. Shawn Hogg, 170; 11. Tyler Smith, 169.5; 12. Chad Denton, 162.5; 13. Steve Woolsey, 86 points on one head; 14. Seth Glause, 85; 15. Ardie Maier, 80.