J.R. Vezain, of Cowley, competes in this summer’s Sheridan-Wyo-Rodeo in July at the fairgrounds. Vezain is one of four Wyoming cowboys on the 2013 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo competitors list. The event begins Thursday in Vegas, lasting until Dec. 14. (The Sheridan Press/Brad Estes)J.R. Vezain, of Cowley, competes in this summer’s Sheridan-Wyo-Rodeo in July at the fairgrounds. Vezain is one of four Wyoming cowboys on the 2013 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo competitors list. The event begins Thursday in Vegas, lasting until Dec. 14. (The Sheridan Press/Brad Estes)

Wrangler National Finals Rodeo starts Thursday

LAS VEGAS — The Thomas and Mack Center on the University of Nevada Las Vegas campus has made a transition from a wood floor to a dirt arena to host the richest 10 days in the sport of rodeo.

For the past 28 years, Las Vegas has played host to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) in the arena that normally is used for UNLV basketball. Rodeo competition starts on Thursday and continues through Dec. 14. When it is all said and done, nine world champions will be crowned and $6.25 million in prize money will have been awarded.

Competition features the best contestants from the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and Women’s Professional Rodeo Association along with the best animal athletes. Events in the PRCA include bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping (heading and heeling), saddle bronc riding, and tie-down roping. The barrel racing is sanctioned by the WPRA. Additionally, the most prestigious title in rodeo, World Champion All-Around Cowboy, will be awarded.

Trevor Brazile, from Decatur, Texas, is in the lead in that category and is expected to win his 11th all around world championship. This would also be Brazile’s 19th world title, giving him another PRCA record. Brazile equaled Guy Allen’s previous record of 18 when he won the world title in steer roping in November.

Allen’s buckles all came in that event where Brazile’s have been spread across multiple events. Brazile is competing in tie-down roping and team roping at the NFR.

To compete at the WNFR contestants had to be among the top 15 in the world standings. They traveled across the United States paying their own entry fees and expenses hoping to earn enough money to be among the elite athletes that advance to rodeo’s championship event. The WNFR has seen continued growth in prize money and fan support since it moved to Las Vegas. Each contestant will compete in 10 individual rounds which will pay the winner $18,630.

On Dec. 14 their total scores and times will be added together for overall (average) placings. First place in that category will win $47,776 and a saddle as the WNFR championship.

World champions are determined by adding a contestant’s WNFR and regular season earnings together.

Those champions have the esteemed honor of wearing the traditional gold buckle signifying they are the world’s best in the sport of rodeo.

2013 Wrangler National Finals
Competitors list
Bareback Riding
1 Bobby Mote, Culver, Ore. $126,194
2 Kaycee Feild, Payson, Utah 120,375
3 Will Lowe, Canyon, Texas 115,045
4 Ryan Gray, Cheney, Wash. 108,287
5 Wes Stevenson, Lubbock, Texas 88,409
6 J.R. Vezain, Cowley, Wyo. 84,729
7 Ty Breuer, Mandan, N.D. 84,321
8 Steven Peebles, Redmond, Ore. 81,800
9 Austin Foss, Terrebonne, Ore. 77,936
10 Steven Dent, Mullen, Neb. 75,116
11 Jessy Davis, Power, Mont. 74,997
12 Clint Cannon, Waller, Texas 72,882
13 Casey Colletti, Pueblo, Colo. 71,534
14 Jared Smith, Cross Plains, Texas 68,026
15 Caleb Bennett, Morgan, Utah 67,497
Steer Wrestling
1 Casey Martin, Sulphur, La. $108,938
2 Trevor Knowles, Mount Vernon, Ore. 101,528
3 Matt Reeves, Cross Plains, Texas 90,366
4 Jason Miller, Lance Creek, Wyo. 74,070
5 Jule Hazen, Ashland, Kan. 69,266
6 K.C. Jones, Decatur, Texas 69,207
7 Hunter Cure, Holliday, Texas 65,007
8 Dean Gorsuch, Gering, Neb. 64,351
9 Tyler Pearson, Louisville, Miss. 63,007
10 Stan Branco, Chowchilla, Calif. 62,585
11 Wade Sumpter, Fowler, Colo. 59,092
12 Straws Milan, Cochrane, Alberta 58,151
13 Luke Branquinho, Los Alamos, Calif. 57,300
14 Bray Armes, Ponder, Texas 57,094
15 Dakota Eldridge, Elko, Nev. 50,806
Team Roping (header)
1 Clay Tryan, Billings, Mont. $112,994
2 Kaleb Driggers, Albany, Ga. 105,445
3 Brandon Beers, Powell Butte, Ore. 97,373
4 Erich Rogers, Round Rock, Ariz. 94,863
5 Luke Brown, Stephenville, Texas 79,383
6 Riley Minor, Ellensburg, Wash. 78,672
7 Trevor Brazile, Decatur, Texas 78,048
8 Nick Sartain, Dover, Okla. 77,243
9 Derrick Begay, Seba Dalkai, Ariz. 76,797
10 Drew Horner, Plano, Texas 72,742
11 Dustin Bird, Cut Bank, Mont. 72,708
12 Turtle Powell, Stephenville, Texas 71,096
13 Charly Crawford, Prineville, Ore. 66,651
14 Colby Lovell, Madisonville, Texas 61,752
15 Justin Van Davis, Madisonville, Texas 60,936
16 Travis Tryan, Billings, Mont. 60,745
Team Roping (heeler)
1 Jade Corkill, Fallon, Nev. $110,607
2 Travis Graves, Jay, Okla. 110,088
3 Jim Ross Cooper, Monument, N.M. 105,195
4 Cory Petska, Marana, Ariz. 94,762
5 Brady Minor, Ellensburg, Wash. 78,672
6 Patrick Smith, Lipan, Texas 78,048
7 Rich Skelton, Llano, Texas 77,296
8 Cesar de la Cruz, Tucson, Ariz. 76,059
9 Kollin VonAhn, Blanchard, Okla. 74,494
10 Paul Eaves, Lonedell, Mo. 71,884
11 Buddy Hawkins II, Columbus, Kan. 71,781
12 Dugan Kelly, Paso Robles, Calif. 69,403
13 Ryan Motes, Weatherford, Texas 69,218
14 Clay O’Brien Cooper, Gardnerville, Nev. 65,670
15 Martin Lucero, Stephenville, Texas 65,355
Saddle Bronc Riding
1 Cody Wright, Milford, Utah $128,703
2 Jesse Wright, Milford, Utah 108,950
3 Chad Ferley, Oelrichs, S.D. 103,771
4 Tyler Corrington, Hastings, Minn. 97,927
5 Jacobs Crawley, Stephenville, Texas 96,513
6 Cort Scheer, Elsmere, Neb. 89,731
7 Jake Wright, Milford, Utah 88,095
8 Isaac Diaz, Desdemona, Texas 83,951
9 Wade Sundell, Boxholm, Iowa 81,913
10 Cole Elshere, Faith, S.D. 80,698
11 Taos Muncy, Corona, N.M. 74,379
12 Chet Johnson, Sheridan, Wyo. 60,569
13 Bradley Harter, Weatherford, Texas 58,928
14 Heith DeMoss, Heflin, La. 56,642
15 Sterling Crawley, Stephenville, Texas 56,054
Tie-down Roping
1 Tuf Cooper, Decatur, Texas $135,164
2 Tyson Durfey, Colbert, Wash. 97,985
3 Cody Ohl, Hico, Texas 94,943
4 Trevor Brazile, Decatur, Texas 93,866
5 Scott Kormos, Teague, Texas 92,520
6 Timber Moore, Aubrey, Texas 83,196
7 Sterling Smith, Stephenville, Texas 79,188
8 Justin Maass, Giddings, Texas 78,047
9 Caleb Smidt, Bellville, Texas 76,373
10 Shane Hanchey, Sulphur, La. 72,906
11 Shane Slack, Idabel, Okla. 69,664
12 Clif Cooper, Decatur, Texas 66,195
13 Ryan Jarrett, Comanche, Okla. 62,899
14 Stetson Vest, Childress, Texas 62,371
15 Randall Carlisle, Baton Rouge, La. 60,572
Bull Riding
1 J.W. Harris, Mullin, Texas $130,383
2 Tyler Smith, Fruita, Colo. 99,085
3 Cole Echols, Elm Grove, La. 96,275
4 Josh Koschel, Nunn, Colo. 94,230
5 Cody Teel, Kountze, Texas 93,064
6 Cody Campbell, Summerville, Ore. 89,151
7 Cooper Davis, Jasper, Texas 83,399
8 Parker Breding, Edgar, Mont. 82,238
9 Trevor Kastner, Ardmore, Okla. 81,207
10 Shane Proctor, Grand Coulee, Wash. 75,859
11 Chandler Bownds, Lubbock, Texas 75,652
12 Tyler Willis, Wheatland, Wyo. 75,285
13 Trey Benton III, Rock Island, Texas 73,329
14 Elliot Jacoby, Fredricksburg, Texas 71,740
15 Steve Woolsey, Payson, Utah 70,067
WPRA Barrel Racing
1 Sherry Cervi, Marana, Ariz. $147,418
2 Mary Walker, Ennis, Texas 137,115
3 Michele McLeod, Whitesboro, Texas 109,591
4 Christy Loflin, Franktown, Colo. 105,042
5 Fallon Taylor, Whitesboro, Texas 100,860

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