Paden Hurst had the highest marked ride in the bareback yesterday at 84 points. While the first round of bareback is not complete due to rerides, he is currently tied for fourth in the round. The 21-year old is a former College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) qualifier and is learning how to win, from his traveling partners. It is said that those you surround yourself with is who you become. Hurst, who is competing on his permit, is getting plenty of experience traveling with the number three man in the world standings, Bill Tutor, as well as fitness and nutrition expert, Cody Kiser. Tutor, who qualified for his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) in 2017, was 82.5 points yesterday. He enjoys building in his free time, as well as hunting and fishing. Tanner Aus, the 2015 CFD champion, has competed at the NFR the past three years. His life changed forever last May when his wife gave birth to their first child, a daughter. Aus was 82-points in the first round. The muddy arena yesterday caused some havoc in the so some of the competitors will be riding two bucking horses today due to yesterday’s arena conditions. Reigning CFD and world champion, Tim O’Connell, was one of the riders to get a reride yesterday, so he will be getting on two horses today. O’Connell has also become a dad since winning here last year, and his wife, Sami and son, Hazen will be in the stands watching. Audy Reed was the 2015 CFD rookie saddle bronc riding champion. Reed’s 82-point ride provides him a strong opportunity to return on Championship Sunday if followed with another high score. He competed at the NFR in Las Vegas for the first time last year. Dawson Jandreau comes from a rodeo family. His dad, Marty qualified for the 1985 NFR in saddle bronc riding. His 81.5-point ride provides him a good opportunity to ride for a championship here. Some saddle bronc riders will also be riding two horses today,
including the wild and western Wade Sundell. Sundell tied for the win here in 2012 with Chad Ferley. Sundell is second in the world standings and a win here would help narrow the gap between him and Jacobs Crawley. He is a new dad and his son Rankin gets excited when his daddy is in the arena. Rankin will also be cheering on his mom, barrel racer Shelby Hansen. Sundell would love a new trophy package from the 122nd CFD as his 2012 awards were lost in a house fire. Trevor Kastner is currently ninth in the world standings. He took some time off during the busiest time of the season with broken ribs, but is back and ready to make some money at the “Daddy of ‘em all.” Kastner rode Andrews Rodeo’s Ludicrous for 86.5 points to tie for fifth place and just over $1,000 in the first round. He has another reason to smile as he and his wife, Kate welcomed their first child, McKenna Mae to celebrate Valentine’s Day last February. Three-time NFR qualifier, Jordan Spears’, 86-point ride sets him up nicely for returning on Championship Sunday. A CFD win could help the avid outdoorsman make a fourth trip to Las Vegas. He is 22nd in the world standings. Tennessee’s Gray Essary III rode for 85.5-points, just out of the money. Essary was the most successful
bull rider at the 2015 CNFR while competing for Ranger (Texas) College. Illinois cowboy Will Crain made an 85-point ride. It is his second time competing here at the “Daddy of ‘em all.” With just three bull riders having scores on two rides, the door is wide open for qualifying for Championship Sunday here.
Steer wrestler Levi Rudd didn’t mind playing in the mud yesterday, especially when his 6.1-second run was worth $5,500. Another time in that range today would vault him to the top of the leaderboard. The Oklahoma cowboy had never placed at the “Daddy of ‘em All” until yesterday. Jacob Talley’s 6.7 in the sloppy mud on Friday was good enough for 5 th place in round one and more than $3,000. Both cowboys just need a solid time today to qualify for Championship Sunday. Four other steer wrestlers have a chance to make Sunday’s field if they can better the times they turned in yesterday. Billy Bugenig and Cody Cabral are both in the top 30 of the world standings and need the boost that winning here can provide to help their bids for the NFR. Blake Mindemann is having the best season of his career. The horse shoer and second generation steer wrestler is seventh and should he win here, his first trip to Las Vegas for rodeo’s championships in December would nearly be guaranteed. Ted Gollaher, who travels with former world champion Hunter Cure, also could compete on Sunday depending on his performance today. Cure and the rest of the field will be motivated by second-round prize money only, since their runs yesterday took them out of the
overall race. Texan Timber Moore will need to be faster than 9.7 seconds today to qualify for Championship Sunday. The six-time NFR qualifier is only ranked 31 st this season, but a CFD championship would give him a huge boost and help him toward another trip to Las Vegas. Since none of the other tie-down ropers had much success on Friday, all of them will be going for second-round money today. Tuf Cooper, the reigning all-around world champ and four-time tie-down roping world champ who’s currently second in the world standings, needs to win some money in this event to solidify his bid for his second CFD all-around championship. He’s leading the overall standings in the steer roping and will compete on Sunday in that event. Ryle Smith is currently ranked third in the world standings, less than $3,500 behind Cooper. First place in the round pays over $6,500 so all of the ropers will be running for that today. Brock Hansen and Ryan Motes finished second in the first round yesterday, so they are the team ropers with the most potential today. Anything close to 10 seconds today will see them at the top of the overall leader board. With a clear forecast and sunshine, expect barrel racing times to speed up today. First round winner and current world champion Nellie Miller competed here in slack on July 16. Then they went home to Cottonwood, California. They will be back here today. Sister, Miller’s horse really likes the set up here, but the mare is consistent and runs well in big arena’s like the one in Frontier Park or in buildings like the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas where Miller won her world championship. Lisa Lockhart, the 2015 champion here will be riding a buckskin horse, most likely Louie that took her to a third-place finish in the first round. She also has a buckskin mare, Rosa, that is extremely fast, but not as consistent as the fan-favorite gelding. The barrel racing leader board is likely to have some shakeups.