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1. Jake Wright on J Bar J’s Special Time, 84.5 points, $18,630; 2. Chad Ferley, 83.5, $14,724; 3. Cort Scheer, 80.5, $11,118; Â 4. (tie) Cody Wright and Taos Muncy, 79.5, $6,310 each; 6. Jacobs Crawley, 75, $3,005.
LAS VEGAS â€“ Bray Armes must like Las Vegas.
A year ago, the Ponder, Texas, cowboy â€“ competing at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo for the first time â€“ earned more than $85,000. Heâ€™s well on his way to matching, and possibly exceeding, that total at this yearâ€™s championship.
On Wednesday night, Armes manhandled his steer to the ground in 3.9 seconds to finish runner-up in the seventh go-round, earning $14,724 in the process. He has earned $37,660. Most importantly, his seven-run cumulative time of 31.5 seconds is the best among bulldoggers, and he has a 2.7-second lead over the No. 2 man in the average, Casey Martin.
Martin leads the world standings race with more than $129,000. Armes has moved from 14th on the money list to eighth. Should Armes remain No. 1 in the average race, heâ€™ll pocket a $47,776 bonus, but second place pays $38,762 â€“ that means Martin holds an advantage.
â€śIt would be awesome to win the average, but Iâ€™m for that gold buckle,â€ť said Armes, who grew up in Gruver, Texas. â€śI need to get a lot of money in the go-rounds, so thatâ€™s what Iâ€™m going for. Iâ€™m just going to keep throwing them down and see what happens.â€ť
Thatâ€™s worked quite well so far. The powerful Texan has placed in four go-rounds. The steer he ran Wednesday had a pretty good track record, so he knew there was something special brewing before he backed into the timed-event chute.
â€śHe runs real hard, but I knew if I got a good start, I dang sure could place on him,â€ť he said. â€śI got a great start, and he fell off to the right on me. (Hazer) Riley Duvall did a great job bringing him back to me. I got my hands on him, slowed down and dumped him over.â€ť
Of course, a big part of that is having the right mental approach. After admitting that he had been letting the pressure of the moment get to him, Armes has changed his focus. Itâ€™s been rather beneficial.
â€śIâ€™m a lot more relaxed, just letting it happen,â€ť he said.
1. Cody Teel on Bar T Rodeo’s Slim Chance, 85, $18,630; 2. Cooper Davis, 84, $14,724; 3. Parker Breding, 80.5, $11,118; 4. Josh Koschel, 79.5, $7,813; 5. Tyler Willis, 74.5, $4,808; no other qualified rides.
Cort Scheer is about to mount his fourth saddle bronc of the night. He was just rewarded a third re-ride after the performance closed.
1. Taylor Jacob, 13.47 seconds, $18,630; 2. Michelle McLeod, 13.48, $14,724; 3. Mary Walker, 13.58, $11,118; 4. Trula Churchill, 13.67, $7,813; 5. Sherry Cervi, 13.72, $4,808; 6. Lisa Lockhart, 13.83, $3,005.
1. Cody Ohl, 6.7 seconds, $18,630; 2. Trevor Brazile, 7.3, $14,724; 3. (tie) Shane Hanchey and Scott Kormos, 7.7, $9,655 each; 5. Stetson Vest, 7.9, $4,808; 6. Clif Cooper, 8.2, $3,005.
1. Kaycee Feild on Calgary Stampede’s Shadow Warrior, 83 points, $18,630; 2. Clint Cannon, 82.5, $14,724; 3. Ryan Gray, 80, $11,118; 4. (tie) Steven Dent and Wes Stevenson and Steven Peebles, 79.5, $5,208 each.
1. (tie) Clay Tryan/Jade Corkill and Dustin Bird/Paul Eaves, 4.1 seconds, $16,677 each; 3. Riley Minor/Brady Minor, 4.6, $11,118; 4. Trevor Brazile/Patrick Smith, 4.8 $7,813; 5. Justin Davis/Clay O’Brien Cooper, 6.3, $4,808; 6. Brandon Beers/Jim Ross Cooper, 7.3, $3,005.
1. Matt Reeves, 3.1 seconds, $18,630; 2. Bray Armes, 3.9, $14,724; 3. (tie) Stan Branco and Dean Gorsuch, 4.0, $9,465 each; 5. Trevor Knowles, 4.1, $4,808; 6. Casey Martin, 4.3, $3,005.
Here are your money leaders
Weâ€™ve got just four go-rounds remaining in the 2013 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, and here are the contestants in each event who have won the most so far:
â€“Â Â Â Â Â Â Bareback rider Caleb Bennett, $46,575
â€“Â Â Â Â Â Â Steer wrestler Dean Gorsuch, $46,575
â€“Â Â Â Â Â Â Team ropers Brady and Riley Minor, $48,117
â€“Â Â Â Â Â Â Saddle bronc rider Wade Sundell, $52,985
â€“Â Â Â Â Â Â Tie-down roper Shane Hanchey, $58,894
â€“Â Â Â Â Â Â Barrel racer Sherry Cervi, $70,413
â€“Â Â Â Â Â Â Bull rider J.W. Harris, $67,007
Other end of the spectrum
There are several contestants who havenâ€™t found that type of success. In fact, ??? havenâ€™t found any at all:
â€“Â Â Â Â Â Â Bareback rider Jared Smith
â€“Â Â Â Â Â Â Steer wrestler Straws Milan
â€“Â Â Â Â Â Â Barrel racer Jean Winters
â€“Â Â Â Â Â Â And bull riders Cole Echols and Tyler Willis