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That Rodeo Life

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National Finals Rodeo Update - Round 7

Las Vegas, Nevada (December 12, 2018) - In Round 7 you can say that the good guys won! We aren’t talking about the go-round winners or the shifts in the average and projected world standings, albeit there was a lot of that. We are talking about a little bit of the controversy of this year's Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

On November 21st, Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association (PRCA) Tie-Down Roper Tyson Durfey announced on his Facebook Fan Page that Nikko, his main mount and number one horse, would not be attending this year's National Finals Rodeo (NFR) slated in December for 10 of the toughest days in ProRodeo Competition.

“It’s a hard one to swallow but I’m thankful that he is alive and going to be back in the arena,” Durfey explained in the post that showed pictures of Nikko in an emergency colic surgery with a displaced colon.

Nikko, an American Quarter Horse, took a turn for the worse and on November 23rd, 2018, he passed away unexpectedly due to a ruptured colon after his colic surgery.

“He was more than a horse to me,” Durfey wrote on social media. “He was a member of our family and he brought so much joy to us and so many others… It’s honestly hard to look around and not see something I have because of him. He gave me a world championship, my ranch, countless wins and 100% effort every time. For that I am eternally grateful.”

Durfey joined the PRCA in 2013 and has earned over $1.5 million in the ProRodeo arena. He’s qualified eleven times to the NFR in Las Vegas, Nevada, the Super Bowl of the professional sport of rodeo, including the 2018 NFR. In 2016, he entered the NFR placing 14th with the NFR only taking the top 15 in the world. He won Round 6 of the NFR that year, placed in six other rounds, and placed second in the NFR average to win him the Gold Buckle and World Championship. He is riding his secondary mount, Mitch, at the 2018 NFR.

Durfey posted on his Instagram on December 9th a video of his Round 3 run, captioning it, “Honestly was a weird run but got him down in an 8.9. Calf slowed up and Mitch didn’t know I threw my rope! Thankful to rope on the greatest rodeo on dirt!”

Said post was shared on roping fan account “JustRope_It” here where an interesting commentary began. In comments since deleted, the official account of tie-down roper Cody Ohl was screenshotted commenting, “Stop showing a wasted $26K calf horse. Horse is no where close to being ready! Again, not being rude, this ain’t a Tuesday night jackpot.”

When a fan commented explaining that Nicco, Durfey’s number one horse, had just passed away, Ohl responded with an eye roll emoji and, “Sorry I wasn’t aware.”

Ohl then took to his personal Instagram with a picture of his 6.9 second Thomas & Mack arena run captioning the photo, “Not sure how these guys are riding into the box with $26K on the line and I can’t tell that there not at a Tuesday night 2 for $100. I have more intensity scoring my horses at the house. Roping on the biggest stage in the world in the city of ENTERTAINMENT with World Championships on the line! Bring it! DAMN! CO”

Rodeo is a well known sport for their camaraderie and support so the immediate reactions of the fans was quite negative towards Ohl. In subsequent posts, Ohl announced his return to the sport of rodeo. Will we see Ohl backing into the box in 2019 at the NFR?

Bareback Update

  • Kaycee Fields moved from 5th to 4th in our projected world standings due to a drop in the average after a low scoring ride on Wednesday night.

    Steer Wrestling Update

  • Blake Knowles drops down in both the average and world standings due to a broken barrier (10 second penalty). The Oregon cowboy had been a dark horse through the finals making a bid for what could be his first world title.

  • Bridger Chambers and Tyler Pearson felt the benefits of said barrier break by Knowles.

  • Will Lummus and Tyler Waguespack are the two competing for the top and split 3rd and 4th in round 7 meaning that steer wrestling, the fastest sport in rodeo, is going to be getting faster over the next few rounds.

Tie Down Roping

  • Ryle Smith, Reese Reimer and Trevor Brazile were all above 10 seconds, hurting them in the average.

  • Caleb Smidt moved to first in the average, switching places with Smith in the projected world standing after Round 7.

  • Rhen Richard moved to second in the average. The biggest thing about this move? He is still eye balling the world title in the All-Around race with Brazile and Tuf Cooper being his biggest competition. Cooper has had a frustrating NFR but may have got back on track in Round 7.

Barrel Racing

  • Hailey Kinsel is flirting with the finality of claiming her first barrel racing world title. Winning back to back rounds, the WPRA cowgirl is on the horse of the year and with Amberleigh Moore knocking a costly barrel and reigning World Champion Nellie Miller out of the average knocking two barrels in Round 7, Kinsel could “have it in the bag” barring no missteps in the last 3 rounds.