LAS VEGAS Cody Wright admits he was getting a little antsy to get some money in the bank.
The saddle bronc rider from Milford, Utah, did it early and often at last year's Wrangler National Finals Rodeo on the way to his first world championship.
This year, it took him until Round Three for his first big paycheck $ 17,139 riding Surprise Party of Sankey Pro Rodeo for 86.5 points to win the round.
After not placing in the first round and finishing sixth in Round Two, Wright was ready to move up.
"You're anxious to hopefully draw a horse that you can make a good ride on," Wright said. "You kind of beat yourself up because you figure everything here, you ought to be able to win on. Sometimes that's the case and sometimes it's not. It feels really good to have won a round."
Wright said he was happy when he saw the horse he had drawn.
"That's just a great horse," he said. "She's in every short round all year long. She's usually in the TV pen. She's always good."
In bareback, Jason Havens of Prineville, Ore., and Justin McDaniel of Porum, Okla., shared first place in the round with 85-point scores. The two had also shared first place in the first round on Thursday night.
Neither cowboy was complaining afterward.
"I'll take it all week long," said Havens, who rode Big Lights of Carr Pro Rodeo.
McDaniel, the 2007 world champion, rode Cool Waters of Andrews Rodeo Company.
"That's pretty cool," McDaniel said. "I haven't seen that happen since I've been here where two guys split two rounds like that. It's a pretty cool deal."
Each man collected $15,342 for the go-round win.
The top bull rider of the night was Douglas Duncan of Alvin, Texas, who scored the first 90-point ride of this year's WNFR. He topped Hot Wired of Rafter H Rodeo Co., for the top score and $17,139.
It was the first time the bull had been ridden.
"He's such a good bull and he threw a couple of really good guys off," Duncan said. "I heard he hadn't been ridden, so I figured this would be a good place to try to do it."
Still, it was hardly an easy trip.
"I felt like I could have been bucked off at any time," he said.
Shawn Greenfield of Lakeview, Ore., took top honors in the steer wrestling for the second consecutive round.
Greenfield turfed his steer in 3.3 seconds, winning $17,139.
"The last two rounds, I've had two great steers," he said. "I'm getting great starts; the horse is working good. Jeff Green is hazing for me and he's doing a heck of a job."
In team roping, Travis Tryan of Billings, Mont., and Michael Jones of Stephenville, Texas, set the pace with a run of 3.8 seconds. Tryan said he was a little late getting started and had to make a quick decision.
"I missed the barrier a little and the steer stepped over to the right," he said. "That's not what I was hoping for, but I decided to throw anyway and my loop went on pretty snappy. Michael heeled him as fast as it can be done."
Clint Robinson of Spanish Fork, Utah, had the top time in the tie-down roping.
The all-around hand roped and tied his calf in 7.3 seconds. It was the third consecutive night he was in the 7-second range and he is in first place in the average after three rounds.
"There's $17,000 a night (for first place) so you've got to go for it," Robinson said. "There's no sense in backing off. I'm taking advantage of the calves I've had. You're not liable to draw 10 great calves, but the ones you get you've got to take advantage of out here."
In barrel racing, two-time world champion Sherry Cervi of Marana, Ariz., posted the fastest time of the night, taking her young horse, Stingray, around the barrels in 13.8 seconds.
This is the first year she had ridden the horse, which was raised by her parents, in Las Vegas.
"Stingray worked really good tonight," Cervi said. "I'm really proud of her. I thought she'd do good here, but you just never know until you get here. So far, she's handling it really good. I'm just glad to be back at the NFR and on something my mom and dad raised."
The WNFR will be televised nightly on ESPN Classic and ESPN2. At the conclusion of the 10th performance on Dec. 12th, the contestants with the highest earnings in each event will be crowned as the 2009 world champion.