Size does matter!
Bareback riding usually fits a smaller cowboy. Will Lowe is not as big as a minute. But if you look at the last two world champions — Lan LaJeunesse (5-foot-11) and Bobby Mote (6 foot) — their size has actually been an advantage not a disadvantage. These guys are strong and it shows in their riding styles.
Mote should have his own magic show in Las Vegas. He used smoke and mirrors just to get back to the Wrangler NFR. Injuries wiped out his spring and he couldn't get anything going in the summer tour. But somehow he won enough to finish in the Top 15. Mote has shown people why he is the champ over the first four rounds: placing in three including a split for first last night and climbing to fifth in the world.
If you did not know Cody Wright before this year's Wrangler NFR, you do now. The Milford, Utah bronc rider has placed in every round. He was on pace to make his first Wrangler NFR last year when he broke his leg at Albuquerque in the fall. I mean broke it. It was almost a career ending type injury. What a difference a year makes. From rank horses to saddle bronc legends, nothing seems to intimidate him. You can bet Dan Mortensen, Glen O'Neill, Rod Hay and company watch him with great interest. He is going to win a lot of their money over these last few rounds and in years to come.
Tie-down roping remains a very intriguing race. The top four cowboys in the world have each won a round. Blair Burk nabbed Round 1. Fred Whitfield answered in Round 2 before Cody Ohl became a blue streak in Round 3. And Trevor Brazile used his magic yesterday. Pull up a chair and enjoy the show. The best is yet to come.
Janae Ward can take the heat. She survived a pressure-packed final day of the regular season to sneak into the Top 15 and now has scratched and clawed her way from 14th all the way to No. 3 in the world standings. Just when Kelly Kaminski put some daylight between herself and the pack, Ward now appears to be the rival she just can't shake.
There are fewer injuries in a Quentin Tarantino movie than bull riding at the moment. Torn biceps, concussions, broken bones, stitches and these guys just keep coming. Mike Moore has trimmed Terry Don West's lead down to $24,000. Whoever wins the world title better mention the Justin Sports Medicine team in their acceptance speech.
And here is another team roping update ... Speed Williams and Rich Skelton are still way ahead.