LAS VEGAS Trevor Brazile is a patient man, but after three rounds of bad draws and missed opportunities, he was eager to make something happen Monday night at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
Brazile (Decatur, Texas), the defending world all-around champion, won the fourth go-round in tie-down roping in front of 17,208 at Thomas & Mack Center, tying his calf in 7.2 seconds to win $14,335 and solidifying his lead atop the all-around standings.
"No beating around the bush, I was impatient … ready to win," he said. "I felt like some of it was missed opportunities on my part and some of it was the draw. It was a combination of both but now I think I've got my bugs worked out and just need to draw good the rest of the week and win a lot of money."
Brazile has won $28,900 combined this week in tie-down roping and team roping. He leads second-place Jesse Bail (Camp Crook, S.D.) by about $80,000.
Brazile said with six rounds left and the quality of the competition behind him, he isn't taking anything for granted.
"There is definitely some pressure," he said. "My competition is the only reason that winning it is so special. If it wasn't this hard to win I don't think it would be this prestigious."
Meanwhile, Dan Mortensen (Billings, Mont.), the five-time world champion in saddle bronc, moved a step closer to his sixth. Mortensen watched eight of his fellow saddle bronc riders get bucked off by the eliminator pen of horses before posting an 89.5-point ride on Sutton Rodeo Company's Dippin Cadillac Jack.
Mortensen won $14,335 and moved to less than $9,000 from world leader Glen O'Neill (Didsbury, Alberta).
Mortensen has ridden all four of his horses and is third in the average, while O'Neill has scored on only three and is seventh.
"The world championship will probably come down to the average," Mortensen said.
In bareback, defending world champion Bobby Mote (Redmond, Ore.) shared the go-round victory with Jason Jeter (Mansfield, Texas). Both men collected $12,832 and Mote, who rode Bar T Rodeo Company's Calamity Jane for 88.5 points, moved to the lead in the average with a total of 335.5 points on four head. He's a half-point ahead of 1998 world champion Mark Gomes (Nickerson, Kan.).
Jeter, the runner-up to Mote in the world title race last year, rode Powder River Rodeo Company's Spotted Bird for 88.5 points to tie Mote for the go-round victory. He also moved to second in the world standings, trailing No. 1 Will Lowe (Canyon, Texas), by $44,000 with six rounds still to go. Jeter is third in the average, 3.5 points behind Mote.
In steer wrestling, 1999 world champion Mickey Gee (Wichita Falls, Texas) jumped solidly into the world title picture after winning the go-round with a time of 4.0 seconds. It earned him $14,335 and also moved him into first place in the average with a time of 17.50 seconds on four runs. With the average winner getting more than $37,000, Gee is well within range of world No. 1 Shawn Greenfield (Lakeview, Ore.).
He said he'd love to win another world title, plus he needs the money.
"I bought a new horse from Idaho, got a baby on the way, but a new home, got several debts to pay off … I don't have time to stub my toe," he said. "We gotta win all we can."
Greenfield finished second Monday night with a time of 4.1 and earned $11,329 to move back into the lead in the world standings. He is also sixth in the average.
Shain Sproul (Arlee, Mont.) and Boogie Ray (Mabank, Texas) won the go-round in team roping, edging six-time defending world champions Speed Williams (Amarillo, Texas) and Rich Skelton (Llano, Texas) by a tenth of a second. Williams and Skelton did, however, move into first place in the average and edged closer to a seventh consecutive world title. The dynamic duo have won $34,104 during the NFR and stretched their lead in the world standings to more than $53,000 over Travis Tryan (Billings, Mont.) and Matt Zancanella (Aurora, S.D.).
B.J. Schumacher (Hillsboro, Wis.) and Mike Moore (Kankakee, Ill.) shared the fourth go-round victory in bull riding with 90.5-point scores.
Schumacher topped Burns Rodeo Company's Blender Head Snuff, while Moore rode Cervi Championship Rodeo's Johnny Walker Red. Both cowboys collected $12,832 for their effort.
In barrel racing, Kelly Kaminski (Bellville, Texas) and her horse Rocky turned the barrels in 13.91 seconds for the go-round victory. The $14,335 first-place money stretched her lead in the world standings to more than $18,000 over second-place Brittany Pozzi (Victoria, Texas).
Guy Clifton covers rodeo for the Reno Gazette-Journal. He can be reached at 775.788.6337 or email@example.com.