LAS VEGAS With 37 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo appearances and 10 world titles between them, it was only a matter of time before Jake Barnes (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and Allen Bach (Weatherford, Texas) found their way to the top.
The veteran tandem stopped the clock in 3.9 seconds Wednesday to claim the Round 6 victory in front of 17,124 fans in the Thomas & Mack Center, and both moved into second place in the world heading and heeling standings, respectively.
Barnes, who won a record seven team roping titles with Clay O'Brien Cooper, is trying to catch standings leader and six-time world champion Speed Williams (Amarillo, Texas) and keep him from tying the record. But Barnes has some work to do with limited time to do it; he trails Williams by more than $42,000 with just four rounds remaining.
"What's really cool is the fact that Speed and Rich [Skelton] right now are trying to tie Jake and Clay's record," Bach said. "It seems ironic that, here's Jake, he's the guy that has got the best shot to stop them from getting it done. It's like one of those matches made in heaven."
Bach this year tied the Wrangler NFR event record with 19 team roping qualifications. He's competing in the sold-out Thomas & Mack Center with the 117 other cowboys and cowgirls who during the regular season were among the top money winners in rodeo's seven events. World champions, based on total annual earnings, will be crowned at the end of the 10-day rodeo, which has a purse of $5 million.
Round 7 gets under way at 7 p.m. (PST) Thursday.
The Barnes/Bach victory was one of several featuring contestants who have made up ground on the world standings leaders and are within striking distance of catching them before the Wrangler NFR ends on Sunday.
Four-time world champion Cody Ohl (Stephenville, Texas) won his second round of the Wrangler NFR in tie-down roping, recording a time of in 7.1 seconds. He remained in second place and moved to within $11,412 of reigning and seven-time world champion Fred Whitfield (Hockley, Texas).
"Fred was getting farther and farther away from me, and it was time to go for the smash," Ohl said. "It was time to speed things up a little bit and things worked out."
Two-time world champion barrel racer Sherry Cervi (Marana, Ariz.) won her second round in a row, covering the pattern in 13.96 seconds. Cervi jumped into second place in the world standings and trails leader Kelly Kaminski (Bellville, Texas) by $33,000.
Steer wrestler Teddy Johnston (Checotah, Okla.), the world runner-up in 2000, moved into third place after winning Round 6 with a 3.3-second run the fastest of this year's Wrangler NFR. Johnson is just $300 out of second place and $4,886 shy of leader Birch Negaard (Buffalo, S.D.).
Bull rider B.J. Schumacher (Hillsboro, Wis.) claimed the Round 6 victory with an 87.5-point ride on Stace Smith's Dirty White Bull and moved into third place in the standings, still $29,000 out of the lead held by Terry Don West (Henryetta, Okla.).
Elsewhere, Royce Ford (Kersey, Colo.), son of five-time world bareback riding champion and ProRodeo Hall of Famer Bruce Ford, claimed the round title with a 90-point ride on Cervi Championship's Ernie's Pet, while saddle bronc rider Mike Outhier (Utopia, Texas) took the victory lap after scoring 87.5 points on Korkow's Dirty Girl.