NFR: Saddle bronc rider Wright gets 10th career Wrangler NFR win

Rapid City Journal

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Jesse Wright is no stranger to success at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

Making his eighth appearance at the Wrangler NFR, Wright won his 10th career round with an 89.5-point ride on United Pro Rodeo’s Awesome Sauce before 16,809 spectators at the Thomas & Mack Center, on Dec. 6.

“My nephew (Ryder) got on him in Cheyenne (Wyo.) and missed him out, and Stetson had been on him three or four times,” Jesse Wright said. “That horse is really hard to mark out and is really droppy. I got a good start on him, my mark out was good and strong, and then it got rolling after that.”

Jesse’s trips to the Wrangler NFR have come in 2010-14, 2016 and 2017, highlighted by his 2012 world championship. He entered this Wrangler NFR 13th in the PRCA — RAM World Standings.

After his $26,231 victory, Wright moved into eighth place in the world standings with $132,736.

“It feels really good,” Wright said. “You go from really low (after getting a no score in Round 1) to really high. It’s been a while (since I won a round), and it felt good.”

Jesse had reason to smile since only four saddle bronc riders made 8-second rides on Dec. 6. Rusty Wright, Jesse’s nephew, placed second in the round with an 85.5-point ride on Dakota Rodeo’s Cash Deal.

“Horse by horse and just try to stay positive, have fun and take it all in,” Jesse said about his mindset for the remainder of the Wrangler NFR. “You’ve got to keep having fun no matter what is going on, because if you start beating yourself up too bad it isn’t going to get too much better than what it is. Round by round, and horse by horse.”

Montero sets Round 2 bareback record

This is Trenton Montero’s first appearance at the Wrangler NFR, and it didn’t take him long to create a lasting memory.

The Winnemucca, Nev., cowboy had a 90.5-point ride on Sankey Pro Rodeo & Phenom Genetics’ Prairie Rose to break the NFR Round 2 record and capture the victory.

Montero broke the Round 2 record of 89.5 points set by Cimarron Gerke in 2004.

Waguespack continues success in Vegas

The Thomas & Mack Arena has been extremely good to steer wrestler Tyler Waguespack.

The Gonzales, La., cowboy won world championships and average titles at the Wrangler NFR in 2016 and 2018, and he shows no signs of slowing down at the 2019 Finals.

Waguespack won Round 2 with a 3.6-second run, claiming the ninth NFR round win of his career.

Waguespack, with his $26,231 round win, moved into second place in the PRCA world standings with $140,130.

Yates wins tie-down roping

Marty Yates has always been known as a fast roper who is not afraid to take chances.

The Stephenville, Texas, cowboy had his skills on display Dec. 6, winning Round 2 with a 7.3-second run.

“It’s awesome to start off on a good foot,” Yates said. “(On Dec. 5) I was fortunate to place a little bit (splitting fourth with an 8.4-second run). The calves have been a little funny. ... So, it’s nice to come out on top the second round and have a little bit of a lead so far.”

Yates, who came to the Wrangler NFR seventh in the world standings, moved up to second in the standings with $146,431. He’s already earned $45,115 at the NFR.

Smith captures bull riding

Bull rider Garrett Smith is making the most of his third-career appearance at the Wrangler NFR.

The Rexburg, Idaho, cowboy has already covered two bulls, his latest 8-second ride a 91.5-point, Round 2 victory on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Black Gold.

Counting ground money, Smith collected a $33,564 check, which pushed him to fourth in the world standings with $171,769. He’s also leading the NFR average with 178.5 points on two head.

Team ropers Smith and Corkill claim round win

Team roping header Clay Smith and heeler Jade Corkill know how to win world championships.

Smith is the reigning team roping header world champion, and Corkill has three team roping heeler world titles — 2012-14.

The duo teamed up this summer, and the partnership is still paying dividends at the Wrangler NFR.

Smith and Corkill won Round 2 on Dec. 6 with a 4.4-second run.

After their Round 2 victory, Smith and Corkill are leading their respective world standings, but Corkill knows there are no guarantees with eight rounds remaining.

Rule sets pace in barrel racing

Barrel racer Dona Kay Rule didn’t place in Round 1 but made up for it in Round 2.

Rule, making her inaugural appearance at the Wrangler NFR, won Round 2 with a 13.69-second run. Rule was pleased with the smooth run she made on Dec. 6.

“We had a little trouble last night and stumbled, and I just knew I needed to hold his hip in on barrel one,” she said. “Boy, he took it.”