LAS VEGAS — Rookie saddle bronc rider Spencer Wright used a fifth-place in the 10th and final round of the National Finals Rodeo on Saturday night to move atop the PRCA standings and win the gold buckle.
Wright earned $205,388 to top the PRCA standings after not leading the category in any prior day at the NFR. He ended up second among all NFR competitors with $145,123 in earnings. Wright, whose three older brothers also qualified for the NFR, also won the event’s aggregate standings with 807.5 points on 10 head after scoring a 79 on Lunatic from Hell.
“I would hope they’re all happy for me and proud of me. They’re my brothers and it makes me happy that they were going crazy for me,” Wright said. “I came in here expecting to do the best I could do, and I guess I really have. This is hard to describe.”
Cort Scheer finished close behind Wright in the PRCA standings with $195,586 after not securing a check with a 71 on Big Fork. He also finished second in the aggregate standings with 764 points over 10 rounds.
Cody DeMoss won round 10 with an 86 on Resistol’s Top Hat.
In bareback riding, Kaycee Feild won his fourth consecutive PRCA championship in both the PRCA and NFR aggregate standings with $294,980 after placing second with an 86 on Scarlet’s Web in round 10. His total includes a $48,732 bonus for winning the aggregate crown.
Feild closed out the aggregate race with 818.5 points for 10 rides after moving up from third place. Richmond Champion was second in the aggregate race with 814.5 points for 10 rides. Caleb Bennett won round 10 with an 86.5 on Dirty Jacket.
Feild joined team roping header Leo Camarillo (1968-71) as the only NFR contestants to win four consecutive aggregate titles.
In steer wrestling, Luke Branquinho won his fifth gold buckle with $202,380 and the NFR aggregate standings crown with a time of 41.6 seconds on 10 head despite not placing among the top six with a time of 5 seconds in the final round.
Branquinho, sidelined with an injured right arm from July 18 until the NFR’s opening round, became the eighth individual to win at least $1 million in career earnings.
“To be able to win it is pretty meaningful to me,” Branquinho said. “Every time you have to have surgery on a tendon repair there’s a chance you may not come back. But I took the risk and my therapist at home and the doctor that put me back together said everything healed up and looked great.”
Dru Melvin won the final round in 3.4 seconds.
In team roping, header Clay Tryan of Billings and heeler Jade Corkill won their first gold buckle with $220,058 each and their second consecutive NFR aggregate standings championship with a time of 70.10 for 10 rounds after placing fourth with a time of 6 seconds during round 10. The defending PRCA champions were the only pair to have 10 successful rounds.
They were trailed in the PRCA standings by Trevor Brazile and Travis Graves with $176,183 each. Brandon Beers and Jim Ross Cooper won round 10 in a time of 4.1 seconds.
In tie-down roping, Tuf Cooper became a three-time PRCA champion with $241,734 and the NFR aggregate champ with a time of 89.7 seconds over 10 rounds after not finishing among the top six with a time of 9.4 seconds.
Brazile ended up second in the PRCA standings with $210,315 and runner-up in the aggregate race with a time of 93.1 seconds for 10 rounds. Cooper, however, foiled Brazile’s bid for his third PRCA crown of the 2014 season. Brazile was first in NFR tie-down roping earnings with $116,466.
Matt Shiozawa finished in third place in both the aggregate standings with a time of 97.6 seconds for 10 rounds and in the PRCA standings with $199,888 following a last-place time of 17.5 seconds in round 10.
“I just had to go tie one down,” Cooper said. “Those guys (Brazile and Shiozawa) were going for a PRCA title. They weren’t backing off and playing it safe. They wanted a gold buckle just like everybody grows up roping wants, and hats off to them for sticking to that.
“It is such an honor. You want to win a round, you want to win the average (aggregate) and you want to win a PRCA title, and I’m so blessed to do all three in one year.”
Six-time champion Cody Ohl won the final round in 6.80.
In barrel racing, Fallon Taylor who earned $276,441 in the WPRA standings, claimed her first gold buckle after finishing second in 13.96 seconds.
Lisa Lockhart won the NFR aggregate standings with a time of 144.93 over 10 rounds following her sixth-place ride of 14.02. She was second in the PRCA standings with $265,514.
Former WPRA champ Mary Walker won round 10 in 13.9 seconds.
In bull riding, Sage Kimzey who clinched his first PRCA championship in round eight and the NFR aggregate crown in round nine, ended up with $318,631 and a score of 671 for eight rides. Kimzey was the lone rider to cover eight of his 10 bulls and the only one of seven bull riders ever to win four rounds at one NFR.
Kimzey also led all NFR competitors with $175,466 earned over 10 rounds. He became just the second bull rider to win the PRCA championship during his rookie season. The only other first-year rider to win a gold buckle was Bill Kornell in 1963.
Tyler Smith won the 10th round with an 84.5 on Hot Wired.
In all-around, Brazile closed out the season with $494,369 in earnings.