Fallon native Corkill off to rocky start at WNFR
Three-time world champion heeler Jade Corkill’s 2020 WNFR – his 11th trip – has been a rocky road, thus far.
After starting last week well with a fourth-place finish in Round 1, Corkill on Saturday night missed his second steer for back-to-back world champion header Clay Smith at Globe Life Field, in Arlington, Texas.
In Round 3, Corkill roped a leg for a five-second penalty — lucky to keep a leg behind a wild handle.
Smith had too much slack between his horse and the steer, providing a wicked whip through the corner and then giving the steer’s head back to him — the animal going from having his butt to the right and head to the left, to having his hind end to the left and his horns down the arena.
With a total time of 9.4 seconds, Smith and Corkill still managed to place seventh in the round — albeit one spot out of the money behind a sixth-place 5.5 by Jeff Flenniken and Tyler Worley.
Smith and Corkill are currently ninth in the average with a two-steer time of 14.2 seconds and have to start making hay in the go-rounds, starting first and foremost in Round 4.
Corkill made his hunt for a fourth world title more difficult with an unfortunate miss in Round 2 on Friday.
Coming off a fourth-place finish in Round 1 on Thursday with a time of 5.1 seconds for an $11,000 payday, back-to-back world champion header Smith spun another good steer in Round 2.
Corkill came through the corner and laid a lot of loop under the steer, but he was off-time with the steer’s hind legs. When the loop entered, the steer was in the ground — not in the air — and the animal jumped over the top of Corkill’s rope as he pulled his slack.
In Thursday’s opener, Corkill made a businessman’s run on his first steer in the team roping.
Roping behind Smith, the combination was smooth in Round 1. Smith scored the steer well and got a nice start at the barrier — hooking his lead loop around the horns and handling the animal well through the turn — leaving Corkill a solid look at the hind feet, yielding a customary two-foot grab.
The clock stopped in 5.1 seconds, leaving Smith and Corkill in fourth place — trailing of pair of 4.9-second times of Dustin Egusquiza/Travis Graves and world leaders Luke Brown/Joseph Harrison and the round-winning run of 4.8 seconds by Erich Rogers and Paden Bray.
Smith and Corkill each earned $11,000 in points, giving them $90,704 apiece in the world standings.
After knocking down $10,000 apiece at The American, Smith and Corkill made notable runs following the PRCA’s restart in late May — coming off a two-plus month shutdown due to the coronavirus.
During the Fort Worth (Texas) Super Series Finish from May 29-31, they each nailed down $3,500 — winning $750 for fourth in both the first and second rounds with times of 4.6 and 4.2 seconds and closing with a second-place 4.2 on their third steer for $2,000 apiece.
In a one-run format from July 3-4 at the Killdeer (North Dakota) Mountain Roundup, Smith and Corkill ranked third with a time of 4.7 seconds for $3,608.
They made hay July 21-24 at the Spanish Fork (Utah) Fiesta Days Rodeo, winning the average and placing in a go-round.
Smith and Corkill stopped the clock in 4.6 for third place and $2,242 in the first round, topping all comers with a two-head tally of 9.4 seconds for $4,549 and the average title.
In total, they each grabbed $6,791 at the rodeo.
From July 30-Aug. 1, the pair split second place at the Kansas Biggest Rodeo, in Phillipsburg, making a 4.9-second run for $4,409.