It seems like every year, the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo gets better and better. The 2015 WNFR was definitely one for the record books. There was more upset, more heartbreak, more close races and more incredible feats accomplished at this National Finals Rodeo than we can remember in a long time.
If you know ANYTHING at ALL about rodeo, Trevor Brazile should be a familiar name. It’s no surprise to anyone that he won his 23rd Gold Buckle, but it may be surprising that he broke the record he set for season earnings for any rodeo athlete as well as his own record of 22 Gold Buckles. He truly is the King of the Cowboys. Brazile won multiple rounds in both the Tie-Down Roping and Team Roping but did not win the title in either one of those events.
Steven Peebles should adopt the nickname “The Comeback Kid.” Last year, he was unable to compete after suffering a mid-thoracic spine compression fracture in Round 3 of the NFR after winning the 2nd Round. He eventually came back from that injury to start the 2015 rodeo season off strong, but nearly died after a broken rib nicked an artery that filled his lungs with blood in July at the Livingston Round Up in Montana.
Fast-forward five months and Peebles is health, kicking and was just crowned the 2015 Bareback Champion at the Thomas & Mack Center Saturday night. Only about $10,000 separated him and four-time world champion bareback rider Kaycee Feild.
• Kaycee Feild vs. Calgary Stampede’s Reckless Margio for 91.00 points – just .50 points shy of the arena record
• Steven Peebles vs. Frontier Rodeo’s Full Baggage for 89.50 points
It was the perfect storm for Texas’ Caleb Smidt. He and Trevor Brazile were neck-and-neck going into Round 10. Brazile figure-eighted the tail of his calf for a long time of 13.9, which dropped him to fourth in the average, while Smidt clocked a 7.9-second run to split sixth and clinch the gold buckle from his idol.
• 6.50-second run in Round 8 by Trevor Brazile
• 6.60-second runs by Trevor Brazile and Hunter Herrin in the 6th and 9th rounds respectively
• 6.70-second run by Matt Shiozawa in Round 7 and by Tyson Durfey/Tuf Cooper in Around 10 to split the last night
Saddle Bronc Riding
It was another year of heartbreak for fan favorite Wade Sundell who has yet to win a gold buckle in Vegas. Stephenville’s Jacobs Crawley won both the WNFR average buckle and the World Title, beating out Sundell by a little more than $3,000. Crawley was one of only two men to cover all 10 horses and swept both buckles despite never winning a round during the 10 nights in Sin City. Jacobs was 810.5 points on 10 head.
• CoBurn Bradshaw vs. Beutler & Son’s Wound Up for 90.00 points
• Wade Sundell vs. Beutler & Son’s Wound Up for 88.50 points
• Jacobs Crawley vs. Frontier Rodeo’s Medicine Woman for 88.50 points
Team Arizona DOMINATED the team roping this year. More specifically, the Navajo Nation showed its true colors of how talented the riders and rodeo athletes from this part of the world are. Header Aaron Tsinigine made history as the first member of the Navajo Nation to win a Gold Buckle. Due to earnings, he did not share in the joy with his roping partner and best friend, Ryan Motes. Instead, Heeler Kollin VonAhn came away with the world title, leaving his partner, Luke Brown, in second behind Tsinigine.
• 3.60-second run by Derrick Begay and Clay O’Brien Cooper
• 3.60-second run by Trevor Brazile and Patrick Smith
• 3.60-second run by Luke Brown and Kollin VonAhn
It was a close battle for the steer wrestling championship this year. Nearly every night, the world standings were changed with great runs and missed attempts influencing the standings. In the end, Hunter Cure came away with his second World Title.
• 3.20-second run by Tyler Waguespack
• 3.30-second run by K.C. Jones
• 3.40-second run by Dakota Eldridge
The fast women in rodeo sure did fly through the arena during the 2015 Wrangler NFR! It was a battle of old vs. new as some of the youngest cowgirls faced off against seasoned vets. After 10 nights of grueling competition, it was rookie 22-year-old Callie Duperier who took home both the Average Buckle and the World Title. Another notable young lady was Sarah Rose McDonald who clocked some of the fastest times in Vegas with at 13.71 in Round 4 and a 13.67 in Round 7, bu it was fan-favorite Sherry Cervi who stole the show with a 13.55-second run in the last round on Callie DuPerier’s horse Dash Ta Diamonds (Arson).
What can we say about Sage Kimzey? Will anyone ever stop him? Quite frankly, we’d love to see a ride-off against the two-time PRCA World Champion Bull Rider and the two-time PBR World Champion Bull Rider J.B. Mauney. Not only did Kimzey win his second Gold Buckle, but he achieved a feat no one has ever completed: winning back-to-back world titles in their rookie and sophomore year. We predict he’ll have plenty more Gold Buckles where that one came from. Championship Bull Riding superstar Cody Teel came away with the average win.
• Ty Wallace – 88.00 Andrews Rodeo’s Hard Knox
• Clayton Foltyn – 88.00 – Dakota Rodeo’s Brown Sugar
The Cowboy Lifestyle Network would like to thank the Ak-Chin Indian Community and Earnhardt Auto Centers for being a part of our rodeo season this year. Special thanks to Ric Anderson for bringing us these amazing photos!
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