Wrangler National Finals Rodeo – Finals Results and InterviewsWritten by Tammie Webster, reporting for Cuttin Up Radio presented by Wrangler
Stats provided by Tim Webster
Saturday night was the final round of the WNFR and all the champions were decided! Some of the races were extremely close and came down to the last out, which made for an exciting finale!
Bareback Riding – Kaycee Feild had one of the most amazing finals in the history of the NFR! Kaycee clinched his 1st World Championship in round 9, but that did not stop him from winning the round tonight with 87 points. His round win tonight gave him a total of six round wins of the NFR, setting the record for the most round wins by any roughstock cowboy in NFR history. Kaycee also set a new NFR record for the highest average record of 860.50 points on 10 head, breaking Justin McDaniel’s record of 859 set in 2008. When asked about setting the average record, Kaycee said “Like I said, I wanted to come here and dominate. Beating the average record wasn’t my goal coming in, but through the week I looked up the score and knew what I would have to do to beat it. So I kind of made that my goal.” Along with winning the Bareback championship, the average winner, and breaking two records, Kaycee also won the Ram Top Gun Award! Winning the most money at the NFR, Kaycee was given the keys to a brand new special edition Dodge Truck! You can read my interview of Kaycee by clicking on the link at the bottom of this article!
Steer Wrestling – Luke Branquinho had a great year, and finals winning his 3rd world championship, and his second average title! Luke was asked how he was feeling. He responded “It’s a dream come true. Winning one is amazing, but winning three. I can’t even explain it. Just to be in the situation to win one, let alone three, is an amazing feeling. He was asked about Shawn and Luke breaking the barrier, and that he of all people know how that goes. “Yeah, definitely. Those guys were going in there knowing they had to win good in the rounds to stay ahead in the average and get the money they needed. They were taking a chance, you know. If I was in their situation, knowing that I had to win good in the go-rounds, I maybe would have clipped the barrier, too. But that’s just rodeo. It happens day in and day out in rodeo, and unfortunately, for those two, it happened in Round 10 at the NFR.”
Team Roping – The team of Turtle Powell and Jhett Johnson came out on top and won the championship and were also the average champions. Turtle was asked how it felt to be a world champion. He answered “It’s the most amazing feeling ever in my life. It’s something we all dream of. He was asked how slow the clock was moving today waiting to run that steer? “I told Jhett this morning we should have met for breakfast at 5:00, because we were both laying there staring at the ceiling. Ever since I was a kid I’ve dreamed of backing in the box in the 10th round at the NFR with the championship on the line, but it’s a lot different than I expected. Waiting to run that steer all day. . . once you are that guy you understand how tough it is to do. It’s hard to be loose in that situation. It’s easy to say ‘It’s just another run. You just have to rope like you do.’ That’s the hardest steer I’ve ever run in my life. I’ve got more respect than ever for all the world champions now.”
Jhett was asked to describe his emotion and what he was thinking about right now. Jhett replied “I didn’t think I’d ever get one (world championship). I’m a lot closer to the end of my career than the beginning. Years ago I thought I might get one. You think, ‘If I keep roping good I’ll get my chance, my time will come.’ Then you get to this point in your career. . .and you accept, maybe not. But I did. I got one.” He was asked how he was going to celebrate tonight. Jhett answered “Just like Turtle. I’ve got lots of family and friends here, so there will be some tears and hugs and plenty of celebrating before the sun comes up tomorrow. Only Turtle and I are in the private club of knowing everything it took to get here this year, the all-night drives, the waits, the wondering, the tough times. To get to the finish line like this. . .it’s just a blessing.”
Saddle Bronc Riding – Taos Muncy finished in the top spot winning his 2nd World Championship! When asked about winning his second world title, Taos said “The first time I won the world it was my first year. I was really going hard and everything fell into place. I didn’t really know how hard you have to work to get another one. This took a lot of work and it means a lot to me.” When asked about holding off Jesse Wright, he answered “I just had to focus on myself and I couldn’t worry about what Jesse was doing. It was awesome to watch him ride; I’ve never seen someone spur over a horse’s head like he did. He had a heck of a week and I’m thankful to have another gold buckle.” You can listen to my interview of Taos by clinking on the link at the bottom of this article.
Tie-Down Roping – the 2011 Tie-Down Roping Champion is Tuf Cooper! Two years ago Tuf was able to achieve one of his big goals, and win the average at the finals. He was asked now that he is the world champion, what’s going through your mind, and how does this all feel? Tuf replied “Everything’s going to change from this point on. We’re trying to take the steering wheel and do the driving instead of being along for the ride. I’ve got a big responsibility to a lot of people, and I’m going to do the very best job I can.” You can hear my interview with Tuf by clicking on the link at the bottom of this article.
Barrel Racing – Lindsay Sears is the 2011 Barrel Racing World Championship and the Average Winner. She was asked about her run in the 10th round and finishing second with a great time of 13.75. “I didn’t think I needed to change my game plan at all. I don’t have safetying-up in my vocabulary, and neither does Martha. I wouldn’t have been satisfied any other way.” She was asked what it means to win the average. “That’s huge. It’s something I always wanted. It’s the first time I’ve gotten around barrels all 10 rounds. I’m very excited to have finally gotten that.”
Bull Riding – This one came down to the last two rides of the last round of the finals. J.W. Harris and Shane Proctor battled it out all week. But in the end Shane Proctor became the 2011 world champion even though he bucked off his last bull. Shane came into the last round one full bull ahead of J.W. Harris. J.W. had to ride his bull to even have a chance at the title. After J.W. bucked off, Shane had clinched the title whether he got a score or not. Unfortunately, Shane got hung up after bucking off, and then got stepped on. He had to be taken out of the arena on a backboard. As bad as it looked, Shane came away with only a broken arm. Shane was asked about his ride tonight, and he responded “The bull was good, he jumped out and got me raised back and put me down on his head and I ended up hanging to him. I’ve always said to either be a 90 or be in the highlight reel, and I guess I made the highlight reel tonight.” The injury report from Dr. Tandy is “Shane broke his left humerus on his free arm. It’s an injury that can be treated with or without surgery, but for a bull rider who wants to get back quickly, surgery is the thing to do. He’s looking at neighborhood of 8-12 weeks of recovery time after surgery.”
2011 All Around Champion – The 2011 WNFR All Around Champion is Trevor Brazile! This gives Trevor his 16th gold buckle! You can listen to my interview of Trevor Brazile by clicking on link at bottom of article.
NFR Average Champions:
Bareback Riding – Kaycee Feild
Steer Wrestling – Luke Branquinho
Team Roping – Turtle Powell & Jhett Johnson
Saddle Bronc Riding – Jesse Wright
Tie-Down Roping – Matt Shiozawa
Barrel Racing – Lindsay Sears
Bull Riding – L. J. Jenkins
Interview of 2011 WNFR All Around Champion Trevor Brazile:
Interview of 2011 WNFR Tie-Down Champion Tuf Cooper:
Interview of 2011 WNFR Bareback Champion Kaycee Feild:
Interview of 2011 WNFR Saddle Bronc Champion Taos Muncy: