Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013 | 1:03 p.m.
2013 Wrangler NFR Round 7
For six nights, bareback rider Kaycee Feild failed to win a round at the 2013 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, and fans had begun to wonder what had happened to the two-time defending world champion. That changed Wednesday night as more than 17,400 fans at our Thomas & Mack Center at UNLV cheered him onto a win.
It moved him up to first place, passing four-time champion Bobby Mote, and now Kaycee could in the final three rounds become the first bareback rider to win three consecutive world championships since the 1971-75 sessions by Pro Rodeo Hall of Famer Joe Alexander. The challenge for 26-year-old Kaycee is to go for six and claim a world record that would probably never be beaten; he has three more years to pull that off.
Wednesday night’s events kicked off a salute to our armed forces, with military personnel from our Nellis Air Force Base performing the national anthem.
Our thanks to contributing photographer Tom Donoghue for his gallery of action thrills from ringside and to Wrangler NFR for its assistance with this report.
Cody Ohl claimed his fourth round win of the week in tie-down roping, equaling Trevor Brazile’s Round 7 6.7-second ride. It was Cody’s 48th tie-down roping win, and he’s hoping to wrap up his seventh world championship before the weekend. Meantime, Trevor took second place with a time of 7.3 seconds.
The battle raging among members of the Wright family continues, and it looks as if one of the three brothers will take home the gold buckle. Jake Wright won his round for the third time this visit and moved into first place ahead of his older brother Cody, but only $2,661 in winnings separates them. Jesse Wright is fifth.
Said Jake: “I’ll honestly be happy as long as the buckle comes home with the Wrights. It’s always been a goal of mine, and I don’t want one just because they each have them. It’s something I’ve worked at my whole life, and it’s something I want for myself. I’d love to have a gold buckle, but I’m just happy to be in the running.
“I wouldn’t rather go against anyone else for the greatest buckle in rodeo. I always want to win it, but I also like to have a good time and support everyone else. We’re still a long ways from over, though, because in the WNFR, three nights is a long time, and anything can happen.”
Barrel racer Taylor Jacob nailed her fourth victory in seven rounds, even though she didn’t match her WNFR record run of 13.37 from Tuesday night. The Women’s Pro Rodeo Association Rookie of the Year has now equaled or broken every round record in her four Las Vegas wins. Taylor has climbed to third in the standings behind Sherry Cervi, who is first in the world with $222,538 in winnings. Sherry can become the fifth barrel racer in history to earn checks in all 10 rounds of the Wrangler NFR.
No WNFR report can pass without a note on Trevor Brazile: Just because he locked up his record 19th world championship Tuesday night doesn’t mean he’s stopped breaking records or making history. Now that he’s moved past $300,000 for the record seventh time, it’s possible that before the week is over on Saturday night, he could become the first man to surpass $5 million in career earnings — he needs $84,118 for the record.
If Trevor emerges as the tie-down roping world champion by Saturday night, it would give him his third Triple Crown – three gold buckles in one year — in seven years and would tie Jim Shoulders as the only cowboy in history with three Triple Crowns.
Last year in Las Vegas, our contributing photographer Tom Donoghue took Trevor via Maverick Helicopters to the top of the Valley of Fire for a celebration magazine cover shot. On Friday, the duo gets even more ambitious. The world champion cowboy will reach new heights atop the roof of the Palazzo as Tom aims his camera hanging from the chopper so that the Strip that Trevor has conquered is full on in the background.
Check back to Vegas DeLuxe for that amazing new photograph and reports from the final three nights of the 10 nights of cowboy and cowgirl champions.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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