By Phillip Kitts
Photos courtesy PRCA/Clay Guardipee
The National Finals Rodeo rolls into its last night of competition tonight.
This is the night where World Titles are crowned and the rodeo year for 2020 will end. As night number 10 rolls around let us look at who may claim a title in 2020.
In Bareback Iowa cowboy Tim O’Connell holds the top spot with Utah superstar Kaycee Feild sitting in second, provided Tim can have a strong showing tonight he will most likely walk away with yet another Gold Buckle.
Steer wrestling has become a tight race with Cross Plains, Texas cowboy Matt Reeves leading the charge. Stetson Jorgensen sits in the number two spot a little over $11,000 behind. Reeves is not out of the woods, if Jorgensen can put together a round win or Matt falters the title could go the other way.
In team roping headers it has been a wild race during NFR, Dustin Egusquiza has sat on top as well as Luke Brown and Colby Lovell who is currently sitting on the top spot. Any of these three cowboys have a shot at the title. It will take a round win and a bad run for it to happen but there is no doubt all three will be gunning tonight so keep an eye out this event is going to be wild.
Team roping heeler has been the same shifting mess as headers, with three or four guys all making an appearance at the top of the standings. With less than $10.000 between the top four ropers there is no way to predict who will claim the buckle. It will all come down to one last run in round 10 of the NFR.
Saddle Bronc has been a dog fight since round one, Ryder Wright has had a near record breaking NFR with four round wins in nine rounds. Wyatt Casper has done his share of fighting claiming two round wins himself. Going into round 10 it will be down to these two athletes. Casper has held the top spot the majority of NFR but over the last couple of round Wright has overtaken him. Now it is down to one horse on one night, with a little over $1,000 separating them who ever finishes the night on top will claim the gold buckle.
Tie down began at the NFR with little doubt who had a run at the title, Shad Mayfield went into Arlington with a commanding lead and not many who could mathematically catch him. Rolling into round 10 it has not been officially announced but according to calculations Mayfield can not be caught and will leave Texas with his first World Title by holding off Apache, Oklahoma’s Hunter Herrin.
Barrel Racing or shall we call it the Hailey Kinsel show has been fairly lop sided, in nine rounds of NFR Kinsel has claimed five round wins in nine rounds, two of the other round wins go to Emily Miller-Beisel so between the two they have dominated the event. With such a powerful performance of the first nine rounds there is little doubt that Kinsel will be the World Title holder for the third year in a row. All of this should not take away from the impressive run that Beisel has made over the 10 rounds of NFR and is projected to finish fourth in the world.
Bull riding is where the big story is being told, going into NFR the talk was all about Sage Kimzey and his quest to win his 7th consecutive World Title. The 2020 NFR has treated Sage much like 2020 has treated the World, it has just been a rough time. The other big question would be can Ky Hamilton or Boudreaux Campbell be the one to dethrone Kimzey, the real talk was Campbell who was coming off a monstrous trip to Arlington for the PBR finals where he claimed the rookie of the year title as well as the event win at the World Finals. Well, the story is none of these cowboys would be the focus. Starting in round one it was clear where the story was going, Stetson Wright opened with two round wins and has been climbing his way up the whole time. Then entering in the mix Ty Wallace claims a couple round wins and keeps himself in the money most of the week. Where does that leave the world of bull riding? Going into the last round it is Ty Wallace currently sitting in number one with Wright a little over $80 behind. Like a story book it will come down to the last bull of NFR. If they both stay on then it will be who scores higher, if one bucks off your question is answered, if they both buck off the gold buckle goes to Wallace. You will have to watch tonight to find out.