I hope that everyone got to watch at least a round or two....but for those of you who didn't, the last 10 days were the NFR in Las Vegas. For those of you who think I'm speaking Greek, that is the National Finals Rodeo. What does this mean? It means that the best cowboys and cowgirls in the world go to Vegas to see who emerges the world champion in 7 different events.
It's with a lot of frustration I write this blog. Not that I'm frustrated with the NFR....goodness knows those are 10 of my favorite days of the year!! I am frustrated with the lack of pictures from the NFR available online. I wanted to put up pictures of all of my favorite moments, but gave up on that. I found a few and decided to go ahead and write the blog with those, instead of waiting longer!
Here are a few of my favorites from the week:
Usually, by the last night (which is the 10th Round), pretty much all of the events have been won and it's just a formality. Not this year---it was chaos and all but one event came down to the 10th Round to determine the world champion. And that 10th Round was crazy!!
1. Round 10
1. Round 10
In the bulldogging, it came down to Luke Branquinho and Lee Graves to win the world. Luke was winning the average. (I should explain....if you win the the average over the 10 rounds at the NFR you win like 50 grand. So a lot of times, that is super important for the world championship). Anyway, Luke goes and throws the calf fast...about 3.6 or so, but the judges said he didn't have a hand on the steer when he went down. That means he gets a no-time. Also means he loses the world championship. Ouch. Instant replay will be at next year's NFR because of this. Mark my words!
Calf roping had similar drama. Cody Ohl, who is just a phenominal roper, comes out and ropes one in like 7.3......which means fast. The rule is the calf has to stay tied for 6 seconds. Cody's calf lasted about 5.5 seconds and got up. That meant he lost the world championship. Trevor Brazile came in, roped his calf and won the world. Chaos.
2. Billy Etbauer Wins His 50th Round.....Then His 51st!
If you are going to watch one guy at a rodeo in your entire life, you'd choose Billy. He's a legend. The Brett Favre of rodeo they call him. He's 46 years old. He's like 5'5. And he's awesome. Over his career, he has won 51 rounds at the NFR. Let me tell you, when he wins, people go crazy. He won Round 10 and got a standing ovation from the crowd. He's well respected, with good reason. This guy is what the sport is all about.
3. Duke.....Enough Said!
I like horses. All horses really......and growing up on a ranch, we have had lots of different horses. I've had friends who rodeo and a brother who ropes. I judged horses for years in high school and at one contest in college. My point is this, I've seen a few horses in my life.....but hands down, the most beautiful horse I have ever seen was at the NFR. Duke is a palamino barrel horse owned by this year's world champion, Brittany Pozzi. I'm telling you, if you want to see a horse, you need to see Duke! I'm ALSO telling you.....there are some GOOD LOOKING cowboys at the NFR...but Duke was probably the best looking guy in the Thomas and Mack!
4. Tuf Cooper Wins The Average
If you don't follow rodeo, you don't really know why this is a top 5 moment. The Coopers are sort of like the Kennedy's of rodeo.....it's a family affair. Roy Cooper, the father, was one of the best all-time cowboys to rodeo. His daughter, Shada, married Trevor Brazile who I mentioned won calf roping and was also named the all around cowboy for the 7th time. Roy has a couple of sons who have roped before...Clint and I forget the other one's name. Well this year, his 19 year old son, Tuf, came to his second NFR. He's little snot nosed kid, but he can throw a rope and he won the calf roping average. Watching Roy in the stands as he watched his son was really cool. Oh, and Tuf had to switch horses...his horse got hurt in Round 7.....no worries, brother in law Trevor came to the rescue and shared. Talk about having connections!
5. Team Roping World Record Broken....Twice In One Night
Now this just had to fry some guys. Team roping is where two guys pair up to rope the calf---the header ropes the calf's head and the heeler ropes both back feet. The arena and world record for team roping was 3.5 seconds. In Round 9, the world record was broken by Jojo LeMond and Randon Adams who caught in 3.4. The Thomas and Mack Center went nuts. They were celebrating, happy cowboys. For about five minutes. Five runs later, their world record was broken by Chad Masters and Jake Corkill, who caught in 3.3. SO much for that victory lap for Jojo and Randon!
Hopefully this will give you a little insight into the sport of rodeo. Next December, hit me up and we'll watch the NFR! I've been saying for years I want to go....and yes....those of you who are wondering, it is on the bucket list! I am hoping maybe 2010 will be my year!