NFR Round 1: Sage Newman Makes a Statement, Tristen Hutchings Wins a Competitive Bull Riding and More
BY BRETT NIERENGARTEN @PRORODEOBRETT
All season long, Sage Newman has been the saddle bronc rider in the world and last night, he put to bed any concerns he could compete at the NFR.
The 24-year-old was 89 points last night on Big Stone Rodeo’s Rubels, banked nearly $29,000 and has now opened up a lead of nearly $90,000 on reigning World Champion and World No. 2 Stetson Wright.
“I look up to all of these guys,” Newman said “Even though some of them are my same age, the group of talent here this year is unreal...It definitely lights a fire in your gut.”
In bull riding, Tristen Hutchings was 90.5 to win a round that saw eight cowboys make the whistle, including seven in a row at one point.
“Everybody told me coming here to just let the momentum roll from the regular season,” he said. “I let it bring me here, practiced hard and it worked...I feel great, I’m going to keep it rolling.”
Other Go-Round winners were reigning PRCA Bareback Riding World Champion Kaycee Feild, Nick Guy in steer wrestling, Jr. Dees/Levi Lord in team roping, reigning Tie-Down Roping World Champion Caleb Smidt and Wenda Johnson.
Kaycee Feild extended his bareback riding Go-Round win record with an 87.5-point ride on Bronc Riding Nation. The win immediately vaults him into contention for a seventh Gold Buckle after he started about $30,000 behind World No. 1 Cole Reiner, who did not place. Jess Pope, who entered No. 2 in the PRCA World Standings, was second in the round with 87 points.
1. Kaycee Feild, 87.5, $28,914
2. Jess Pope, 87, $22,581
3. Tilden Hooper, 86.5, $17,225
4. Orin Larsen, 86, $12,125
T5. Cole Franks, 85.5, $6,063
T5. Tim O’Connell, 85.5, $6,063
Nick Guy came from the No. 15 spot and won the round with a 3.8-second run to shoot up to No. 9. Jesse Brown took second and World No. 1 Stetson Jorgensen was third to maintain the top spot.
1. Nick Guy, 3.8, $28,914
2. Jesse Brown, 4.0, $22,851
3. Stetson Jorgensen, 4.2, $17,255
4. Ty Erickson, 4.5, $12,125
T5. Kyle Irwin, 4.7, $6,063
T5. Tristan Martin, 4.7, $6,063
Jr. Dees/Levi Lord were 4.3 seconds to win the round in their first NFR as partners. Veterans Clay Tryan/Jade Corkill were second in the round and both No. 1s, Kaleb Driggers/Junior Nogueira were third and still have a sizable lead in the PRCA World Standings.
1. Jr. Dees/Levi Lord, 4.3, $28,914
2. Clay Tryan/Jade Corkill, 4.5, $22,851
3. Kaleb Driggers/Junior Noguiera, $17,255
4. Andrew Ward/Buddy Hawkins, 5.2, $12,125
5. Cody Snow/Wesley Thorp, $7,462
6. Coleman Proctor/Logan Medlin, $4,664
SADDLE BRONC RIDING
Newman was 1.5 points ahead a duo of Canadians, Zeke Thurston and Dawson Hay. The bronc riders had to be at least 86.5 to get paid in Round 1.
1. Sage Newman, 89, $28,914
T2. Dawson Hay, 87.5, $20,053
T2. Zeke Thurston, 87.5, $20,053
4. Kolby Wanchuk, 87, $12,125
T5. Lefty Holman, 86.5, $6,063
T5. Brody Cress, 86.5, $6,063
Caleb Smidt and his terrific horse Pockets continued to be automatic in Las Vegas. After running away with the NFR Average en route to his third Gold Buckle in 2021, Smidt didn’t miss a beat and was 7.5 seconds to win Round 1. First-timer Kincade Henry, who was first out in the round, was second.
“It’s just another rodeo,” Smidt said. “I try and stay thinking like that.”
1. Caleb Smidt, 7.5, $28,914
2. Kincade Henry, 8.1, $22,851
3. Hunter Herrin, 8.5, $17,255
4. Riley Webb, 8.7, $12,125
T5. Cory Solomon, 8.8, $6,063
T5. Haven Meged, 8.8, $6,063
Wenda Johnson took advantage of being third out to win the round with a time of 13.57 seconds to give her Go-Round wins in consecutive NFRs. Kassie Mowry was second and World No. 1 Jordon Briggs was third.
1. Wenda Johnson, 13.57, $28,914
2. Kassie Mowry, 13.65, $22,851
3. Jordon Briggs, 13.70, $17,255
4. Leslie Smalygo, 13.80, $12,125
5. Emily Beisel, 13.82, $7,462
6. Dona Kay Rule, 13.91, $4,664
Tristen Hutchings, Jeff Askey, Trevor Kastner, Josh Frost, Trey Kimzey, Stetson Wright, Garrett Smith and Jared Parsonage - over half of the field - made the horn. That’s more than any round the entire 2021 NFR.
1. Tristen Hutchings, 90.5, $28,914
2. Jeff Askey, 90, $22,851
3. Trevor Kastner, 89, $17,255
4. Josh Frost, 88, $12,125
5. Trey Kimzey, 86, $7,462
6. Stetson Wright, $4,664