NFR Round 7: Wenda Johnson, Jess Pope, Ty Erickson and Kincade Henry All Win Again
BY BRETT NIERENGARTEN @PRORODEOBRETT
Wenda Johnson is now the projected World Champion in barrel racing following her Round 7 win, which was her second of the NFR, on Wednesday night.
Johnson has placed in just three rounds, but has yet to hit a barrel, putting her No. 1 in the NFR Average by one tenth over Shelley Morgan through seven rounds.
“I think after last year, my first here at Thomas & Mack, I saw the importance of getting to our spots and and making consistent runs,” Johnson said.
The three-time NFR barrel racer was far from the only repeat winner Wednesday.
Jess Pope won Round 7 with 89 points as the last cowboy out in the bareback riding. Pope has won the NFR Average the last two years and has now placed in six rounds and won two in 2022. He has opened up a lead of of more than $70,000 in the PRCA World Standings and 11.5 points in the Average. Six-time World Champion Kaycee Feild is second in both.
In steer wrestling, Ty Erickson added another $28,914 payday with a 3.7-second run. The 2019 World Champion is up to third in the world after winning two of the last three rounds.
“I knew I had a good steer, Hunter Cure won the Fourth Round on him, so I was really just trying not to screw him up,” he said with a laugh. “My horse worked great, I blew out the barrier and caught him so fast, the steer caught me so all I was ‘get to the nose, get to the nose.’”
Tie-down roper Kincade Henry also added another round win, this one the first solo win of his career at the NFR after splitting Round 5 with Marty Yates. Henry has placed in five rounds and won more than $115,000 at his first NFR.
Jess Pope inched closer to his first Gold Buckle as he won for the second time. He has made seven consecutive rides of 85 points or more this NFR.
1. Jess Pope, 89, $28,914
2. Kaycee Feild, 87, $22,851
3. Tilden Hooper, 86.5, $17,255
4. Leighton Berry, 86, $12,125
5. Cole Franks, 84.5, $7,462
6. Tanner Aus, 81.5, $4,664
Erickson’s Round 7 win moved him to No. 3 in the PRCA World Standings and No. 6 in the projeced final World Standings. Stetson Jorgensen remains the projected World Champion, Will Lummus is projected second and NFR Average leader Kyle Irwin is projected third.
1. Ty Erickson, 3.7, $28,914
2. Dirk Tavenner, 3.8, $22,851
3. J.D. Struxness, 3.9, $17,255
T4. Rowdy Parrott, 4.0, $9,793
T4. Tanner Brunner, 4.0, $9,793
6. Tristan Martin, 4.2, $4,664
Tyler Wade/Trey Yates won a round for the second time this NFR and Kaleb Driggers/Junior Nogueira remained in position to hold off NFR Average leaders Tomlinson/Smith.
Driggers/Nogueira, who are both No. 1 in the world by more than $75,000, are back up to No. 2 in the Average.
1. Tyler Wade/Trey Yates, 3.9, $28,914
2. Clay Tryan/Jade Corkilll, 4.0, $22,851
T3. Chad Masters/Joseph Harrrison, 4.4, $14,690
T3. Andrew Ward/Buddy Hawkins, 4.4, $14,960
T5. Clay Smidth/Jake Long, 4.5, $4,042
T5. Jake Orman/Brye Crites, 4.5, $4,042
T5. Cody Snow/Wesley Thorp, 4.5, $4,042
SADDLE BRONC RIDING
Logan Hay made it three in a row at his first NFR and has now won $121,613 in the Thomas & Mack this year, more than any other saddle bronc rider. Hay is up to No. 2 in the Average and he is projected to finish No. 2 in the world behind Average leader Zeke Thurston.
1. Logan Hay, 90, $28,914
2. Zeke Thurston, 88.5, $22,851
3. Lefty Holman, 87, $17,255
4. Kade Bruno, 86.5, $12,125
T5. Chase Brooks, 86, $6,063
T5. Dawson Hay, 86, $6,063
Kincade Henry has cracked the Top 5 in the PRCA World Standings after winning for the second at the NFR with his fastest time of the rodeo. Caleb Smidt has now taken a commanding lead in the both the Average and the World Standings after he placed and Shad Mayfield did not on Wednesday.
1. Kincade Henry, 7.1, $28,914
2. Hunter Herrin, 7.6, $22,851
3. Cory Solomon, 8.0, $17,255
4. Caleb Smidt, 10.5, $12,125
5. Riley Webb, 11.5, $7,462
6. Zack Jongbloed, 13.5, $4,664
Wenda Johnson’s win and Lisa Lockhart’s downed barrel shook up the Gold Buckle race in the barrel racing. Johnson, who is No. 3 in the World Standings and No. 1 in the NFR Average, is the projected World Champion ahead of Jordon Briggs. Briggs is sixth in the Average and No. 1 in the world.
1. Wenda Johnson, 13.60, $28,914
2. Leslie Smalygo, 13.64, $22,851
3. Sissy Winn, 13.66, $17,255
T4. Jordon Briggs, 13.68, $9,793
T4. Emily Beisel, 13.68, $9,793
6. Shelley Morgan, $13.71, $4,664
Trevor Kastner, who is No. 3 in the World Standings and the Average, got his first round win of 2022 and Stetson Wright and Josh Frost both refused to get bucked. The No. 1 and No. 2 cowboys both were hanging off of the side for the final seconds but made the whistle. Both Wright and Frost are now 6-for-7 and are both looking to become the first to ride nine at the NFR since 1996.
1. Trevor Kastner, 90.5, $36,997
2. Stetson Wright, 75.5, $30,935
3. Josh Frost, 69.5, $25,338