LAUGHLIN, Nev. It was a classic match-up in the tie-down roping at the 2006 edition of the Laughlin (Nev.) River Stampede on Sunday afternoon.
Seven-time and reigning world champion tie-down roper Fred Whitfield, four-time world champion Cody Ohl and three-time all-around champion Trevor Brazile were three of the final four ropers on Sunday.
Brazile (Decatur, Texas) was the first to go, turning in an 8.7-second run to move into the lead. Following Brazile was young gun Joseph Parsons (Marana, Ariz.), who took care of business overtaking the lead with an 8.4. Whitfield, who lives for pressure situations, backed into the box next and showed the sold-out crowd how a champion rises to the occasion. Whitfield (Hockley, Texas) finished with a time of 7.9 seconds. The final competitor was Ohl (Hico, Texas), who drew a tough calf and finished with an 8.8-second run.
When the dust had settled, Whitfield had collected the Tour Round victory, but Ohl hung on to win the average title with a total time of 24.4 seconds on three head, just one-tenth ahead of Whitfield with a 24.5.
"I didn't think I had drawn the best calf but I got a good start, got it on him quick and fortunately for me it stayed down," said Whitfield on his Tour round victory. "I think the Tour points I picked up here should get me into the Finale but I have three rodeos (Logandale, Nev.; Clovis, Calif.; and Guymon, Okla.) left that I can count, so I am going to try and add to my total."
Ohl, who was second in the world standings prior to Laughlin, won $6,764, while Whitfield picked up $5,513. Both competitors have been making each run and rodeo count. Prior to Laughlin, Ohl had only been to six rodeos picking up total winnings of $34,432, while Whitfield had won $22,892 at seven rodeos.
The Laughlin (Nev.) River Stampede marked the eighth stop on the 2006 Wrangler ProRodeo Winter Tour. Contestants not only compete for money at the Tour rodeos, but for valuable Tour points that qualify them for the Pace Picante ProRodeo Chute-out upon the conclusion of the Winter Tour.
The Pace Chute-out will be held May 13-14 in Tulsa, Okla. All 12 stops on the Winter Tour will be televised on Fox Sports Network for the first time in history. Check local listings for times in your area.
Two-time and reigning world champion bareback rider Will Lowe has been in the driver's seat the whole year in both the ProRodeo Cowboys World Standings and the Wrangler ProRodeo Tour standings. Lowe (Canyon, Texas) continued his dominance winning the Wrangler Tour Round in Laughlin with an 84-point ride on Bar T Rodeo's Red Ears. He outdistanced Forest Bramwell (Pagosa Springs, Colo.), who finished with an 83 on Bar T Rodeo's Second Chance. However, Bramwell picked up the average title with 162 points on two head. For Bramwell it was a break through after a slow winter and he hopes to continue the momentum through the spring and summer. Bramwell won $3,738, while Lowe collected $1,200.
2004 World Champion Luke Branquinho smoked the steer wrestling field on Sunday with a time of 3.8 seconds to win the Wrangler Tour Round. Branquinho (Los Alamos, Calif.) missed the majority of the 2005 season with a torn pectoral muscle but he is back and has found a good partner in Zan, the two-time AQHA Steer Wrestling Horse-of-the-Year owned by Rodney Burks. Branquinho has ridden that horse a total of seven times and has won or placed on him every time but one.
Colorado bulldogger Josh Peek finished just behind Branquinho in the Tour round with a 4.1-second run but collected the average title with a total time of 12.8 seconds on three head. Peek (Pueblo, Colo.) edged Branquinho by six-tenths of a second to win the average. Peek pocketed $5,140 while in Laughlin, with Branquinho taking home $4,966.
Team ropers David Key and Kory Koontz collected their second Tour Round victory of the winter series in Laughlin on Sunday. Key (Caldwell, Texas) and Koontz (Sudan, Texas) stopped the clock in 5.2 seconds to finish ahead of Brazile and his partner, eight-time world champion Rich Skelton, who finished with a 5.9. Key and Koontz, who won the Tour Round at the first stop in Odessa, Texas, also picked up the average title in Laughlin with a total time of 16.1 seconds on three head 2.7 seconds faster than the second place teams. Steve Purcella and Britt Bockius tied for second place in the average with Matt Funk and Bucky Campbell with total time of 18.8 seconds on three head.
Key and Koontz picked up $3,909 while in Laughlin and more importantly they picked up 23 valuable Tour points, which will help them secure a spot in the Pace Chute-out field.
Brazile, who qualified for Wrangler ProRodeo Tour Round in both the team roping and tie-down roping won the all-around title in Laughlin after winning $4,584 in both events.
PRCA stock contractor Roy Honeycutt predicted the ride of the day when he saw six-time world champion Dan Mortensen teamed with his bronc Top Gun for the Wrangler Tour Round and the ride didn't disappoint owner or rider. Mortensen (Billings, Mont.) finished atop the leaderboard in the Tour Round after posting a score of 85 points, outdistancing five-time world champion Billy Etbauer and Cody Martin who each turned in scores of 82. Etbauer (Edmond, Okla.) rode Burns Rodeo's Rim Rock, while Martin (Waco, Texas) danced with Honeycutt Rodeo's Round Robin.
Cody "Hot Sauce" DeMoss keeps racking up average titles collecting yet another in Laughlin. DeMoss (Heflin, La.) finished with 164 points on two head adding $4,658 to his world standings.
Canadian barrel racer Deb Renger added another Tour Round victory to her accomplishments for 2006 and she did so in a rodeo-best time. Renger (Okotoks, Alberta) rode her 10-year old Rainer clocking a time of 16.75 seconds. The fastest run prior to Sunday's final round, was turned in by Terri Kaye Kirkland in the second round with a 16.91-second run. Renger left Laughlin $4,807 richer. Kim Squires (Carnegie, Okla.) won the average title with three clean runs totaling 51.45 seconds and pocketed $5,876 in Laughlin.
For the past couple weeks bull rider Jason McClain has been watching his traveling partner Cody Hancock pull of big wins in Houston and Austin. On Sunday afternoon, it was McClain's turn to bask in the limelight. McClain (Lewis, Colo.) was one of only four riders to successfully make the eight-second whistle and he did so turning in an 84 on Honeycutt Rodeo's Black Elk. He also captured the average title with a total of 163 points on two head.
2004 World Champion Bull Rider Dustin Elliott finished just one point out of first place in the average after turning in a 79 in the Tour Round on Bar T Rodeo's Bo Honk. McClain picked up checks totaling $3,597, while Elliott (North Platte, Neb.) won $4,335.
The next Wrangler ProRodeo Tour stop will be the Clark County Fair & Rodeo in Logandale, Nev., on April 8.