Cervi Takes Barrels, Ohl Wins Again

Photo Courtesy PRCA

LAS VEGAS, (PRCA) – Few cowboys have owned the Thomas & Mack Center like Cody Ohl, and the tie-down roper’s dominance continued in Round 8 of the 52nd Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

Ohl, of Hico, Texas, won his fourth round in five nights and 40th of his career at the Wrangler NFR in Round 8 after stopping the clock in 7.2 seconds. That time was two-tenths of a second faster than Shane Hanchey’s run and came a night after Ohl had a no-time.

Ohl is one only of three men – along with Billy Etbauer and Fred Whitfield – to earn more than $1 million at the Wrangler NFR alone, and he’s not done yet.

“I’m a little mad at stubbing my toe last night, so I really had a little extra oomph in there to really capitalize tonight,” Ohl said. “Last night, I missed, and my rope was a little too stiff. Tonight, I had it just a little too limber and got ahead of it. I kind of skipped (the rope) on that calf instead of roping it sharp, but (2009 AQHA/PRCA Tie-Down Roping Horse of the Year) Pearl cleaned it up like she always does.”

Ohl trails Trevor Brazile in the PRCA World Standings $175,077-$153,325, but is 11th in the Wrangler NFR average. He has now earned more money in eight days in Las Vegas ($76,827) than he did during the entire regular season ($76,498).

“I got a little frustrated, and when I get frustrated, it seems like it really drives me to make a statement on the very next calf,” Ohl said. “That calf, they were 10.9 on him, so I knew I had to put all the wraps on him. I had to do everything deliberately, and we ended up surviving.”

The first tie in the bareback riding featured a pair of world champions. Three-time and reigning World Champion Bobby Mote spurred Growney Brothers Rodeo’s Moulin Rouge for 86 points on the horse’s final trip, and 2008 World Champion Justin McDaniel matched that score on Andrews Rodeo’s Cool Water.

Both cowboys drew horses they’d had success on in the past, and they made the most of their reunions.

“I’ve had that horse a lot,” Mote said. “She’s from up in my circuit, and that’s probably the eighth time I’ve been on her. I’ve never been on her when I thought I had her knocked out, because she bucks so hard. Tonight was her last trip, and it’s an honor for me to be able to get on her.”

McDaniel, of Porum, Okla., is no stranger to winning on Cool Water

on a big stage.

“I had that horse last year in the third round and split that round with Jason Havens,” McDaniel said. “Cool Water is a bucker and is the one I wanted in this pen. I barely got by him, but it worked out. It’s finally good to get a big check, and I’m looking forward to these next two rounds.”

Mote and McDaniel will both figure in the gold buckle battle. McDaniel leads the Wrangler NFR average and is sixth in the world standings, while Mote, of Culver, Ore., is second in the average standings and third in the world.

On a sad note, bareback rider Matt Bright suffered a lumbar fracture when Carr Pro Rodeo’s Real Deal reared up in the chute and slammed him against the chute wall. He is out for the remainder of the Wrangler NFR and is expected to miss six to eight weeks of action.

After being held out of the pay window for four rounds, steer wrestler Jule Hazen broke through with his first Wrangler NFR go-round victory of his career (in his second appearance in Las Vegas) by stopping the clock in 3.6 seconds. The Ashland, Kan., bulldogger finished one-tenth of a second ahead of Canada’s Cody Cassidy – on Canada Night – and two-time World Champion Luke Branquinho.

“I’ve been waiting my whole life to be sitting here talking about this,” Hazen said. “This week has been tough, so to get that out of the way is a relief. I had a burden. It was just hanging over me, and I couldn’t get rid of it. With that particular steer, it’s one I had out in California when I was in a slump, and I ended up winning a round when I drew him. He’s kind of slump-buster, I guess you could say.”

Branquinho continues to lead the PRCA World Standings and is fourth in the average, while Billy Bugenig leads the average but is 10th in the world. Dean Gorsuch, the 2006 world champion, stands second in the average and third in the world and should have a say in who emerges with the bulldogging gold buckle in two days.

In the team roping, Derrick Begay and Cesar de la Cruz rebounded from three consecutive no-times by winning Round 8 with a 3.8-second run, seven-tenths of a second ahead of reigning World Champions Nick Sartain and Kollin VonAhn, who were coming off four straight no-times.

“It felt good to see my rope go around the horns again finally,” Begay said. “It started off well. I caught the first four, then I missed the next three, and it felt like I wasn’t going to catch another one.”

There were eight no-times in team roping in Round 8, and Begay and de la Cruz weathered the storm.

“I’ve been here five times, that’s (round win) number six for me, and it never gets old,” de la Cruz said. “I’ve always done better in the second half (of the Wrangler NFR). I get tired of losing, I think, and I really want to win bad. So, I think the second half pumps me up.”

Luke Brown and Martin Lucero lead the average standings and are sixth in the world, while Trevor Brazile and Patrick Smith are second in the average and second and third in the world, respectively. PRCA World Standings leaders Clay Tryan and Travis Graves are seventh in the average standings.

Saddle bronc rider Cody DeMoss made it two round wins in a row, thanks to an 86-pointer aboard Beutler & Son Rodeo’s Night Moves. DeMoss, who split Round 7 with his younger brother Heith, finished 1.5 points ahead of 2008 World Champion Cody Wright.

“I have split the ninth and 10th rides here before with Billy Etbauer, but this whole year has been storybook,” said DeMoss, who is third in the Wrangler NFR average and fifth in the world. “When I get my buckle (for Round 7), I’m going to get a picture of Heith and picture of me and put the buckle in there and frame it. I’m going to write everything down that happened, because it was wonderful. I don’t know if it is ever going to happen again.”

Wright leads the PRCA World Standings and is tops in the Wrangler NFR average rankings, while Wade Sundell stands second on both lists. Wright is averaging 85.18 points per round and is on pace to shatter Rod Hay’s Wrangler NFR average record of 826 points on two head. He needs only to average 72.25 points in the final two rounds to set a new mark.

Wrangler NFR rookie Tyler Smith won the bull riding a night after finishing second to two-time and reigning World Champion J.W. Harris, and he took home much more than the $17,512 first-place check. Smith, of Fruita, Colo., won Round 8 with an 84.5-point ride on Flying Diamond Rodeo’s Nobody’s Business and was the only one of the 15 bull riders to make the eight-second whistle.

Smith, who rode first in the order in the eighth round, also picked up $38,979 in ground money since no other cowboys were able to cover their bulls. That money won’t count for the PRCA World Standings, but it’ll spend just fine in Las Vegas for the 23-year-old.

“I knew I was going to win a round one night,” Smith said. “I was surprised I won the round tonight, because there were a bunch of good bulls out tonight. Those guys have been riding well all week. It has been tough. I thought if I was going to win a round, it would have been last night because I was 89 and won second.

So, I was pretty happy to win tonight with an 84 and being the only one to stay on, so I was pretty excited.”

Harris, the only bull rider to have covered six bulls thus far, continues to lead the Wrangler NFR average and is the world standings leader. Chad Denton, who was competing in his first Wrangler NFR, suffered a broken left tibia after being bucked off D&H Cattle’s Kool & Sexy. He is out for the rest of the event, and surgery is being scheduled to repair the break.

Two-time World Champion Barrel Racer Sherry Cervi took a big step toward putting the finishing touches on world title No. 3 in Round 8, and she did it in style. Cervi broke Brandie Halls’ arena record of 13.52 seconds from 2006 with a blistering 13.49-second run on her 8-year-old Palomino mare Stingray.

Her run was .15 seconds faster than Kelli Tolbert’s run and put Cervi’s Wrangler NFR earnings at $76,262. Cervi leads second-place Sears by $77,722 and is also leading the average race, making her a near mathematical lock to secure her third gold buckle.

“This has been one of those years that you dream about,” said Cervi, who won her first two gold buckles in 1995 and 1999. “Winning the average at the National Finals Rodeo means you’re doing something. It could end tomorrow, so I’m going to enjoy it while I can.

I was at the top of the ground tonight, and I knew I needed to take advantage of it.”

It was Cervi’s second consecutive round victory and third of the 10-day rodeo, and it pushed her season money total to $256,114. She is $67,456 shy of Lindsay Sears’ single-season earnings record from 2008 with two rounds and the average payout remaining.