The 2012 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo gets underway tonight in Las Vegas with the first of 10 rounds of competition at the Thomas and Mack Arena on the campus of UNLV. It airs on the GAC channel at 8-pm. ]
Each of the 10 rounds pays the winner $18,257…which goes toward the World Championship standings. The scores or times from the 10 rounds are also added together for an average that determines the WNFR winner, who earns another $46,820 and a saddle.
World Champions are determined by adding together a contestant’s WNFR and regular season earnings, bringing them a traditional gold buckle that signifies they are the world’s best in the sport of rodeo.
Of top interest locally are two former World Champions…2-time champion Steer Wrestler Dean Gorsuch of Gering, an Alliance High School graduate, and 2006 Saddle Bronco champ Chad Ferley of Oelrichs.
Gorsuch comes into the NFR sitting third with $87,000 in earnings…just $11,000 out of first…despite losing two horses, one to a broken leg and the other to a brain anuerism. This is the 7th trip to Las Vegas for Gorsuch.
Ferley has only a slim chance of claiming his second Saddle Bronco title. He sits 6th with $76,000…leaving him $57,000 behind the leader.
Steven Dent of Mullen is 2nd in both Bareback Riding and the All-Around Standings. There’s no way he’s catching perennial All-Around winner Trevor Brazile…his $144,000 in earnings is $104,000 less than Brazile…but he’s less than $900 out of 1st in Bareback with $141,000.
Two other Nebraskans also made the WNFR competition…Cort Scheer of Elsmere is 10th in Saddle Broncs at just under $68,000 while Barrel Racer Trula Churchill of Valentine sits 14th with just under $61,000.
Also from the Double Q Country listening area are two South Dakotans… Steer Roper Todd Suhn of Hermosa, and Barrel Racer Lisa Lockhart of Oelrichs. Both are 9th in their events…Suhn with $66,000 and Lockhart with $72,000.
As for Trevor Brazile, he comes in with a record 9 All-Around World Championships, 3 in Steer Roping, 3 in Tie-Down Roping, and 1 in Team Roping.
His almost certain All-Around victory will be his record 7th in a row and would give him a record 17 World Champion gold buckles by a multi-event cowboy.
If he and partner Patrick Smith win in Team Roping, Brazile would match legendary Steer Roping specialist Guy Allen for the most championship buckles overall with 18, and he would become the first cowboys with multiple world championships in 4 different categories.