Chase Dougherty at NFR

Chase Dougherty rides Beutler and Son's Dirty Dan in the eighth round of the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas Thursday. He split the round with Joe Frost. They both scored an 89.5. Chase is from Canby, Ore., part of the Columbia River Circuit.

It wasn’t a vastly different result, but the result did end in a paycheck for Ellensburg’s Jake Pratt. And while they come out of the same set of chutes, it wasn’t a similar outcome for Ellensburg’s Minor brothers as the duo suffered their third straight no-time.

Such is the roller coaster of momentum, luck and trends at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.

Pratt won his fifth go-round check — splitting fourth place four ways for $5,500 on Thursday — and moved up another spot in the average from 11th to 10th after his 7.6-second time. Pratt had a bit of difficulty with the wrap after flanking his calf but was able to quickly recover and complete the run. He shared the fourth-place finish with Cory Solomon, Shane Hanchey and average leader Caleb Smidt. Pratt boosted his season earnings to $147,588 and is 10th in the world standings.

Ryan Jarrett — who opened the NFR with three straight no-times — has recovered quite well. Jarrett won the round with a 7.3-second time, his fourth straight check.

“This feels good for sure that things are going my way a little better,” Jarrett said in a PRCA release.

Tuf Cooper and Tyson Durfey are 1-2 in the world standings with $191,940 and $180,940 but are eighth and ninth in the average (which pays eight deep). Smidt is sixth in the world and leads the average by 3.6 seconds over Rhen Richard but is less than $29,000 behind Cooper. Winning the average pays $67,269, but that’s only after the ninth and 10th round paydays that are still yet to come.

It’s similar in team roping as in there are multiple paths to the Gold Buckle, but too much can happen in the final two rounds to figure out which path will be taken. Bubba Buckaloo and Chase Tryan won Thursday’s round with a 3.6-second steer for $26,231, but while the duo is third in the world standings, they are 11th in the lucrative average with just four qualified times. Aaron Tsinigine and Trey Yates lead the average as the only team with eight qualified runs, but are a bit down in the standings. So, who are the teams to beat? The Nos. 1 and 2 teams in the world (Clay Smith/Paul Eaves and Kaleb Driggers/Junior Nogueira) are fourth and second in the average (26.0 on six runs for Smith/Eaves; 37.3 on seven for Driggers/Nogueira). Smith and Eaves split second three ways on Thursday for $15,795 while Driggers and Nogueira went without a check.

Brady and Riley Minor came into Thursday’s eighth round 10th in the average with the likelihood of moving up slim, which then forces a team to choose go-round money over trying to make the average work. The duo had a no-time and have just four qualified runs on the week. The team is just a shade under $140,000 for the year.

It’s common to discuss saddle bronc riding while mentioning a Wright family member in the same breath. With two more rounds to go, people are talking about two Wrights and a brother-in-law. Defending world champion Ryder Wright leads the standings with $243,194, just $11,300 ahead of younger brother Rusty Wright in second place. Down in the standings in ninth is CoBurn Bradshaw, but Bradshaw leads the eight-round average and is in prime position to claim the $67,269 average win on Saturday if he holds on to the lead. It probably won’t win the world title, but it could make it close. Rusty Wright and Chase Brooks split the go-round win with identical 90-point rides. It was Brooks’ second straight go-round split. Rusty Wright is third in the average and Ryder Wright is ninth.

Bulldoggers Tyler Waguespack and Will Lummus have put on quite a display during the past eight days of steer wrestling. Lummus has placed in seven rounds (including splitting fourth with a 4.1-second steer) and Waguespack’s 3.7-second run won the round (his sixth check), supplanting Curtis Cassidy from the world standings lead. Lummus still leads the average over Waguespack by 1.3 seconds, and the difference in average payday between first and second place is $12,700. However, Waguespack holds an $14,100 advantage in the world standings over Lummus ($192,744 to $178,682).

“I try not to get nervous, but in the back of your mind it’s always going to be there,” Waguespack told the PRCA. “It absolutely helps that I’ve been through this before and won (the world title in 2016). It takes some of the pressure off, but still, it is the world title, so you’re going to have pressure on you the whole time.”

Bull riders Chase Dougherty and Joe Frost split the go-round win one day after Dougherty won the seventh round for himself. The duo shared 89.5-point rides on Thursday. Frost holds a 2.5-point lead in the average over Dougherty (436.5 to 434 on five bulls) and Jeff Askey also has five qualified rounds under his belt to complete the top three in the average. Four-time defending world champion Sage Kimzey suffered his third straight buckoff and is ninth in the average with three rides, but holds a commanding $133,600 lead in the world standings over Parker Breding.

Similar to Kimzey, barrel racing world leader Hailey Kinsel had a slipup during Thursday’s eighth round, tipping a barrel for a five-second penalty and letting off the gas as she crossed the line for a 19.5-second run. She fell to eighth in the average, but with more than $300,000 in earnings, she’s clearly the lady to beat. Taci Bettis won the round – and her fourth straight check – with the 13.57-second pattern. Carman Pozzobon jumped into the average lead over Jessica Routier when Pozzobon stopped the clocked in 13.7 seconds.

In bareback riding Shane O’Connell won the round with an 89 on Powder River’s Black Leg for $26,231. Tim O’Connell (no relation) was seventh – one spot out of the pay window – with an 84.5. Steven Dent and Tilden Hooper are 1-2 in the average, with Tim O’Connell in third. Caleb Bennett leads Tim O’Connell in the world standings by $13,200 ($240,300 to $227,100), but Bennett is seventh in the average.

Both Tuf Cooper in tie-down and Rhen Richard in team roping won money toward the All-Around standings. Cooper is just a grand behind Trevor Brazile ($298,026 to $297,030) with Richard a distant third ($203,647). Brazile is sixth in the tie-down average, Cooper is eighth, but Richard is second. Richard is also third in the heading standings with his heeler, Quinn Kesler. While he’s nearly $100,000 behind Brazile and Cooper in the All-Around standings, his average paydays in two events will make things interesting to say the least.

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