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If a roper said it in the arena or publicly they’d probably get fined. Anyone who’s seen me throw a rope clearly knows I’m not a roper, so I can say it without penalty: I don’t want to flat out state that the team roping Minor brothers got the shaft in Monday’s fifth round at the National Finals Rodeo, but they certainly didn’t get the benefit of the doubt.

If you were there or watched it on TV or social media, there’s certainly a difference of opinion in Brady Minor’s heel catch on Monday. Riley Minor took a risk and got one on their steer with a long throw and Brady quickly wrapped the steer’s hind end. By my amateur angle, it was probably a 4.8, maybe 5-second round. Nope, it was a 5.7 with a 5-second leg penalty with the way the loop wrapped around the steer. So instead of fourth-place money of 11-grand, they’re out of luck on the night.

Did they get the raw end of the deal? I don’t know. But what I do know is this: whether it was a 3.7-second run or a 10.7, it has no bearing in how the brothers do in tonight’s sixth round and beyond. Like I quoted Riley in the adjoining story, “just stick with the plan, man” of one steer at a time. It’s cliché, but the cliché is true.

One final disclosure? Am I biased toward our local ropers? Unapologetically so.

Who’s had a heckuva NFR at the halfway point? It depends on the metric you’re using to make that decision. Take bronc rider Brody Cress. The Wyoming saddle bronc rider has placed in every round so far — the only person in the entire NFR to claim that distinction — and has picked up $51,333 with four fourth place runs and splitting fourth three ways. He’s 8.5 points out of the average lead behind Rusty Wright.

Take Shane Hanchey. The 2013 world tie-down champion is tied for the lead of the most money made in the entire NFR through five days. Two firsts, a second and third place will do that for you. In all, the Louisiana roper has earned $98,846. However, while he’s won the most, he might not be much of a factor in the average as he roped a no-time in the second round. He’s 10th in the average that pays out eight checks after Saturday’s 10th and final round.

Who is Hanchey tied with for the most earnings? That would be NFR rookie Emily Miller. Miller is running the cloverleaf pattern with the skill of a 10-time NFR veteran. Her fifth round of 13.95 split seventh on Monday (go rounds pay six places), but that doesn’t take away the fact that she has a 0.77-second lead over Ivy Conrado-Saebens.

If we’re going to talk big money, you’ve got to keep it with barrel racing as Amberleigh Moore is once again putting on a show.

This is Moore’s fourth straight year in Las Vegas and she’s on pace to do much of the same her previous three trips: Win a lot of money. Moore has earned $88,692 in five days, placing in four rounds. Like Hanchey’s second round no-time, Moore had a hiccup in the first round with two tipped barrels, pretty much taking her out of the running for a big average payday. Of course, Moore can just focus on earning first-place money of $26,231 each night. Here is Moore’s NFR haul from the previous three years: $147,232; $120,000; $187,692. Doing some quick math, that adds up to … a lot.

You know who has been riding well, but needs a check? Steven Dent. The bareback rider has covered all five of his horses but finds himself 1 to 3.5 points out of the pay window nightly. Dent’s a 10-year NFR veteran, so he knows things can change in one night, but it still has to make a guy throw his hands up in the air in frustration.

Five more rounds to go and tonight’s sixth round can’t come soon enough.

Jon Guddat covers rodeo — from the kids to the kids at heart — with a weekly rodeo column in the Daily Record. Contact Jon with story ideas at jonguddat@yahoo.com.

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