For the second straight year, Stetson Wright left the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo as a two-time world champion.
In the 2021 Wrangler NFR presented by Teton Ridge there was a new twist.
After winning the all-around and bull riding world titles in 2020, Wright won the all-around and saddle bronc riding crowns in 2021 Saturday night before 17,373 fans at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Wright finished the season with a PRCA regular season record of $686,513. Wright won the all-around title with a record $585,850. He was the saddle bronc riding champ with $343,524.
This was Wright’s third all-around title in a row and he broke Trevor Brazile’s PRCA record for most money won in a season at $518,011, which he accomplished in 2015.
“I feel really good about it (breaking the record),” Wright said. “To break any record at all, it’s special, and especially when it comes to Trevor (Brazile) because he is the best to do it. So, to break one of his records, it’s pretty special.”
In saddle bronc riding, Wright had to have a bunch of the pieces of the puzzle come together in Round 10 and they did. Wright won Round 10 with a round-record tying ride of 93 points on Cervi Championship Rodeo’s Vitalix Ricky Bobby.
That earned him $26,997 and it pushed him to an eighth-place check in the average which earned him $6,532. The combination allowed him to edge his brother Ryder, the 2020 saddle bronc riding world champ, who finished the season with $342,337.
“I’m not going to lie, when they told me I won it, I looked at Ryder and I said I came in here to play defense for you tonight,” Stetson said. “I didn’t know I even had a chance but I guess as long as there’s still rounds there’s always a chance.”
Bareback rider Kaycee Feild makes more PRCA history
Kaycee Feild is the greatest bareback rider in PRCA history.
The Genola, Utah, cowboy made that a reality when he won sixth bareback world championship at the 2021 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo presented by Teton Ridge Saturday night at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Feild finished the season atop the PRCA | RAM World Standings with $357,420. Jess Pope finished second with $340,499.
“This is a numb feeling,” Feild said. “Honestly, I’ve dreamed about giving this speech a lot. I really have. It is an unreal feeling. What’s most important to me is my family and having them here and experiencing this with me. Then, the records I’m breaking and putting my name down in history which will last a lot longer than I’m alive. That’s much more valuable than any business or any piece of land, I could leave for my kids.
“The Feild name, the Feild legacy that my dad (late ProRodeo Hall of Famer Lewis Feild) started is something I’m very proud of. I’m very proud of the heritage and legacy and everything that represents. This is a very big one for me. It’s hard to talk to tell you the truth. It is a lot of fun.”
Feild has won world championships in 2011-14 and 2019-20. He broke the all-time bareback riding world championship tie at five with ProRodeo Hall of Famers Joe Alexander and Bruce Ford.
Feild clinched his latest title with his 89.5-point ride on Pickett Pro Rodeo’s New Scarlet. That placed him second in the round, which earned him $21,336. He also placed second in the average with 872.5 points on 10 head. Pope won the average with 873 points and collected $69,234, but Feild earned $56,171 to hold off Pope.
Feild also won the RAM Top Gun Award with $231,564. The Top Gun Award goes to the NFR contestant who wins the most money in one event not counting ground money.
Tyler Waguespack collects his third steer wrestling world title
Tyler Waguespack is back on PRCA’s championship throne.
The Gonzales, La., cowboy won his third world championship by earning $289,791.
Waguespack, who also won world crowns in 2016 and 2018, finished third in Round 10 with a 4.2-second run to collect $16,111 and then finished second in the average with a 48.1-second time on 10 head to earn $56,171. Will Lummus, who won the average, finished second in the world standings with $248,168.
“This one I think is a little bit better, I felt like I came out of nowhere after having that broken barrier (in Round 2 with a 13.1-second run),” Waguespack said. “I just had to keep my foot on the gas and had to keep winning every single round. At no point in the 10 rounds did I safety up, it was full steam ahead all the way.”
Sage Kimzey adds seventh world title to his collection
Sage Kimzey is once again atop PRCA’s bull riding mountain.
Kimzey captured his seventh bull riding world championship in eight years, earning $411,465. Kimzey only trails Don Gay who finished his career with a PRCA record eight bull riding world championships.
Kimzey won third in the average and held off Josh Frost, who finished second in the world standings with $363,353. Kimzey clinched his crown by splitting second in Round 10 with his 88-point ride on Cervi Championship Rodeo’s Greeley Hat Works Centerfold.
“Yeah, I mean it was a long 10 days for sure,” Kimzey said. “But it’s the best 10 days of our lives every year so it’s just fun. There’s a lot of ups and downs but at the end of the day it the NFR.”
Kimzey finished fifth in the world standings a year ago and was thrilled to be a world champ again.
“For sure, I wanted to be at the top always,” Kimzey said. “It was one of those things where last year didn’t go as planned so I just get back on, try harder, and do better.”
Tie-down roper Caleb Smidt collects third world championship
Tie-down roper Caleb Smidt always seems to rope his best at the Wrangler NFR.
That trend continued in 2021.
Smidt clocked a 7.8-second time in Round 10 to secure his third world title and third NFR average title.
The Texas cowboy finished his season with $318,455. Smidt also won world championships and average titles in 2015 and 2018.
“I had a great calf tonight,” Smidt said. “They placed on her twice, I think. She was awesome and my horse has been lights out all week, he has been great. He’s been giving me a chance all week from slow calves to fast calves, he gives me a chance every time I back in there. There was lots of praying this week and God came through in all 10 rounds and I’m just blessed to be here.”
Smidt won the average with 83.1 seconds on 10 head.
Team ropers Driggers and Nogueira win gold buckles
The wait is over for standout team ropers Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira.
The duo won their first team roping header and team roping heeler world titles. Driggers finished with $263,227 and Nogueira earned $277,612. Back in 2016, Nogueira became the first Brazilian world champion in PRCA history by winning the all-around world title. He now becomes the first Brazilian to win a team roping world championship.
“This is awesome to achieve this dream,” Nogueira said. “We have been really close and worked really hard to do this. If God’s not in control and he’s not out in the front and it is not our time. We have been here before and had the experience and Kaleb did a great job like always. I wanted to heel behind this guy and I think God put us together for us a reason and I want to glorify God for this title.”
Driggers and Nogueira finished third in the average with a 52.6-second time on nine head. They had a 7.1-second time in Round 10 to secure their titles.
“We have been in this situation a lot and to finally have it go our way is amazing,” Driggers said. “I’m kind of a numbers guy so I kind of had it all mapped out and knew what we needed to be. Until they came back and told us we had won we still were not sure just because I have been so close so many times. I have been reserve world champion four times and to finally get over the hump is great and without God we would not be here.”
Jordon Briggs snares barrel racing world and average titles
Barrel racer Jordon Briggs had quite the 2021 Wrangler NFR, winning the world championship and the average championship.
Briggs clocked 136.83 seconds on 10 head, a new record.
“Oh man it means a lot,” Briggs said. “That was my goal coming into here. I knew I had the horse that could do that, and he did it. I had so many people cheering for me. I even had bull riders I have never met cheering for me. It was great. I felt a lot of power behind me and didn’t want to let anyone down and my horse never does.
“I am a very average-minded person and that is why this was my goal. I was really disappointed the first year I made it that I didn’t place in the average. That is what I had out for blood this trip was that average title. And to set the average record was icing on the cake.
“Rollo has not hit a barrel all year long. He is definitely a unicorn.”
(Press release courtesy of the PRCA.)