LAS VEGAS – Helena steer wrestler Ty Erickson has owned the PRCA regular season. He’s really owned the 2017 National Finals Rodeo as well. But Friday night’s bad break – when his steer dragged him around the arena for almost 30 seconds before Erickson could get his shoulder blades pinned – means he’ll need help in the Round 10 finale Saturday.
Erickson still leads the world with $235,767, but Tyler Pearson is now projected to win it all. Pearson is 2nd in the world standings with $210,880, but would easily make up the ground with a 2nd place NFR average check ($54,577) compared to 7th ($11,423) for Erickson.
Dakota Eldridge is also still alive in the title chase. He sits 4th in the world standings ($178,064), but leads the average, so if Pearson were to slip back, Eldridge could leapfrog the top three riders.
Wyoming’s Brody Cress is also still chasing a world title. The 21-year-old graduates from Tarleton State University Saturday night, but he’ll be inside the Thomas & Mack Arena trying to tip the saddle bronc world upside down by winning a title in his rookie season.
Cress is 5th in the world standings with $204,017, but leads the NFR average, so he’s actually projected to finish 2nd in the final tally right now to Utah teenager Ryder Wright. The 19-year-old leads the world with $273,515 after earning $174,000 at the National Finals alone. Wright sits 4th in the average, so if things ended right now, Cress would come up $33,960 short. Cowboys earn $26,231 for winning a round at the NFR, so if Cress wins Round 10 and Wright slips back to seventh or lower in the average, Cress would win the title.
Round 10 starts at 8:00 pm MDT. It will be televised on CBS Sports Network.