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NFR Day 1: Stevensville's Richmond Champion, Deer Lodge's Chase Brooks, Helena's Ty Erickson cash checks

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Posted at 11:27 PM, Dec 08, 2023

LAS VEGAS — The 2023 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo got under way a day late at the Thomas & Mack Center, and Montanas contingent of competitors made their marks in the opening round.

Richmond Champion of Stevensville finished in a four-way tie for fourth place in bareback riding, scoring a ride of 83.5 atop Andrews Rodeo's Cash & Carry. Champion pocketed $6,348. Rocker Steiner of Weatherford, Texas, won Round 1 with an 87-point ride.

In saddle bronc, Deer Lodge's Chase Brooks had a Round 1 ride of 85 points on Flying U Rodeo's Get Down, which was good for a second-place tie with three others. Melstone's Sage Newman didn't place with a ride of 75.5.

Zeke Thurston of Big Valley, Alberta, won the bareback event with a ride of 86.5.

Helena's Ty Erickson, the 2019 world champion, claimed a $15,601 check with a 4.3-second time in steer wrestling, tying for third place. No. 3-ranked Jesse Brown of Baker City, Oregon, once a Montana State University cowboy, finished out of the money in Round 1 with a time of 4.9.

Dalton Massey of Hermiston, Oregon, had a 3.5-second run to win the first round of steer wrestling.

Haven Meged of Miles City didn't place in Round 1. The world's No. 3 tie-down roper had a time of 8.8 seconds on Friday. John Douch of Huntsville, Texas, was the winner with a 7.7-second run.

Circle-area native Lisa Lockhart also did not place in the first round in barrel racing, finishing with a time of 14.16 seconds. A 13.71-second ride by Sissy Winn was good for the Round 1 victory.

In other Round 1 events, Clint Summers (Lake City, Florida) and Jake Long (Coffeyville, Kansas) took the win in team roping in 4.2 seconds, while Ky Hamilton of Mackay, Queensland, Australia, was the bull riding winner, scoring 86.5 atop Cervi Championship Rodeo's Vitalix Theodore.

The opening round of the NFR was originally scheduled to begin Thursday night at the Thomas & Mack Center but was postponed one day following the deadly shooting that occurred on the campus of UNLV earlier Thursday.

Round 2 will begin at approximately 7 p.m. Mountain time on Saturday.