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NFR Day 5: Helena's Ty Erickson rebounds with strong steer wrestling performance

Ty Erickson
Posted at 9:34 PM, Dec 12, 2023

LAS VEGAS — Ty Erickson spent the previous three nights at the 2023 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo on the outside of the steer wrestling go-round money list.

Tuesday's fifth round was a different story for the Helena bulldogger.

Erickson had his best performance of this year's NFR with a run of 3.7 seconds in Round 5. That placed him in a tie for third place, good for a $15,601 check. It was Erickson's second payday of the week, following his third-place showing in the first round with a 4.3-second showing.

Former Montana State University cowboy Jesse Brown (Baker City, Ore.) fashioned a 4.1-second run, good for $4,953 in sixth place. J.D. Struxness of Milan, Minn., won the steer wrestling round in 3.3 seconds.

Erickson and Brown were two of the three of Montana's contingent to cash checks.

In tie-down roping, Miles City's Haven Meged had a run of 8.1 seconds to place fourth and pocket $12,877 and win a check for the fourth straight night. Meged is now No. 1 in the average.

Caleb Smidt of Bellville, Texas, won the round with a 6.9-second run. Smidt has now won two rounds at this year's NFR.

Sage Newman of Melstone finished out of the money in saddle bronc on Tuesday. Atop Frontier Rodeo's Yellowstone, Newman had an 86-point ride.

Deer Lodge's Chase Brooks, meanwhile, was afforded a re-ride, which produced 85 points on Burch Rodeo's Lunatic From Hell. Brooks failed to place.

A 91-point ride gave the saddle bronc win to Zeke Thurston of Big Valley, Alberta, in Round 5. It was the first 90-point ride of this year's NFR.

After a placing for three straight nights, Circle-area native Lisa Lockhart failed to cash in Tuesday in barrel racing. Lockhart and her horse Levee had a run of 13.81 seconds. Summer Kosel of Glenham, S.D., was the barrel racing winner Tuesday with a time of 13.42 seconds.

In the night's first event, Stevensville's Richmond Champion scored 85.5 points in bareback on J Bar J's Straight Ringer, which left him out of the money. Jayco Roper (Oktaha, Okla.) and Clayton Biglow (Clements, Calif.) shared the Round 5 win with matching 89.5-point rides.

Luke Brown (Rock Hill, S.C.) and Hunter Koch (Vernon, Texas) won the fifth go-round of team roping with a run of 3.8 seconds. Tuesday's bull riding win went to seven-time world champion Sage Kimzey of Salado, Texas, who posted a 91-point ride.

Australian Ky Hamilton, the world's top-ranked bull rider who won Sunday's fourth round, was flung off his bull and injured Tuesday night. Hamilton was taken out of the Thomas & Mack Center by medical personnel on a spineboard.

Rounds 6 and 7 of the NFR will both be contested Wednesday. Round 6 is scheduled to being at 11 a.m. Mountain time with Round 7 beginning at 7 p.m. This scheduling anomaly is the result of last Wednesday's deadly shooting on the UNLV campus, which postponed the start of the 10-day NFR until Friday.