(Editor's note: PRCA media contributed to this story)
LAS VEGAS - Edgar bull rider Parker Breding was back on rodeo’s big stage for the first time since 2018 and didn’t waste the opportunity to make an impact.
Breding delivered a 90-point trip on Outlawbuckers Rodeo’s Lose Your Bones to take the Round 2 win for $29,827 one night after finishing out of the money. Breding's only other NFR round win came in 2015.
“This feels amazing,” Breding said. “I knew I could do it. I’ve been here many years and I’ve only won one go-round before this one, so I was really wanting to use this opportunity tonight. I knew it was possible. I had to stay forward on that bull, I knew that. I’d been on him before and he got ahead of me so that’s all I was really thinking about.”
Breding matched up with Lose Your Bones this summer and failed to make the whistle.
“Tonight, I left there with him,” he said. “He left me behind that first time I had him, so I really concentrated on staying forward, moving with him, and letting him do his thing. That got me around the corner just right.”
This is Breding’s fourth trip to the NFR with his others coming in 2013, 2015 and 2018.
Former Montana State cowboy Shane Proctor (Grand Coulee, Wash.) placed third with 86.5 on Yet's Big Poisen for $18,941. Facing a tough pen, only four riders scored qualified rides Friday night.
Deer Lodge's Chase Brooks is 2-for-2 on NFR saddle bronc checks.
After splitting Thursday's win, Brooks rode Three Belles for 85.5 and $18,374, finishing behind Brody Cress (Hillsdale, Wyo.) who popped for 87.5 aboard Kitty Whistle to win $26,997.
“The horse was awesome," Cress said. "I got to see her a lot but never got the chance to get on her. She always gives guys a great opportunity to be towards the top of the leaderboard, so I knew if I jumped out and did my job, she’d help me out.”
Cress has started the Wrangler NFR with back-to-back 87.5-point rides, which has him smiling.
“It’s been good so far. I’m just focusing on taking it one horse at a time and being as strong and correct as I can on every single horse. I look at it as ten one-day rodeos, not one big rodeo that’s ten rounds.”
Cress is third in the world standings with $195,333, which has him focused on his first career gold buckle.
“You know that’s definitely the plan,” he said. “I’m just going to do my job and keep taking it one horse at a time and preparing myself to be as successful as I can.”
Melstone newcomer Sage Newman was bucked off in saddle bronc.
Circle native Lisa Lockhart smoked through barrel racing in 13.70 for a second-place finish, .14 behind Oklahoma's Dona Kay Rule. Racing in her 15th NFR, Lockhart cashed in for $21,336 and has earned more money at the Super Bowl of Rodeo than any barrel racer in history.
In tie-down roping, 2019 world champion Haven Meged is on the board after a third place finish. The Miles City cowboy turned in a time of 8.2 to earn $16,111. Shad Mayfield (Clovis, NM) clocked in at 7.2 head of Cory Solomon's (Prairie View, TX) 7.8.
Jess Pope (Waverly, Kan.) claimed his second bareback round victory with his 89.5-point ride on Big Stone Rodeo Inc.’s Fired Up.
“This feels awesome,” Pope said. “The NFR is starting the way I want it to. I had only seen that horse (Fired Up) once. I saw Caleb Bennett get on that horse in Walla Walla (Wash.) and I thought boy that horse bucks. I was happy to get on him.”
For 16 seconds of work in Round 1 and Round 2, Pope has earned $53,994. That cash grab has moved Pope up to second in the PRCA | RAM World Standings with $174,018.
“That’s awesome. This is how I put food on the table. This is what I live for right here. I will go buy some cows when I get home.
“This is just a matter of doing my job. I know if I show up here and do my job every day and continue to try and win and perfect everything I do, then the cards are going to lay where they lay. God has a plan and I’m just living it.”
Tavenner keeps rolling in steer wrestling with another win
A day after splitting the Round 1 win with Riley Duvall, Dirk Tavenner didn’t share the spotlight in Round 2.
The Rigby, Idaho cowboy clocked a 3.4-second run to capture the victory.
“I guess we all imagine things like that when we are kids, but it’s sure way different in real life,” Tavenner said about his second round win in a row. “I was expecting him to run, I knew I got a good start, then I worried a bit that I might have broken the barrier, but I snagged him.”
Tavenner has earned $51,164 in the first two days at the 2021 NFR and is second in the world standings with $130,212.
“My plan before I got here was just to run at the barrier and see what happens,” Tavenner said. “There is still a lot of rodeo left, so I’ll just see what happens each night.”
When their regular partners didn’t qualify for the 2021 Wrangler NFR, Derrick Begay and Brady Minor teamed up.
It didn’t take long for the veteran ropers to find their rhythm together.
Begay/Minor stopped the clock in 3.9 seconds to win Round 2.
The run by Begay/Minor was one tenth of a second off the NFR Round 2 record shared by Turtle Powell/Dakota Kirchenschlager (2014) and Dustin Egusquiza/Travis Graves (2020).
“You do all the thinking before you nod your head,” Begay said. “It happens so fast, and you try and ride your horse well and give your partner the best chance you can.”
Minor wasn’t overthinking himself when he arrived at Thomas & Mack Center.
“It was a good steer and when you make a run like that, it just has to happen,” Minor said. “Everybody has a game plan to be fast every night and our game plan was to try and leave them straight and place when we can place and try and catch all 10. I decided to throw faster than maybe I should have and luckily, I was fortunate enough to catch him.
“We were just hoping for the best. We are older now and been here a few times and know the routine. We didn’t have the greatest odds. Everybody else has been practicing every day together and roped all year together and the odds were stacked against us, and we are happy so far.”