(Editor's note: PRCA media contributed to this story)
LAS VEGAS – Chase Brooks is giving it his best shot at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.
The Deer Lodge saddle bronc rider earned his third straight NFR paycheck with a third place Saturday night. Brooks, who scored 86.5 aboard Awesome Sauce, now sits 4th in the PRCA world standings with $166,389.35 earned this season. Saturday's effort was good for another $16,111 after Brooks split first place money on opening night and took second in Round 2.
Melstone newcomer Sage Newman was held scoreless for the second straight night. Tegan Smith (Winterset, Iowa) won the round with 91 points aboard Yesterday's Delivery.
Edgar bull rider Parker Breding picked up his second check in three nights with an 88 aboard Soy El Fuego. That notched a third place finish in the round and netted him another $18,941. Breding shot to third in the world standings with $161,482.59.
Bareback rider Kaycee Feild came to the Wrangler NFR as the reigning world champ and is still on a quest for a PRCA record 6th bareback gold buckle.
Feild took a step in that direction by winning Round 3 with a 90-point ride on Frontier Rodeo’s Full Baggage.
“This rodeo I have watched it from sitting in the stands to watching my dad to competing in it and I’ve learned what I think are all the tricks,” Feild said. “Round 3 it is awesome to win it and it feels great. I want to keep chipping away a little bit at a time. There is still a lot of rodeo left.
“Not only a lot of money, but there are a lot of things can happen in seven rounds with this caliber of bucking horses that are coming up.”
Feild moved to second in the world standings with $178,964.
“That horse was more than I was expecting. I’ve been on that horse three or four times now and he kind of had a few different things coming right out of there,” Feild said. “At about six seconds, he was coming toward that fence and boy he was getting higher and not traveling as much ground and it was a little dicey.”
Feild now has 24 career NFR round wins, which puts him in second place on the all-time bareback riding list one behind Bobby Mote.
Bull rider Creek Young didn’t have the best first ride Saturday, but it did leave him in the money.
The Resistol Rookie of the Year, however, didn’t come to place – he came to win.
Young took his re-ride and it paid dividends as he had a 92-point ride on Stace Smith Pro Rodeo’s Evil Intentions to claim the Round 3 title.
“Well, I bucked off two the past two nights and I didn’t think a 74 would help me in the average after falling down on two,” Young said. “I figured I might as well take it and once I saw it was that bull (Evil Intentions), I knew I had to. I’ve been on that bull, rode him before, and he was great.”
Young said his faith has helped him accomplish things like he did on Saturday.
“The good Lord has helped me out in so many ways and I couldn’t have done it without him,” Young said. “I knew I just needed to do my job a little bit better and that’s the only reason I went down on those two previous ones.”
After earning $29,827, Young sits third in the world standings with $183,339.
“Ride as many as I can and win as many as I can,” Young said of his approach the rest of the NFR.
Steer wrestler Tristan Martin is making his first appearance at the Wrangler NFR and it became much more memorable after Saturday night.
Martin collected the Round 3 crown with a 3.7-second run.
“I don’t think it has registered quite yet, but it’s something every kid dream’s about and getting to go get that go round buckle is going to be cool,” Martin said.
Martin, who was riding FedEx, is third in the world standings with $118,180.
Caleb Smidt has proven he’s one of the best tie-down ropers in the PRCA as evident by his two world championships in 2015 and 2018.
The Bellville, Texas, cowboy delivered again with a 7.1-second run to win Round 3.
“Guys really went for it tonight and I just was able to come out ahead,” he said. “My calf ran hard, straight and she was awesome and worked out great. Anytime you get to rope for $26,000, it never gets old, I can promise you that.”
Smidt once again is riding his standout horse Pockets, who he was quick to credit.
“I’ve rode him here every time but my rookie year. He backs in there and does his job every time, so it’s all on me, if I don’t win.”
Team ropers Rhen Richard/Jeremy Buhler set the pace with a 4.2-second run to win Round 3.
“There’s nothing like winning a round at the NFR,” Richard said. “This is great for our confidence and I’m excited for the next seven rounds.”
Buhler, who won a world championship in 2016, was thrilled with his performance.
“I really liked that steer,” Buhler said. “The first two rounds I got there too soon and for me it was just a matter of staying off the cow a little more, a position adjustment. We just need to take it one steer at a time. There’s still so much roping I’m not too concerned about the standings. I’m going to enjoy tonight and come back and get them (Sunday).”
Barrel racer Stevi Hillman made a 13.70-second run to win Round 3 at the Wrangler NFR.
And, Hillman was quick to credit her horse Lemon Drop.
“She is a free running mare and she gets stronger every run,” Hillman said. “The most important part of being in this tiny pen is being honest and I knew she would stay honest with me. I told myself as long as she handled everything mentally being just a 5-year-old, we would just keep making one run at a time.
“That first barrel here is so tricky, and I don’t care how many times people tell you how to run it, it is a feel and I didn’t do that well the first round but she stayed honest. We are adjusting and getting our timing down and she is taking care of me. She was dialed in tonight and I wasn’t but she took care of me.”