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NFR Round 8 highlights: Melstone saddle bronc rider Sage Newman splits go-round win

Sage Newman
Posted at 10:00 PM, Dec 14, 2023

LAS VEGAS — Sage Newman continues to chase his first world title as the 2023 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo begins to wind down.

Meltone's Newman has been battling Zeke Thurston of Big Valley, Alberta, for the world No. 1 ranking in saddle bronc, and the two dueled again Thursday night in Round 8 at the Thomas & Mack Center.

"In this place, Thomas & Mack, it's ruthless. They don't care who you are or what you've done," Newman said afterward. "It'll eat you up and spit you out. It don't matter, so you've got to do what you've been doing all year long and have fun mostly."

Newman and Thurston each had 87.5-point rides to split the go-round win three ways with Brody Cress of Hillsdale, Wyo., who also rode to 87.5 points. Newman, who came into Thursday ranked No. 2 in the world, was on Three Hills Rodeo's Devil's Advocate and won a $24,433 check.

Meanwhile, Chase Brooks of Deer Lodge finished out of the money in saddle bronc following an 83.5-point ride on Calgary Stampede's Y U R Friskey.

A night after setting a new arena tie-down roping record, No. 2-ranked roper Haven Meged of Miles City pulled a time of 7.7 seconds to place third and earn a check of $18,325. Meged entered Round 8 at No. 1 in the average.

"I'm in a good spot in the average but an average title isn't going to give you a gold buckle if he's $60,000-$70,000 ahead of you," a determined Meged said.

Hunter Herrin of Apache, Okla., won Thursday's tie-down roping event with a 7.4-second run.

Stevensville cowboy Richmond Champion got the night started in bareback riding with an 85.5-point effort on Three Hills Rodeo's Tarnished Silver. That was good for fourth place and a $12,877 payday, Champion's first check in five nights.

Jess Pope of Waverly, Kansas, won the bareback event in Round 8 with an 88.5-point ride.

Circle native Lisa Lockhart and her horse Levee had a Round 8 run of 13.66 seconds in barrel racing. That gave them a sixth-place tie, good for $6,438. Kassie Mowry of Dublin, Texas, won the round in a blazing 13.30, the fastest run of this year's NFR.

In steer wrestling, Helena bulldogger Ty Erickson had a 3.8-second effort Thursday to tie for third place and claim $15,601. Ex-Montana State University rodeo team member Jesse Brown (Baker City, Ore.) finished out of the money with a 4.2-second performance. Brown sits at No. 4 in the average.

Bridger Anderson of Carrington, N.D., was the Round 8 winner in steer wrestling with a time of 3.3 seconds.

The team roping event saw the Texas duo of Tyler Wade and Wesley Thorp win Thursday's round with an arena record-tying time of 3.3 seconds. In bull riding, Tristen Hutchings of Monteview, Idaho, won Round 8 with an 89-point ride.

Round 9 of the 65th Wrangler NFR — the second-to-last round — will be held Friday beginning at 7 p.m. Mountain time at the Thomas & Mack Center.