LAS VEGAS— Montana and Wyoming owned the bareback, saddle bronc and tie-down roping events Friday night at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
With Houston Astros star Alex Bregman in the house, Caleb Bennett, Brody Cress and Haven Meged turned in MVP performances to win first-place money in Round 9 at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.
Bennett picked up his first round win of the NFR riding Medicine Show for 88 points. The Corvallis cowboy knew he might fly under the radar when he saw his draw.
"In the back of my mind when I saw I had him, I thought it might be kind of a sleeper that not a whole lot of guys know to win a round on," Bennett said. "Heck, it paid off. That horse gave me everything I wanted, felt good, kicked, really gave me a chance to do my job. It was fun."
Stevensville's Richmond Champion was first out of the chutes and scored 83 on Sesame Street. He set the tone but was ultimately bumped out of Friday's money.
Wyoming's Brody Cress hit a 91-point jackpot aboard Kangaroo Lou to win the saddle bronc and move closer to that average win. The Hillsdale cowboy has cashed in on six of the nine rounds and leads the average Cress is third in the world standings.
Chase Brooks placed third with 89 points aboard Sun Glow. The Deer Lodge cowboy has also won money in six rounds and sits second in the average money standings. Brooks is fourth in the world. Utah brothers Stetson and Ryder Wright are first and second respectively entering Saturday's championship round.
NFR rookie Sage Newman of Melstone was bucked off of Amazon Hills.
Miles City's Haven Meged won for the second time in three nights with a quick time of 7.3 seconds in tie-down roping. The 2019 world champion has been hot in the back half of this NFR placing first or second over the last four nights. Meged, who won another $26,997 Friday, is third in the NFR average and fourth in the world after opening the NFR in 11th place.
Will Lumus took the steer wrestling with a time of 4.3 seconds. The Mississippi cowboy also leads the average by over two seconds.
Clay Tryan earned money for the fourth time in five nights. He and Jake Long finished in 4.4 seconds to split sixth place. Brenten Hall missed the head with Helena partner Chase Tryan and took a no time.
First time qualifier Amanda Welsh from Gillette, Wyo., turned in her top performance in a time of 13.54 for third place. She's ninth in the average and seventh in the WPRA world standings.
Circle native Lisa Lockhart was out of Friday's money with a time of 13.81 and sits 13th in the world.
In bull riding Parker Breding was bucked off for only the third time at this NFR. The average title Saturday night now comes down to Breding and Josh Frost, the only pair to ride six bulls this week. Shane Proctor, who is so beat up it's amazing he still climbs was bucked off.
Shane Proctor was bucked off of Armed and Dangerous. Proctor is so beat up it's amazing he still climbs on at this NFR.