LAS VEGAS — Championship Saturday at the National Finals Rodeo is wrapping up a little closer to Christmas this year than usual. After all, cowboys and cowgirls only have a few shopping days left.
Leading into Saturday's title round at 6:45 p.m. MST, a trio of Montana and Wyoming cowboys were happy to reflect on why this holiday season, in particular, stands out.
Santa's goody bag is apparently better than ever. He's now delivering kids.
"We're actually just past 10 weeks, so just getting to take that in and realize we're going to be parents, it does make it pretty special this year," said Wyoming saddle bronc rider Brody Cress, who's second in the NFR average which pays generously when the dust settles.
"That's another thing, I had to come out and do my job to be able to pay for diapers and everything for when that little guy comes along," Cress said with a smile.
Melstone saddle bronc rider Sage Newman draws the best of both worlds this month as he's in contention for a world title.
"December is always a good time. You've got the NFR and Christmas rolling around," Newman said. "Winter time and this is kind of the time I'm home, too. So, it's nice to be home and see the family and hang out with everybody."
Like Cress, Stevensville bareback rider Richmond Champion and his wife are adding a new stocking to their mantle. And when he's traveling this time of year, Champion said he's used to a heavy dose of holiday music in the truck well before this month.
"I love Christmas," he said. "Caleb Bennett, I've traveled with him for years, he's got Christmas music usually playing in the truck come November. Like, he's just that guy."
As for his growing family, Champion said: "I'm excited this year to make some traditions with my wife and our little boy."