Kansas Contestants Win Prize Money At National Finals Rodeo

A long ten days in Las Vegas created tension with excitement for Kansas competitors at the National Finals Rodeo (NFR).

After Saturday night’s final performance, dollars were tallied revealing the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) yearend standings.

This was Kansas’ representation at the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. They are Jake Long, Coffeyville; Tanner Brunner, Ramona; Mikhayla DeMott, Manhattan; and Cooper Martin, Alma.

Team Roping Heeling

Jake Long of Coffeyville was eighth in team roping heeling with $154,236 won throughout the year and at the finals.

With the same yearend winnings, Long’s team roping header Luke Brown of Rock Hill, Texas, was seventh in the headers division.

Going into his eighth trip to the finals, Long was ninth during the regular rodeo season with $88,173.

Connecting on five steers at the finals, Long’s time was 30.8-seconds, putting him 12th in the average.

He won money in five go-rounds. Best placing was in the seventh round where he was in a two-way tie for first with 3.9-seconds, worth $23,480.

His 4.2-seconds run put Long in a two-way tie for second in the fourth round to collect $18,192.

Two checks were $15,794 each, as Long was in a three-way tie for second place in two go-rounds. Interestingly, he had identical 4.6-seconds runs in both the first go-round, and the 10th go-round, collecting those three-way splits.

A 4.3-seconds run in the third go-round put Long in a three-way tie for fifth, to win $3,666.

Long was fourth in the yearend world standings in 2017, with $208,274. He was eighth in the average at the 2017 finals collecting $105,192.

With this year’s checks, Long has won more $1.54 million in professional rodeo arenas.

Paul Eaves, Lonedell, Texas, was the world champion team roping heeler with $289,921.

Tie-Down Roping

Cooper Martin of Alma was 13th in the yearend tie-down calf roping with total winnings of $162,861.

Going into his second trip to the finals, Martin was in seventh place in regular season standings with $91,938. Just 21-years-old, he was the youngest cowboy in the tie-down lineup.

All ten calves were roped and tied at the finals in a total of 107.1-seconds to place Martin sixth in the average. He collected two go-round checks.

Best run was in the sixth round where Martin won first place for 7.6 seconds and a check for $26,230.

His 7.4-seconds run in the tenth go-round put Martin in a two-way tie for second place to win $18,192.

Martin’s other times and placings include round-1, 8.9-seconds, ninth; round-2, 9-flat, eighth; round-3, 11.9-seconds, 11th; round-4, 9.1-seconds, 12th; round-5, 18-flat, 11th; round-7, 8.6-seconds, seventh; round-8, 17.5-seconds, 13th; and round-9, 9.1-seconds, eighth.

Martin was ninth in the 2017 tie-down world standings with $151,284. He was 14th at last year’s finals earning $65,846.

A total of $351,639 has been won by Martin in his two-year professional rodeo career.

Caleb Smith, Bellville, Texas, is the 2018 world’s champion tie-down roper with $232,817.

Steer Wrestling

In his first trip to the National Finals Rodeo, Tanner Brunner of Ramona threw nine steers in 95.5-seconds.

That placed Brunner ninth in the average, to be 15th in the yearend steer wrestling with $98,193 total winnings.  

Going into the finals, Brunner had finished the regular rodeo season in sixth place with $84,527.

Best finals placing for Brunner was his 4.6-seconds run in a three-way tie for fifth in the third go-round. That was worth $3,666.

Brunner’s additional go-round times and placings: round-1, 15.4 seconds, 10th; round-2, 18.2-seconds, 14th; round-4, 15-flat, 12th; round-5, 16.3-seconds, 13th; round-6, 6.7-seconds, 12th; round-7, 5.1-seconds, ninth; round-8, 8.2-seconds, 13th; and round-9, 6-flat, 12th. He had a no-time on his tenth steer.

Tyler Waguespack, Gonzales, Louisiana, was the 2018 world’s champion steer wrestler with $260,013.

Miss Rodeo America Pageant

Miss Rodeo Kansas 2018 Mikhayla DeMott, Manhattan, was eighth in the Miss Rodeo America pageant during the finals.

Twenty-eight contestants participated in the weeklong activities. Included were a horsemanship competition, written test on horse and rodeo knowledge, interviews, extemporaneous speaking and a fashion show.

Notable, Mikhayla sported a number of Western outfits fashioned by Miss Rodeo Kansas Brooke Wallace of New Cambria.

Mikhayla is the 24-year-old daughter of Mike and Robin DeMott. She is the audience engagement specialist for the Center for Rural Enterprise Engagement, hosting the television program “That’s My Farm.”

A graduate of Kansas State University, Mikhayla has a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications and journalism, and minor in leadership.

A fourth-generation rodeo competitor, Mikayla’s personal and professional mission is bridging the communication between entities beyond the sport of rodeo.

Miss Rodeo Mississippi Taylor McNair was crowned Miss Rodeo America 2019.

The Top Horse Award went to Floyd, owned by Bronc Rumford of Abbyville.

All-Around Champion

Trevor Brazile had nothing more to prove.

Not after 23 world titles, 13 all-around titles and more than $6.4 million in PRCA winnings. But this year’s NFR meant one more chance for the 42-year-old to showcase his greatness.

The Decatur, Texas, cowboy secured his 24th world title and 14th all-around championship by winning the final tie-down roping go-round. He finished with $335,679.

That was $25,322 more than second-place finisher, defending champion and brother-in-law Tuf Cooper.

Brazil said he’s retiring from full-time competition and may not compete in enough rodeos to qualify for another NFR. But, who really knows?

Brazile turned professional in 1996 and spent the past 22 years becoming perhaps the greatest cowboy in rodeo history.

Tie-down roping, team roping, steer roping; Brazile won checks in all three events throughout the year.

Brazile trailed Cooper by about $12,000 entering the 10th tie-down roping go-round, but tied his calf in 7.2-seconds to win. Cooper got called on the jerk-down rule and did not receive a time. Brazile surged into first place with the $26,330 prize.