Wrangler National Finals Rodeo: Round 4

AQHA members, including Fallon Taylor and "BabyFlo," showed their mettle December 7 at rodeo's Super Bowl in Las Vegas.

Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association

AQHA member Fallon Taylor won her second go-round at the 2014 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo before a sellout crowd of 17,600 at the Thomas & Mack Center Sunday. Her time of 13.85 seconds edged Round 2 winner Lisa Lockhart by three-tenths. Reigning world champion and AQHA member Sherry Cervi was third in 13.90.

“It’s the coolest thing ever,” Taylor said. “Two round wins means more to me than anything, especially after such a rocky year last year and putting in a lot of hard work when nobody was watching all the long hours in the practice pen with the blood, sweat and tears. To now be able to showcase all the hard work on such a national level is really rewarding, and (my horse, Flos Heirress, aka) "BabyFlo" deserves all the credit.”

BabyFlo was voted the 2013 AQHA-PRCA Barrel Racing Horse of the Year

Tie-Down Roping

Tie-down roper and AQHA member Marty Yates, in his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, won his second round in four tries. His time of 6.7 seconds was just 0.1 slower than AQHA member Cody Ohl’s fourth-round record set in 2009.

“I knew I had a good calf and I got a great start,” Yates said. “It was pretty cool to get a good start and it all came together. It all happened really fast, so I knew I was going to be flirting with it being pretty dang fast.”

The Stephenville, Texas, cowboy has won $41,070 at this WNFR, which has moved him into fourth place in the world standings with $124,257.

“I feel grateful for being here and being able to rope to my best ability and win go-rounds,” Yates said. “I’ve always lived with a kind of live-by-the-sword, die-by-the-sword type of style, so nothing changes for me.”

Yates said the arena suits his American Quarter Horse, 8-year-old Eatin With Rooster, aka "Chicken," who was second in the 2014 AQHA-PRCA Tie-down Roping Horse of the Year voting.

“In this setup, he’s great,” Yates said. “To me, this setup was built for me and him. He makes everything so easy on me.”

Steer Wrestling

Steer wrestler Seth Brockman, in his second Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, won his first round with a time of 3.6 seconds in Round 4. The Wheatland, Wyoming, cowboy sits 12th in the average with a time of 19.5 seconds on three steers.

“Basically, I need to show up (Monday night) and try to blow the barrier out,” Brockman said. “I’m going to try and win every round, because I’m already out of the average here.”

Four-time world champion steer wrestler and AQHA member Luke Branquinho finished second in Round 4 with a time of 3.7 seconds, and leads the average with 14.9 seconds on four head.

Branquinho also moved into the world standings lead with $122,539. He led the world on July 18 when he was injured at California Rodeo Salinas and was sidelined until the WNFR.

Team Roping

AQHA members Luke Brown and Kollin VonAhn won the team roping round in 3.6 seconds and were just one-tenth off the round record set in 2010 by Brady Tryan and Jake Long.

“Getting a good start here is the key to the whole deal,” Brown said. “It makes it so much easier when you get out right. That back end comes fast.”

It was the first check of the WNFR for Brown and VonAhn, who won the average title here a year ago.

“We practiced as hard or harder this year to do the same thing we did here last year,” Brown said. “I hickeyed a horn (which is an illegal head catch) in the second round, but we’re not going to change anything.”

They sit ninth in the average with a time of 26.3 seconds on three head.

“I don’t think anybody ever comes here just thinking about the average,” VonAhn said. “That’ll start playing a bigger role later in the week, in about the seventh round. You can’t really back off in this arena anyway, because it’s so small. If you miss the barrier here it’s really hard just to catch. 

“We feel like we have a pretty consistent run. Luke’s been getting out and getting it on them so quick that all I have to do is catch. The situation determines how fast you can throw. If you’re in the right spot, it’s pretty easy.

“I can only go as fast as he (Brown) turns them. Last night he turned one so fast I wasn’t even ready. I’ve just been trying to do my job, and most of the time it’s good enough.”

VonAhn is riding "Frank," who’ll be 21 next month and is competing in his sixth WNFR.

“I’ve ridden him here four times,” VonAhn said. “Shannon Frascht and Travis Graves have also ridden him here.”

Brown, who rides 21-year-old "Slim Shady," said, “I’ve ridden him all but three rounds in the seven years I’ve been here. He’s really easy to get a good start on and he won’t duck. I’ve ridden him so much, I know him like the back of my hand. It’d be crazy not to ride him here.”

RAM Top Gun Award

Branquinho leads the RAM Top Gun Award standings with $56,547. Kimzey and Taylor are tied for second with $49,345 while bareback rider Justin McDaniel is fourth with $45,463.

Visit www.prorodeo.com for full results from Round 3, plus coverage of the roughstock events.

The 56th annual Wrangler NFR continues Monday with the fifth round at the Thomas & Mack Center. The action will be televised live and in HD on CBS Sports Net (DirecTV channel 221 and DISH Network channel 158) from 7-10 p.m. (PT) with hosts Jeff Medders and Butch Knowles.

WNFR Coverage on www.aqha.com/showing

  • Round 10 – Competing in timed events at the 2014 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, AQHA members claim world championships in Las Vegas.
  • Round 9 – These AQHA members are poised for Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world championships heading into the final round.
  • Round 8 – Winning both tie-down and team roping, AQHA member Trevor Brazile, the King of the Cowboys, reigns yet again.
  • Round 7 – AQHA members Cody Ohl and Tuf Cooper share the Round 7 tie-down roping title in Las Vegas.
  • Round 6 – AQHA members keep their ProRodeo world championship hopes alive December 9 in Las Vegas.
  • Round 5 – Stock of AQHA Professional Horsemen Charlie Cole, Jason Martin and Tom and Leslie Lange strike it big December 8 in Las Vegas.
  • Round 4 – AQHA members, including Fallon Taylor and "BabyFlo," showed their mettle December 7 at rodeo's Super Bowl in Las Vegas.
  • Round 3 – AQHA member Trevor Brazile earns his 21st gold buckle December 6 in Las Vegas.
  • Round 2 – AQHA members Turtle Powell and Dakota Kirchenschlager set a team-roping record for the round December 5 in Las Vegas.
  • Round 1 – American Quarter Horses take their riders to the top of Round 1 of rodeo's Super Bowl December 4 in Las Vegas.
  • 2014 AQHA-PRCA Horses of the Year