Wrangler National Finals Rodeo: Round 7

AQHA members Cody Ohl and Tuf Cooper share the Round 7 tie-down roping title in Las Vegas.

Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association

Rodeo royalty ruled the tie-down roping of Round 7 at the 2014 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo as six-time world champion Cody Ohl and two-time champ Tuf Cooper shared the round win with a time of 7.3 seconds. 

It was AQHA member Ohl’s 51st round win in tie-down roping, which tied saddle bronc rider and AQHA member Billy Etbauer for the most ever in a single event.

“Every one of them are special,” Ohl said. “I just can’t wait until I get that record, and it’s going to be very special. It’s all my kids talk about, and it’s going to be awesome.”  

In Round 7, Ohl was riding Peptos Stays Here (aka "2Chainz"), a 2008 chestnut gelding by Hes A Peptospoonful and out of Mate Stays Here by Smart Mate. 2Chainz is owned and bred by Darren Blanton of Dallas. 

Cooper was riding Big Smokin Otoe ("Topaz"), a 2005 brown mare owned by Circle Star Land & Cattle Co. of Pontotoc, Texas. Here's a fun fact for you: Mason County, where Pontotoc sits, is the only place in Texas where one can find topaz, the state mineral. Topaz, by Big As I Am and out of Lucky Smokin Jade by Lucky Captain Jess, was bred by J and D Quarter Horse Farm in Hico, Texas.

Tuf Cooper rides Big Smokin Otoe, aka
Tuf Cooper and Big Smokin Otoe, aka "Topaz."

Topaz happens to be the younger sister of Big Smokin Wonder, known to rodeo fans as "Pearl." In 2013, Pearl was voted the AQHA-Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Tie-Down Roping Horse of the Year, a race in which she finished third this year. She also won the title in 2009, and she has also clocked three AQHA amateur tie-down roping world championships (2006, 2007,2013) and one AQHA senior tie-down roping reserve world championship (2009).

Cooper, an AQHA member, leads the world standings by $33,111 over AQHA member Matt Shiozawa, who leads the average with a time of 64.1 seconds on seven head. Cooper is second in the average with a time of 64.6 seconds.

“I just want to stay aggressive and win as much as I can,” Cooper said. “It’s a dream to win a round and a dream to win the average, and it’s especially a dream to win the world title.”

Team Roping

Team ropers Dustin Bird and Paul Eaves came through under pressure – they were the last team to leave the box – and won the round in 3.7 seconds.

Bird, an AQHA member, said that “6.5 was winning fourth in the round when we backed in there, so I thought about what Joe Beaver always says when you go at the end of a round like this – ‘just use your head and catch.’ But I got a good start and things happened so fast, so I tried it on him. We’re out of the average, so we have no choice but to win as much as we can in the rounds. That’s how we roll anyway.”

“Dustin does it about like that every time,” Eaves said. “That’s what I get to throw at everywhere we go. He got it on him fast and gave me a great handle. That’s the run we try to make all the time. It’s just a little faster than usual in this smaller building.”

Bird and Eaves both sit second in the world standings, but they’re 11th in the average (at 30.6 seconds on only four head). Good news is they’ve pocketed $53,023 at the Finals.

“This is the most we’ve ever won here, and there are still three rounds left,” Eaves said. “This is more than we’d won after 10 rounds the other two years we roped together here.”

Taking over the average lead were world standings leaders Clay Tryan and Jade Corkill, as previous leaders
Jake Barnes and Junior Nogueira went out after Barnes lost his rope.

Steer Wrestling

Canadian steer wrestler Curtis Cassidy, who won Round 5, shared the Round 7 victory lap with Dakota Eldridge, who lives nearby in Elko, Nevada. They each had a time of 3.7 seconds and pocketed $17,010 for the win.

“The other guys that had him, he wanted to let off pretty good, and I had such a good start tonight, he was stopping,” Cassidy said. “Luckily, he jumped forward as I caught him, and he stopped and I jumped around there.

Cassidy has won $43,981 at the WNFR and is fifth in the world standings with $101,431.

This was just Eldridge’s second check at the 2014 Finals – it’s the second WNFR for the 23-year-old – but he hopes for a fast finish.

“Last year I won $91,000 here,” he said. “I’m going to have to start doing some catching up the next few days and I started it out right. I haven’t had the week I wanted, but a guy can’t get down. I just have to stay positive and start drawing good, and things will be good the rest of the week.”

Four-time world champion Luke Branquinho, an AQHA member, tied for third in the round with Casey Martin with a time of 3.9 seconds. Branquinho tops the world standings with $138,630 – he’s won $72,638 here through seven rounds – and leads the steer wrestling average with a time of 28.5 seconds on seven head; Martin is second with 33.0 seconds on seven head.

Barrel Racing

Lisa Lockhart rides An Oakie With Cash, aka
Lisa Lockhart and An Oakie With Cash, aka "Louie."

Barrel racer Lisa Lockhart, who won Round 2, took another victory lap after she won the event with a time of 13.73 seconds, the second fastest time at this year’s WNFR. The AQHA member was the first to compete in the event, and said it was beneficial.

“I do think running at the top helped some tonight,” she said. “It did seem that some of the horses were struggling a bit, so being first proved to be the time to ride smart and take advantage of that position.”

Lisa's mount for the night was her American Quarter Horse An Oakie With Cash, aka "Louie." The 2003 buckskin gelding is by Biebers Oakie and out of Lady Kaweah Cash by Judge Cash. Bred by Timothy and Kelly Bagnell of Ronan, Montana, Louie traces back to American Quarter Horse Hall of Famers Doc Bar, on his topside, and Dash For Cash, on the bottom. 

AQHA member Fallon Taylor, who took second aboard Flos Heiress ("BabyFlo"), leads the world standings with $218,821 – that’s $26,558 more than Lockhart. Taylor leads the average with a time of 103.08 seconds, just .06 ahead of Lockhart.

RAM Top Gun Award

Bull rider Sage Kimzey leads the RAM Top Gun Award standings with $96,391. AQHA members Fallon Taylor (barrel racing) is second with $87,350, followed by Luke Branquinho (steer wrestling) with $72,638 and Lisa Lockhart (barrel racing) with $70,646. 

Visit www.prorodeo.com for full results from Round 7, plus coverage of the roughstock events.

The 56th annual Wrangler NFR continues Thursday with the eighth 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