Three cowboys with Wyoming ties pocketed money Thursday in the opening night of the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.
Former Sheridan College cowboy and defending world champion saddle bronc rider Zeke Thurston tied for fifth in the round with an 85-point ride to remain second in the world standings behind Jacobs Crawley. Crawley, the 2015 world champ, was eighth Thursday with an 81.
Cowley native JR Vezain placed fifth in bareback bronc riding with an 84.5 while former Gillette College cowboy Chason Floyd tied for third in steer wrestling with a time of 4.3 seconds. Hillsdale saddle bronc rider Brody Cress had a 79.5-point ride to finish 10th and drop to eighth in the world standings. And former Central Wyoming College cowboy Ty Breuer was 10th in bareback with an 82.
The best ride of the night belonged to bull rider Trey Benton III, who scored 90 points on Big Stone Rodeo’s Mortimer. Three-time defending world champ Sage Kimzey finished seventh in the round with a 79.
Other first-round winners were bareback bronc rider Jake Vold, bulldogger Tyler Waguespack, team ropers Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira, tie-down roper Ryan Jarrett and barrel racer Nellie Miller.
The NFR runs through Dec. 16 at the Thomas and Mack Center.