Both cowboys from Wyoming had winning nights Tuesday at the National Finals Rodeo.

Cowley bareback bronc rider JR Vezain tied for the sixth round victory with an 88-point ride on Pickett Pro Rodeo’s Scarlet Belle while Hillsdale saddle bronc rider Brody Cress moved to the top of the average leaderboard after finishing second in the round.

Vezain, who split the round win with Clayton Biglow, pocketed more than $23,000 to climb to seventh in the world standings. He remained sixth in the average with 503 points on six head, but is just one-half point out of fifth and trails average leader Jake Vold by just 12 points.

Cress, meanwhile, continued to impress in his NFR debut.

He placed second in the round with an 88.5-point ride on Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Big Tex to give him 506.5 points on six head, putting him four points clear of Sterling Crawley. Cress is also sixth in the RAM Top Gun rankings as he has won more than $82,000 at the NFR.

Cress also moved to fourth in the world standings with almost $190,000 in earnings, which puts him less than $32,000 behind leader Jacobs Crawley.

Former Sheridan College cowboy Zeke Thurston, the defending saddle bronc world champion, tied for seventh Tuesday and is now third in the world standings. He trails Jacobs Crawley by a little more than $20,000.

The other cowboys with Wyoming ties – Ty Breuer and Chason Floyd – both finished out of the money. Breuer, a former College National Finals Rodeo bareback bronc riding champion at Central Wyoming College, tied for ninth and Floyd, who used to rodeo for Gillette College, was 13th in steer wrestling.

Also Tuesday, bull rider Trey Benton III won the round with a 92.5 – the highest-marked score of the week – to pick up his third go-round win. He leads the average over three-time defending world champ and current world standings leader Sage Kimzey by 10 points.

Other sixth-round winners were saddle bronc rider Ryder Wright, steer wrestler Baylor Roche, tie-down roper Marty Yates and barrel racer Hailey Kinsel. For the third night in a row, the team roping win was split, with Cody Snow and Wesley Thorp tying Riley Minor and Brady Minor for the victory.

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Sports Editor

Jack Nowlin returned to the Star-Tribune in 2007 after eight years covering Michigan State University athletics. A Wyoming native, and a graduate of Jeffrey City High School and the University of Wyoming, Jack serves as the Star-Tribune’s sports editor.

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