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Kaycee's Cole Reiner, Hillsdale's Brody Cress are ready for National Finals Rodeo

Kaycee's Cole Reiner, Hillsdale's Brody Cress are ready for National Finals Rodeo


A six-pack of cowboys with Wyoming ties will be competing for gold buckles when the 10-day National Finals Rodeo kicks off Thursday at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.

The group includes four NFR veterans and two cowboys making their first appearances at the season-ending rodeo.

  • Hillsdale saddle bronc rider Brody Cress, who won the NFR average title last year and finished second in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world standings, is back for the fourth consecutive year. Cress, who also won the NFR average title in 2017, is currently third in the world standings with nearly $100,000 in winnings on the season.
  • Two-time world champion saddle bronc rider Zeke Thurston, who rodeoed at Sheridan College, has competed at every NFR since 2015. The Canadian native won his first world title in 2016 and held off Cress last year to take home his second gold buckle. Thurston enters this year’s NFR 10th in the world standings with more than $50,000.
  • Former Gillette College cowboy Cole Elshere is sixth in the saddle bronc world standings with more than $54,000 and is competing here for the first time since 2014.
  • Rounding out the quartet of saddle bronc riders is former Casper College cowboy Shorty Garrett. The native of Eagle Butte, South Dakota, is competing here for the first time and is fourth in the world standings with more than $90,000.
  • Kaycee native and Buffalo High School graduate Cole Reiner, who finished 12th in the regular-season bareback bronc riding standings, is making his NFR debut. The former Sheridan College and Casper College cowboy is 12th in the world standings with more than $45,000.
  • Former Central Wyoming College cowboy Ty Breuer is making his fifth consecutive appearance at the NFR, and sixth overall. Breuer, the College National Finals Rodeo bareback bronc champ in 2010, is 14th in the world standings with almost $40,000.

It’s a change of venue for the NFR, which had been held in Las Vegas since 1985. But with the coronavirus pandemic limiting crowd sizes in Nevada, the PRCA made the decision to hold this year’s event in Texas.

“We are so pleased to be at this amazing stadium for the most celebrated event on the rodeo calendar,” George Taylor, chief executive officer of the PRCA, said in a release. “We are committed to delivering a spectacular event for our fans and we are thrilled to be in Texas for it.”

While Cress and Reiner still list Hillsdale and Kaycee, respectively, as their hometowns, they both have Texas ties.

After graduating from Cheyenne East, where he was a three-time state champion wrestler, Cress attended Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas. He qualified for the CNFR in 2017 and ‘18 while competing for the Texans.

The 22-year-old Reiner got his rookie season kick-started with an impressive start in the Lone Star State. He won both the Guadalupe County Fair & Rodeo in Seguin and the Austin County Fair & Rodeo in Bellville last October, in addition to Top-5 finishes in Hempstead, Rosenberg and Waco. In February, Reiner pocketed more than $12,000 combined with strong showings at both Fort Worth and San Antonio.

Reiner is this year’s Resistol Rookie Bareback Riding champ and is currently fourth in the 2021 world standings with more than $4,500.

All six cowboys will be competing for prize money totaling between $6 million and $10 million. Go-round winners in each event earn $15, 738 with smaller payouts going to the top-4 finishers while the average winner in each event pockets $40,362.

PRCA Standings

Final regular season

ALL-AROUND: 1, Stetson Wright, Milford, UT, $86,584 2, Tuf Cooper, Decatur, TX, $85,547 3, Clay Smith, Broken Bow, OK, $80,737 4, Zack Jongbloed, Iowa, LA, $44,170 5, Eli Lord, Sturgis, SD, $37,509.

BAREBACK BRONC RIDING: 1, Tim O’Connell, Zwingle, IA, $122,927 2, Kaycee Feild, Genola, UT, $94,892 3, Orin Larsen, Inglis, MB, $81,391 4, Tilden Hooper, Carthage, TX, $77,549 5, Clayton Biglow, Clements, CA, $70,973 6, Jamie Howlett, Rapid City, SD, $66,583 7, Richmond Champion, The Woodlands, TX, $64,149 8, Tanner Aus, Granite Falls, MN, $61,726 9, Mason Clements, Draper, UT, $58,501 10, Leighton Berry, Weatherford, TX, $53,386 11, Jess Pope, Marshall, MO, $49,162 12, Cole Reiner, Buffalo, $45,043 13, Jake Brown, Cleveland, TX, $42,778 14, Ty Breuer, Mandan, ND, $39,334 15, Chad Rutherford, Hillsboro, TX, $37,412.

SADDLE BRONC RIDING: 1, Wyatt Casper, Pampa, TX, $145,138 2, Ryder Wright, Beaver, UT, $111,336 3, Brody Cress, Hillsdale, $99,539 4, Shorty Garrett, Eagle Butte, SD, $90,005 5, Allen Boore, Axtell, UT, $73,269 6, Cole Elshere, Faith, SD, $54,351 7, Sterling Crawley, Huntsville, TX, $51,608 8, Chase Brooks, Deer Lodge, MT, $51,400 9, Jacobs Crawley, Stephenville, TX, $50,930 10, Zeke Thurston, Big Valley, AB, $50,523 11, Rusty Wright, Milford, UT, $49,946 12, Lefty Holman, Visalia, CA, $49,670 13, Stetson Wright, Milford, UT, $47,498 14, Isaac Diaz, Desdemona, TX, $44,832 15, Taos Muncy, Corona, NM, $42,303.

BULL RIDING: 1, Sage Kimzey, Strong City, OK, $92,334 2, Ky Hamilton, Mackay, Australia, $89,447 3, Boudreaux Campbell, Crockett, TX, $85,746 4, Dustin Boquet, Bourg, LA, $81,566 5, Brady Portenier, Caldwell, ID, $73,105 6, Jeff Askey, Athens, TX, $66,227 7, Roscoe Jarboe, New Plymouth, ID, $61,417 8, Stetson Wright, Milford, UT, $60,646 9, Ty Wallace, Collbran, CO, $60,234 10, Colten Fritzlan, Rifle, CO, $58,408 11, Parker McCown, Montgomery, TX, $55,561 12, Tyler Bingham, Honeyville, UT, $55,558 13, Trevor Kastner, Roff, OK, $55,281 14, Clayton Sellars, Fruitland Park, FL, $53,395 15, Denton Fugate, Niangua, MO, $52,236.

STEER WRESTLING: 1, Matt Reeves, Cross Plains, TX, $86,944 2, Jacob Talley, Keatchie, LA, $61,623 3, Tyler Waguespack, Gonzales, LA, $52,678 4, Dakota Eldridge, Elko, NV, $50,085 5, Curtis Cassidy, Donaldo, AB, $50,047 6, Tanner Brunner, Ramona, KS, $46,885 7, Jace Melvin, Fort Pierre, SD, $46,225 8, Stetson Jorgensen, Blackfoot, ID, $46,042 9, Jacob Edler, State Center, LA, $45,607 10, Bridger Anderson, Carrington, ND, $43,877 11, Blake Knowles, Heppner, OR, $42,483 12, Clayton Hass, Weatherford, TX, $41,840 13, Will Lummus, Byhalia, MS, $40,279 12, Jule Hazen, Ashland, KS, $39,730 15, Jesse Brown, Baker City, OR, $39,495.

TIE-DOWN ROPING: 1, Shad Mayfield, Clovis, NM, $156,668 2, Tuf Cooper, Decatur, TX, $67,189 3, Haven Meged, Miles City, MT, $66,748 4, Tyler Milligan, Pawhuska, OK, $60,919 5, Westyn Hughes, Caldwell, TX, $60,391 6, Ty Harris, San Angelo, TX, $58,414 7, Marty Yates, Stephenville, TX, $56,168 8, Caleb Smidt, Bellville, TX, $54,595 9, Timber Moore, Aubrey, TX, $53,168 10, Shane Hanchey, Sulphur, LA, $52,299 11, Ryan Jarrett, Comanche, OK, $52,080 12, Tyson Durfey, Brock, TX, $47,293 13, Caddo Lewallen, Morrison, OK, $47,141 14, Adam Gray, Seymour, TX, $46,851 15, Hunter Herrin, Apache, OK, $46,049.

TEAM ROPING (HEADERS): 1, Luke Brown, Rock Hill, SC, $89,665 2, Clay Smith, Broken Bow, OK, $69,704 3, Cody Snow, Los Olivos, CA, $69,228 4, Colby Lovell, Madisonville, TX, $65,509 5, Dustin Egusquiza, Marianna, FL, $64,176 6, Andrew Ward, Edmond, OK, $63,872 7, Clay Tryan, Billings, MT, $57,629 8, Charly Crawford, Stephenville, TX, $55,229 9, Chad Masters, Cedar Hill, TN, $52,682 10, Erich Rogers, Round Rock, AZ, $52,242 11, Kolton Schmidt, Barrhead, AB, $51,022 12, Nelson Wyatt, Clanton, AL, $50,692 13, Levi Simpson, Ponoka, AB, $50,398 14, Jeff Flenniken, Caldwell, ID, $49,391 15, Brenten Hall, Jay, OK, $47,145.

TEAM ROPING (HEELERS): 1, Joseph Harrison, Marietta, OK, $70,299 2, Jade Corkill, Fallon, NV, $69,704 3, Buddy Hawkins II, Columbus, KS, $63,872 4, Jake Long, Coffeyville, KS, $63,227 5, Junior Nogueira, Spain, $58,084 6, Travis Graves, Jay, OK, $56,514 7, Shay Dixon Carroll, La Junta, CO, $56,227 8, Paul Eaves, Ionedell, MO, $56,159 9, Logan Medlin, Tatum, NM, $54,621 11, Wesley Thorp, Throckmorton, TX, $52,682, 11, Paden Bray, Stephenville, TX, $52,542 12, Levi Lord, Sturgis, SD, $51,890 13, Tyler Worley, Berryville, AR, $51,138 14, Hunter Koch, Vernon, TX, $51,022 15, Chase Tryan, Helena, MT, $47,143.

BARREL RACING: 1, Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, Lampasas, TX, $86,725 2, Hailey Kinsel, Cotulla, TX, $78,461 3, Dona Kay Rule, Minco, OK, $67,454 4, Jimmie Smith, McDade, TX, $65,022 5, Tiany Schuster, Krum, TX, $55,060 6, Jill Wilson, Snyder, TX, $57,371 7, Shelley Morgan, Eustace, TX, $53,075 8, Stevi Hillman, Weatherford, TX, $52,389 9, Jessica Routier, Buffalo, SD, $51,371 10, Cheyenne Wimberly, Stephenville, TX, $47,039 11, Ryann Pedone, Sunset, TX, $42,581 12, Emily Miller, Weatherford, OK, $42,388 13, Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, SD, $40,904 14, Wenda Johnson, Pawhuska, OK, $39,953 15, Brittney Barnett, Stephenville, TX, $39,565.

Follow sports editor Jack Nowlin on Twitter @CASJackN


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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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