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Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association

Former Sheridan College cowboy Zeke Thurston was the only competitor with Wyoming ties to finish in the money Thursday in the first round of the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.

Thurston tied for fifth place in saddle bronc riding with an 82-point ride on Frontier Rodeo's Griz. Cort Scheer won the round with an 86.5.

Hillsdale's Brody Cress, who won the saddle bronc average title at last year's NFR and has been off the circuit since breaking his ankle Aug. 4, had a no-score.

Thurston, the 2016 world champion, is now seventh in the world standings while Cress is eighth.

Former Casper College team roper Trey Yates and partner Aaron Tsinigine finished 10th with a 10.0-second run. Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira won the round with a 4.2.

Ty Breuer, who competed at Central Wyoming College, tied for 10th in bareback bronc riding with a 79.5. Wyatt Denny won the event with an 87.

Other first-round winners Thursday were bull rider Trey Benton III, steer wrestler Tyler Waguespack, tie-down roper Caleb Smidt and barrel racer Hailey Kinsel.

The NFR runs through Dec. 15.

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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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