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World champions were crowned in eight events Saturday at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.

And while no cowboy with Wyoming ties finished atop the final world standings, Hillsdale saddle bronc rider Brody Cress did win the average title and finished just $2,651 behind world champ Ryder Wright.

Cowley bareback bronc rider JR Vezain was sixth in the 10th round and ended up third in average while defending world champ and former Sheridan College cowboy Zeke Thurston was seventh in the saddle bronc standings. Former Central Wyoming College cowboy Ty Breuer placed seventh in the average and 13th in the final world standings, and former Gillette College bulldogger Chason Floyd was 11th in the steer wrestling standings.

Cowboys with Wyoming ties won almost $442,000 during the 10-day NFR.

In addition to Wright, who at 19 became the youngest saddle bronc rider to ever win a world championship, Sage Kimzey won his fourth consecutive bull riding title. Kimzey did it in impressive fashion, winning the round with an 88-point ride on 4L & Diamond S Rodeo’s Girl Money to also take home the average title.

Also Saturday, Marcos Costa became the first Brazilian to win the tie-down roping title thanks to winning the round with a 7.8-second run and beating out Tuf Cooper for the average title. Costa also won the RAM Top Gun Award by winning the most money in a single event at the NFR. Costa pocketed more than $195,000 at the NFR.

Cooper did finish second in the tie-down roping average to lift him to his first all-around title.

In bareback bronc riding, Tim O’Connell won his second consecutive world title while steer wrestler Tyler Pearson edged out Ty Erickson by just $2,000 to win his first world championship.

In team roping, header Erich Rogers and heeler Cory Petska won world titles, with both setting records for most money won in a year in their respective events.

Barrel racer Nellie Miller and her horse Sister won both the average and the world championship.


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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