Zeke Thurston all but secured his second world title Friday at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.
The Canadian saddle bronc rider, who rodeoed at Sheridan College, won the ninth round with a 91-point ride on Vold Rodeo Co.’s Sun Glow to increase his season earnings to a record $304,184. Thurston, who also won the world in 2016, broke the record set by Ryder Wright in 2017. Thurston has now won more than $127,000 at this year’s NFR.
Hillsdale’s Brody Cress had his lowest score of the rodeo — 70.5 points on Big Bend Rodeo’s Major Huckleberry — but increased his lead in the saddle bronc average. Cress enters Saturday’s 10th and final round with 749.5 points on nine head; Spencer Wright is second with 677.5 on eight head.
If Cress covers his horse Saturday he would win the average title for the second time in three years.
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Tie-down roper Riley Pruitt, who competed at Eastern Wyoming College, finished out of the money with an 8.0-second run but remained in second place in the world standings. Pruitt has won more than $203,000 on the season and trails leader Shane Hanchey by $6,329.
Casper team roper Ty Blasingame and partner Travis Lee Graves had a no-time. Kaleb Driggers and Junior Noguiera won the round with a 3.6.
Former Central Wyoming College bareback bronc rider Ty Breuer was seventh in the round with an 85.5. Jake Brown won the round with an 89.5 on J Bar J Rodeo’s Blessed Assurance.
Bouodreaux Campbell won the bull riding with a 91.0 on Bar T Rodeo’s Goofy.
Stevi Hillman earned her first NFR round win with a 13.53, the fastest run of the week.