2023 Wrangler NFR presented by Teton Ridge Round 3 Highlights
Record-breaking tie-down roper Riley Webb snares first career NFR round win
LAS VEGAS – The memorable, record-breaking regular season by tie-down roper Riley Webb finally spilled over into the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo Sunday night.
The ultra-talented Denton, Texas, cowboy clocked a lightning fast 6.9-second run to claim the Round 3 victory before 17,625 fans at the Thomas & Mack Center.
“I told myself to live in the moment and be in the moment before I backed in the box tonight,” said Webb, 20. “We had a plan for the calf, and I executed it. That’s a huge sigh of relief to tell myself what I need to do, live in the moment, and execute that run.”
With his $30,706 payday for his first career NFR Round win, Webb extended his lead in the PRCA | RAM World Standings with $327,550. Haven Meged is second in the standings at $239,736.
Webb didn’t see Round 3 as a must-win for himself, but he knew he needed a jolt of confidence.
“Maybe not the round win but I needed that type of run,” Webb said. “Last night, I made a little mistake with my slack, and I said, ‘Tonight that won’t happen.’ I was definitely ready to rope tonight when I left here (Saturday night).”
And his 6.9-second performance is something he will likely never forget.
“You grow up wanting to do that. Some people dream of that and never get their chance to do it,” Webb said. “For me, to live in the moment and be blessed to have the opportunity to do it at 20 years old is special. There’s no better life for me, I’m extremely blessed.”
Mason Clements tops bareback riding leaderboard
Bareback rider Mason Clements frantically made the Wrangler NFR qualifying on the last day of the season at the Cinch Playoffs Governor’s Cup in Sioux Falls, S.D., on Sept 30.
And the Spanish Fork, Utah, cowboy kept his momentum going in Round 3 at the NFR.
Clements took home the victory with an 88.5-point ride on Frontier Rodeo’s Breaking News at the Thomas & Mack Center.
“That ride was a lot of fun, and very electric,” Clements said. “I knew he was going to have those moves right there and come off and go straight or around to the left. The way he came out of that and turned left and started stacking up there in the middle, that was one of those rides that you see it and dream it, you can feel it and trust it all the way through. All your prior preparation you just did was for moments like that to capitalize on.”
Clements, with his $30,706 victory, moved to ninth in the world standings with $166,872 and he has a simple approach for the remainder of the 2023 NFR.
“It is gas pedal time for the rest of the marathon,” said Clements, a four-time NFR qualifier.
During Round 3, the bareback riders all wore blue as a tribute to the late Trenten Montero. Montero, who qualified for the 2019 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, passed away on Aug. 30, due to injuries he suffered during a ride on Aug. 10 at the Owyhee County Rodeo in Homedale, Idaho. He was 31.
“All the bareback riders have been working on a Trenten Montero Foundation to help families in rodeo when a tragedy like this happens in the arena,” Clements said. “We all felt like it was time for a change. We need those resources whether they be psychological, legal, or financial, that’s what these shirts are going to be used for to have these resources so that these families are taken care of when their cowboy sacrifices everything in the arena.”
Veteran steer wrestler Nick Guy captures Round 3
Nick Guy is no stranger to the bright lights of the Wrangler NFR as this is his eighth appearance.
Guy looked like a savvy veteran clocking a 4.2-second run to take home the Round 3 title.
“I kind of knew that steer, every time we ran that steer when we picked him, he would always either hit his horn or kick himself, so we never really got a clean roll at him and if we watch the run back, he did the same thing (Sunday night),” Guy said. “Right when I nodded, he turned his head onto us that kind of hit his horn, but he left sharp, but I knew what he was, and I knew that if we got a good go at him and a good start, I knew that we’d have a chance to win something.”
The euphoria of an NFR round win never gets old for Guy.
“There’s not (anything like winning an NFR Round),” Guy said. “I’ve got a lot of family here this year and as I’ve gotten older people think that I may be getting a little bit closer to being done, they don’t want to miss the opportunities to see me but there is nothing better than this.”
Guy acknowledged being the second last guy to go was a benefit to him.
“Like I said before if you and the steer and really if you try to beat everybody else or do too much I think when you sit there and watch a lot of (guys) go and you feel like ‘Oh I have to do this or I have to do that but really you just got to go back to you and the steer and you make your run and if it pans out then it was meant to be,’” Guy said. “So just trying to not try too hard I guess is the biggest thing when you get in that situation.”
Guy moved up to eighth in the world standings, thanks to earning $51,107 at this year’s NFR. And he praised his horsepower for helping him pocket that money.
“Dallas is getting stronger and stronger the first night, he felt like – ‘Whoa where are we?’ When we rode in here and worked the cattle on Tuesday, it was quiet and there was nothing going on and it was just like another rodeo arena but when backed in there the first night he was a little bit star struck but I can’t say enough good things about him,” Guy said. “He’s given me a shot every time. I’ve won a lot of money on him this year. He’s kind of changed the game for me this year so I’m excited for what we’ve got coming.
Proctor/Medlin capture team roping win in Round 3
There’s no question team ropers Coleman Proctor/Logan Medlin know how to win.
The duo proved it again on Sunday night, clocking a 3.7-second run to capture Round 3.
“It was great to get the ball rolling. My daughter has been on my tail because we always take a limo to the South Point (Casino) every time we win a round and last night, she was getting pretty antsy that we weren’t in the limo yet,” Proctor said. “It was great. It was a fast round tonight with a bunch of great roping happening. To finally get a good start tonight and open it up for my guy, it made his job a little bit easier.”
The duo was a tenth of a second off the Round 3 record of 3.6 seconds established by Tanner Tomlinson/Patrick Smith in 2022.
“For me, when I’m thinking through the run is when I’m heeling my best,” Medlin said. “I’ve had moments where I look back on runs and they are a blur. That’s how I know I’m not locked in. Tonight, I was dialed in. I finally rode to a good spot and Coleman didn’t have to do as much to take care of me.”
Despite the victory, Proctor knows he doesn’t have time to celebrate.
“It’s a 24-hour battle. We’re going to enjoy this tonight but when tomorrow rolls around, it’s a new day,” Proctor said. “I think one thing that helps me a lot is staying busy throughout the day, helping compartmentalize with what’s going on.”
Bull rider Creek Young shines in Round 3
Creek Young has proven over the last three years that he’s one of the best bull riders in the PRCA.
The Rogersville, Mo., cowboy was the best of the best Sunday night registering an 89.5-point ride on Stace Smith Pro Rodeos’ Let’s Gamble.
“It’s a great bull that’s been around a long time,” Young said. “I knew the bull was going to fit me pretty well from (his) style of bucking and my experience watching him. It worked out great and I’m happy to get the go-round win.”
It was obvious to see what the round win meant to Young based on his overflow of emotion after his score was shown.
“I had one get by me last night in the eliminator pen to win a bunch of money and make up some ground in the (PRCA | RAM) World Standings,” Young said. “Every bull rider here is trying to win a world title so every dollar counts. I was definitely emotional. It just flows. Last night you got to see how mad I was and tonight you go to see how happy I was. I’m not holding anything back and I’m just going to let it all hang out.”
With momentum on his side, Young wants to keep his foot on the gas.
“This is my third time here and I’m already two for three thus far,” Young said. “It’s a better start to the Finals than I’ve had and I’m glad to get back here for a round win. It’s something I missed out on last year. I’m just going to keep it rolling into these final seven rounds.”
The victory moved Young up to fourth in the world standings and upped his NFR earnings to $218,537.
Sage Newman claims saddle bronc glory in Round 3
For the last two years Sage Newman has been a force in the PRCA’s saddle bronc riding ranks.
He showed why on Sunday night.
The Melstone, Mont., cowboy had an 89-point trip on Calgary Stampede’s Weekend Departure to grab the Round 3 win.
“Yeah, I was happy to have that horse,” Newman said. “It’s an older horse but it still gets up in the air and can get flashy. He had a good day, and I was happy to be paired up with him. It was a lot of fun.”
Newman’s $30,706 payday moved him into first place in the world standings with $287,970.
“I am just going to take it one horse at a time. It’s that simple and that’s what it’s all about, stick to the basics,” Newman said. “We did it all year to get here and that’s what I am going to keep doing.”
The grueling marathon that is the NFR is something Newman took a moment to address.
“It really is a battle. This place is ruthless. It will eat you up and spit you out,” Newman said. “It doesn’t care who you are or what you’ve done, you have to come here and do your job. Like I said, keep it simple and have fun. That’s what it’s all about.”
Barrel racer Lisa Lockhart takes top honors in Round 3
Going out first in Round 3 was a position barrel racer Lisa Lockhart wanted and she seized the opportunity.
Lockhart, a 17-time NFR qualifier, clocked a 13.51-second run to grab the title.
“We all like to be top of the ground because that’s usually the best,” Lockhart said. “When the ground is great like it is right now, then we can win regardless of position. I definitely wanted to utilize it to the best of my abilities while not putting too much pressure on myself because I’ve been in this position before and bombed it.”
Lockhart, who has qualified for the NFR every year from 2007-23, relishes claiming NFR glory.
“Never (gets old),” Lockhart said. “It is so motivating and the greatest feeling in the world because you get to absorb it. During the run, we’re only in there for a short stint so we don’t get to feel the energy. During my (victory) lap, I was able to soak it all in.”
Moving forward, Lockhart is keeping things in perspective.
“We are just taking it one step and one day at a time,” she said. “It’s a new rodeo everyday so you have to go out there and roll the dice, hoping it works out for you.