Florida fans got great RNCFR experience
KISSIMMEE, Fla. – With the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo, it’s all about the fan. The format is set up with an elimination component so that the original 24 competitors in each event are worked down to an Elite Eight and Final Four on the last night. Fans know what’s at stake with every ride and run, and that they are going to see the champions prove themselves right in front of them, by what they do in that final round of four.
There is a purity to that that is hard to surpass, and for traditionalists who might prefer the outcome be determined on total time or score or those who embrace the format used at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo – which crowns champions based on total money – be of good cheer; going with the tournament format generally produces the same result with more clarity and excitement for the fan at the finish.
Here is how the outcome would look in all three scenarios – a four-man finale, a four-head average and total money:
Final Four: Steven Peebles, 88 points (Austin Foss 86)
Average: Steven Peebles and Austin Foss, 327 points each on four head
Earnings: Kaycee Feild, $21,355 (Foss second, $17,796; Peebles third, $15,455)
Final Four: Josh Peek, 4.8 seconds
Average: Josh Peek, 20.9 seconds on four head
Earnings: Josh Peek, $18,171
Final Four: Drew Horner/Buddy Hawkins II, 4.6 seconds
Average: Drew Horner/Buddy Hawkins II, 20.7 seconds on four head
Earnings: Drew Horner/Buddy Hawkins II, $22,479 each
Saddle Bronc Riding:
Final Four: Heith DeMoss, 87 points
Average: Jacobs Crawley 326 points on four head (DeMoss second, 322)
Earnings: Jacobs Crawley, $18,920 (Wade Sundell second, $17,047; DeMoss third, $15,299)
Final Four: Marty Yates, 6.9 seconds (RNCFR record)
Average: Marty Yates, 25.5 seconds on four head
Earnings: Jerome Schneeberger, $19,108 (Yates second, $18,077)
Final Four: Joe Frost, 72 points
Average: Joe Frost, 226 points on three head
Earnings: Joe Frost, $20,138
Nobody was more consistent through the four days and five performances of this rodeo, which awarded more than $1 million in cash and prizes, than the team roping pair of Horner and Hawkins, who had the highest earnings total among PRCA cowboys in helping the Texas Circuit win the team title for a record 12th time.
They had times of 5.4 and 5.0 seconds in the preliminary rounds to finish second in the average, a tenth of a second behind Rhett Anderson and Cole Wilson, then came back to go 5.7 in the semifinals and 4.6 in the finals.
“The goal all along was to be consistent and earn checks,” Hawkins said. “This is how I earn my living, so when you have a chance to win big money at a rodeo like this, you want to be able to take advantage of it.”
On a weekend when the bulls had a buck-off rate of just over 80 percent (they went 49-12), Joe Frost and his younger brother Josh were the dominant contestants, the only two guys to ride at least two bulls.
With ground money included, Joe, the reserve world champion last year, ended up with checks totaling $20,138, plus the $20,000 voucher for a new RAM truck and the Polaris RANGER UTV that went to all of the RNCFR event winners.
Josh Frost finished with the second-most money of any bull rider, with $10,303.
- Feild, the four-time and reigning bareback riding world champion who earned a total of $21,355 in Kissimmee, is scheduled to undergo surgery March 31 in Vail, Colo., to repair a torn labrum in his left hip. Dr. Marc Philippon – who has worked on Olympic athletes, as well as those from the NFL, MLB and NHL – will perform the surgery. Feild hopes to return to action sometime between 8-12 weeks after the operation.
- The March 26 Skirts and Spurs RNCFR Luncheon at the Westgate Town Center Villas in Kissimmee, Fla., raised more than $30,000 for the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund. A capacity crowd of 270 showed up for a wonderful steak lunch and a fun style show. Models included RNCFR barrel racers, wives of RNCFR contestants, and state and circuit rodeo queens. A live auction that was called by RNCFR bull rider Joe Frost and RNCFR specialty act Troy Lerwill helped give away more than 70 prizes donated by PRCA circuits and local businesses. Many RNCFR cowboys were on hand to help seat guests, pass out prizes and call bids.