Shane Hanchey wanted a gold buckle so badly, he figured to be nervous before the 10th and final round of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo Saturday night. But the 24-year-old showed how calm – and confident – he was by winking and smiling to the crowd during the opening.
“It was just another round for me,” said Hanchey, who was competing at his fourth Wrangler NFR, although it was before a record crowd of 18,242.
But it was a special night for the man from Sulphur, La. He came into the 10-day WNFR in 10th place in the tie-down roping, more than $62,000 behind the leader – his good friend and two-time defending champion Tuf Cooper.
Hanchey won the average – setting a record in the process – and broke the record for earnings in tie-down roping at the WNFR, while climbing to the top of the standings.
“Words can’t describe it,” he said. “My family deserves it. We’ve been through a lot. That horse (Reata) has been through a lot and I’ve been through a lot. This is unbelievable. It means so much to me and my family.”
Hanchey’s horse, Reata, has battled injuries the past two years. And his grandmother, Lola McBride, passed away June 12. After winning Rounds 1 and 9, Hanchey talked about her.
“You know I have a special angel looking over me this year,” he said.
Hanchey won $134,766 and broke Cody Ohl’s record of $132,652, set in 2006.
He also broke Fred Whitfield’s 16-year-old average record of 84.0 seconds on 10 head. Hanchey had a time of 80.10 seconds on 10 head. Trevor Brazile, second in the average, also broke Whitfield’s mark with 83.20 seconds on 10 head.
Cooper, who was ninth in the average and finished fourth in the world, was trying to become the first tie-down roper to win three straight since his father, Roy “Super Looper” Cooper, won five consecutive titles from 1980-84.
Hanchey is the first non-Texan to win the tie-down roping since Herbert Theriot in 1994.
“I had a goal after three rounds that I needed $30,000 won and then after that everything just kind of flowed together,” Hanchey said. “After that I didn’t put much thought into it. I just reacted all week. It’s an incredible feeling.”
Ohl claimed his fifth round win in 6.6 seconds – one-tenth shy of his arena and round record – to tie Dave Brock’s record for round wins in 1978. Ohl also tied the mark in 2001.
All-Around World Champion Brazile became the first ProRodeo cowboy to go over $5 million in earnings. The 19-time world champion has $5,029,313 in career winnings. The 37-year-old cowboy won $426,011 this season, the second highest in PRCA history behind his 2010 total of $507,921. Brazile has the seven highest totals in history and has eclipsed $400,000 three times.
Brazile and partner Patrick Smith shared the Round 10 team roping win with Derrick Begay and Cesar de la Cruz, who went over $1 million in career earnings. Brazile and Smith were seventh in the average and won $76,773 in team roping, while improving to fifth in the world
In tie-down roping, Brazile was second in the average and earned $94,050 in that event; he finished third in the world standings. Counting his National Finals Steer Roping winnings, Brazile won $197,285 at this year’s National Finals.
Kaycee Feild, another second-generation world champion – he’s the son of Lewis Feild, a two-time bareback riding and three-time all-around champion – has won three straight world titles and also claimed three straight average titles. He’s the first to accomplish that feat.
Jack Ward Jr. is the only previous three-time average champ in the bareback riding (1974-76), but he didn’t win a gold buckle in any of those years. Team roper Leo Camarillo holds the record for most consecutive NFR average titles with four, and only Ward, steer wrestler John W. Jones Sr. and saddle bronc rider Rod Warren have won three straight.
Feild is the first bareback rider to win three straight gold buckles since Joe Alexander earned five from 1971-75. Feild is two shy of the most bareback riding titles shared by Alexander and Bruce Ford. Bobby Mote has four and Will Lowe owns three.
“It’s amazing to be mentioned with Joe Alexander and Bruce Ford, and Bobby Mote and Will Lowe,” Feild said. “I want to keep going and win more. I’m still young and want to win six gold buckles.”
The 26-year-old Feild, who lives in Spanish Fork, Utah, said winning never gets old.
“Each one gets better for me,” he said of the world title. “That’s huge for me. I want to break records and I want to set my own records. I want to do things nobody’s done before. I got some inspiration tonight from Bruce Ford telling my dad that I’m such a good rider.”
Casey Colletti claimed his third round win of the week, riding for 86.5 points on Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Scarlett’s Web. Colletti rode the same horse for 88.5 points at the 2012 WNFR, the highest bareback ride of the rodeo.
Feild, who got fifth in Round 10, said he was careful not to get conservative, although he just needed a mistake-free ride to clinch the world title. He rode for 83 points and fourth place on Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Fancy Free.
“I was going to go at him,” Feild said. “I wanted a good, strong mark-out and wanted to stay aggressive.”
Team ropers Clay Tryan and Jade Corkill each won their second world championship. Tryan won his first gold buckle in 2005, while Corkill claimed his last year. It was a nervous week for the talented team, as average winners Luke Brown and Kollin VonAhn (56.2 seconds on nine head) pushed them to the limit while finishing second in the world.
Tryan topped team roping headers with $179,688, while Corkill led heelers with $178,057. Brown finished with $171,159 and VonAhn with $166,291.
“This was the toughest competition there’s ever been, in my opinion,” Tryan said. “This is a very satisfying win for me. It’ll take a few days for this to sink in.
“It means a lot. I’ve been one of those guys who’s been at the top and not gotten it done. We just had to catch tonight. I just made sure I got out and got him caught. This is a very satisfying win for me. We had a good season, and it was really important to finish strong. Getting it done at the finish line is very important, and it feels really good.”
Corkill was ecstatic to earn his second straight gold buckle.
“Winning it back-to-back means a lot to me,” he said. “Roping’s tough and it’s just gotten so much tougher. To get it done two years in a row means everything.”
Now, his hope is to challenge the record of eight straight world championships by Speed Williams and Rich Skelton.
“Whether it’s a realistic goal or not,” Corkill said, “the bar is nine in a row.”
Another former world champion found the resolve to add to his gold buckle collection as saddle bronc rider Chad Ferley came out on top for the first time since 2006. The 33-year-old from Oelrichs, S.D., won third in the round and was third in the average.
“Heck, I don’t know what took so long in-between,” Ferley said of his two world titles. “If I could just win it every year, that would be great. I think the second one is sweeter, because they don’t just hand out world champion buckles and saddles; it’s a lot of work. I won my first title my first time here, and then it took another seven years, so this one means the most.”
Ferley entered the WNFR in third place behind Cody Wright and Jesse Wright, but made $100,661 at the Finals and totaled $204,432 for the year. Right behind Ferley was hard-luck Jake Wright, who was second in the world with $194,365 after winning $106,270 in Vegas. Wright missed his horse out in Round 9, or likely would’ve claimed his first gold buckle.
“My mindset coming in here was that I didn’t do very well here last year, so I wanted to improve this year,” Ferley said. “My main goal here was to make as much money as I could to feed my family, and at the end it worked out and I won.
“This is the best and now I get to take home a gold buckle and start again from square one next year. The person I texted first was my wife to tell her I won it, and there’ll be a celebration when I get home.”
Jacobs Crawley won the saddle bronc average with 778.5 points on 10 head, five points ahead of Cort Scheer.
Steer wrestler Hunter Cure won his first gold buckle, in just his third Finals, after coming into the 10-day event in seventh place. The 30-year-old resident of Holliday, Texas, earned $108,348 at the WNFR, more than any other bulldogger.
“I’m trying to wrap my mind around it at the moment,” Cure said. “The key this week was a great horse and a great hazer, Riley Duvall. He did an unbelievable job all week long and I’m greatly appreciative.
“This is one of the hardest starts you see all year long and you have to keep attacking if you want to win. I made a few mistakes earlier in the week by not attacking enough. I wanted to keep it as clean as possible at the end of the week. I was aggressive and it allowed everything to work better in this situation.”
Wade Sumpter won the round in 3.4 seconds, while Cure took fourth to win $7,812. That pushed Cure to third in the average for $30,649 more. It was enough to allow him to pass Matt Reeves, who earned $16,226 for finishing fifth in the average. Reeves is the reserve world champion with $158,575.
“I didn’t feel any more pressure than any other night here,” Cure said. “I wanted to make it business as usual, and I knew if I could take a start on that steer I might have a chance to even win second in the round. I didn’t quite get that done, but was still very pleased how it all shook it out.”
In just his second WNFR, Bray Armes won the average with 44.8 seconds on 10 head to pocket $100,160. Armes finished third in the world with $157,254.
J.W. Harris clinched his fourth bull riding world championship Friday by sharing the Round 9 win. He was second in the average and finished the season with $252,829.
Cody Teel, the 2012 world champ, was the average winner with 651.5 points on eight bulls. The 21-year-old Teel pocketed $224,073 in his third season with the PRCA.
Harris said he was motivated by hearing others announced the last two years as gold buckle winners when he was so close to winning five straight before this year.
“That is definitely the kind of stuff that motivated me and made me hungry,” Harris said. “I thought there was no reason why I shouldn’t be the defending champion and going for my sixth this year. It lit a fire under me and it’s going to continue, and if anything, I’m going to push harder next year. I guess I’m like fine wine: the older I get, the better I get.”
Harris, 27, said he felt good in every way coming into this Finals.
“This is probably the best I’ve ever felt mentally coming into an NFR,” he said. “Physically, I’ve always been fine, but mentally this was the strongest I think I’ve been since I kicked ass at the 2010 NFR and rode eight out of 10. I had a few stupid mental mistakes here this time, but overall I felt good.”
The amazingly consistent Sherry Cervi won the barrel racing world championship and broke the average record with 138.15 seconds on 10 runs, eclipsing the mark of 138.26 set by Jill Moody in 2010. It’s the fourth gold buckle for the 38-year-old Cervi, spanning a total of 18 years (1995, 1999, 2010, 2013).
Shada Brazile, the wife of Trevor Brazile, took second in the average in her first WNFR with 140.3 seconds on 10 runs. She earned $130,278 for the season to finish eighth in the world.
Cervi won three rounds and cashed a check in every round, the fifth time that was accomplished by a barrel racer and the first time since Kristie Peterson and her great horse Bozo did it in 1997. Cervi has 23 career NFR round wins, two shy of Charmayne James’ WNFR event record.
“It is special, because getting around these barrels 10 times and being faster than anyone else here is so very, very hard to do,” Cervi said.
Cervi also won the Ram Truck Top Gun Award with $155,899 as the top money winner in a single event at the WNFR. It’s the second straight year a barrel racer won the award. Hanchey was second ($134,765), followed by Teel ($131,010), Harris ($122,446), Feild ($119,090) and bareback rider Steven Peebles ($116,386).
“It’s just all so special,” Cervi said. “This has been such a great year for me. Winning the world and also the Top Gun Award – I’m a bit overwhelmed.”