Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013 | 2:02 p.m.
2013 Wrangler NFR Round 2
Nearly 18,000 fans packed UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center for Friday night’s Round 2 of the 2013 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo when country singer Suzie Dobbs sang the national anthem and Madison McDonald, Rider Kiesner and Tommie Turvey performed a Contract Act Extension salute to the PRCA Rodeo Committee.
Bull rider Shane Proctor moved closer to a possible second world championship as steer wrestler Dakota Eldridge took another step toward history during a thrilling second night of the Wrangler NFR. Dakota’s win in the bulldogging event moved him up 11 spots into fourth place in the world standings.
He’s trying to follow in the footsteps of team roping heeler Allen Bach (1990) and bull rider Cody Hancock (2000), who are the only cowboys to win a world championship after entering the WNFR in 15th place.
“Hopefully, I can make it three to do that,” Dakota said. “I’ve got nothing to lose. I came in 15th, and I’m just 22 (years old), so I’m just going for it. I’ve got a chance now, and I’m pretty confident.”
2011 world champion Shane, 28, jumped from 10th place to third in the world bull riding standings by winning Rounds 1 and 2 (good for $18,630 each night). Now trailing world leader J.W. Harris by only $25,077, he said: “This is my third year at the NFR, and these last two nights have been my two best rides here ever, but before gold buckles get handed out, we still have eight long nights ahead of us.
“Now, though, I know how to spend my $37,000 winnings — my van just broke down again, so I’ll use some of the money to fix her up. I’ve had her since my 2011 championship season, and I love that van. Every time I see her, I get excited, so I have to take care of her.”
A rookie five years ago, Steven Peebles won in bareback riding after starting his fifth consecutive rodeo in eighth place. After breaking his leg and missing half the rodeo season in 2011, he said: “I’ve been hurt a lot when I’ve been here, but I’m healthy this year, and it feels awesome.”
Tie-down roper Randall Carlisle posted the fastest Round 2 time (6.8 seconds) in WNFR history, by three-tenths of a second. Team roping header Charly Crawford, 35 , took the first NFR victory lap of his seven years here: “I’ve made 62 runs here, and this is my first round win,” he said. “My wife (Courtney) loves my horse as much as she loves me.”
In saddle bronc riding, nine of the 15 riders were bucked off. Chad Ferley, the 2006 world champion, rode for the 87.5-point win. Barrel racer Sherry Cervi won her first two rounds. Chasing her fourth world championship, she said: “I really wanted to nail my first barrel. We got so close that my knee touched it, but it was perfect.”
Our thanks to contributing photographer Tom Donoghue, who was at ringside for his gallery of all-action photos, and the Wrangler NFR for their contributions to this story. Round 3 gets underway tonight, so check back Sunday for coverage.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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