Here we are, just a little over a week out from the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, and, in case you don't get our magazine, here's are our picks for the world champion race. Because this is a little less formal medium, I'm going to explain my process for making these picks a little further for each one. Admittedly, there is so much money to be won in Las Vegas and so much I can't foresee, that this is really a fool?s errand. But it gets people talking, thinking and excited about the Finals. Really, this mostly based on gut feelings. I'll look back on Dec. 16 and realize the mistakes I made, but oh well, here goes.
All-Around: Trevor Brazile. Well, I'll at least get one right, I bet. Although Steven Dent doesn't have a realistic chance, He's closer than you might think.
Bareback Riding: Until Kaycee Feild loses, I'm not picking against him.
Steer Wrestling: All signs point toward Luke Branquinho, I know that. But, it may be me being a homer, I think Wade Sumpter is going to have a real strong Finals. I've got nothing to base this on. I just see him as a champion and this could be the year.
Team Roping: Time to make everybody but two people mad! In the magazine, I went with Clay Tryan and Travis Graves. I just see a determination in Clay that I can't ignore. Trevor and Patrick are probably the odds-on favorites and there's no compelling reason to pick against Chad and ClayO. Plus, every year the eventual-world champion comes from further and further down the pack to win. More than any other event, it's anybody?s game. it's all about who catches fire for 10 days. The team that wins a couple rounds early, then places high in the average, will take it. Right or wrong, I'll stick with my original picks.
Saddle Bronc Riding: Jesse Wright has come alive at the Thomas & Mack for two years in a row. Wade Sundell might be able to hold him off, there?d be no surprise if he did, but my gut?s saying Jesse.
Tie-Down Roping: Look, Tuf Cooper is going to win many more world titles. But I think Cody Ohl has put himself in a spot to win it this year. If Tuf does beat him, it will signify a major maturation in Tuf?s game and he'll be real hard to beat for as long as he has the desire.
Barrel Racing (per Managing Editor Chelsea Toy): Brittany Pozzi. No arguments from me. Great horses and a lot to ride for.
Bull Riding: Cody Teel?s name keeps coming up, but I just don't feel it. J.W. Harris is my pick. Shane Proctor could become a factor, but might be too far out to contend.