Here's what to look for in the team roping in Round 8 of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, according to Brock Hanson

The race for the world standings is as tight as ever, with Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira battling it out with Clay Smith and Paul Eaves for the leaders of the pack. Sleepers like average leaders Aaron Tsinigine and Trey Yates and number-three-heeler Joseph Harrison are all in contention, too, with tens of thousands in day money left on for the taking. Here's what NFR-header Brock Hanson sees happening in the next three rounds. 

Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira

Round 7: 4.30

Round Winnings: $11,000 each

Total NFR Earnings: $64,012.81 each

World Standings Earnings: $178,964 (Driggers); $179,948.33 (Nogueira)

Average: 2, 32.10/6

World Standings: 2

Hanson's take: I think Kaleb and Junior are one of the most consistent, fast teams going. Even this year, I borrowed Kaleb's horse at the All-American Finals. We made the cut and came to the Final round. I'm second or third out, and there's a 4.8 on the board. There's several teams behind me and four advance. They're the best guys in the world. Driggers goes dead last. The team roping fell apart. They had to be faster than a 9.5 or 9.8, and Driggers rode through his normal throw, took an extra swing and split the horns and missed. If he had to be 5.1 to make it back, they'd have been 4.2. Driggers doesn't need to back off. They're one of the greatest, fastest teams that's ever competed. He doesn't need to back off at all. Let somebody else tend the numbers, bring your A-Game and try to win something. 

Clay Smith and Paul Eaves

Round 7: NT

Round Winnings: --

Total NFR Earnings: $81,782.05 each

World Standings Earnings: $197,126.60 each

Average: 5, 21.90/5

World Standings: 1

Hanson's take: It sucks they missed that steer last night. They missed the first steer out, going in with a chance to win the world, and then there was a lot of rodeo left. They put the heat on, so they place good in the first five rounds and they win two of them. They don't back off at all. They missed trying to win something in the round. I would not change my game plan. That horse is unbelievably good. Paul is one of the best clean-up guys with the biggest heel loop going—not that there's much clean up behind Clay. They keep the hammer down and keep going with what got them roped back in for a chance at a world title. 

Aaron Tsinigine and Trey Yates

Round 6: 4.90

Round Winnings: $4,230.77 each

Total NFR Earnings: $54,423.08 each

World Standings Earnings: $138,467.57 (Tsinigine); $152,862.02 (Yates)

Average: 1, 53.30/7

World Standings: 8 (Tsinigine); 5 (Yates)

Hanson's take: Obviously you're trying to win the average, but trying to be careful in there is more dangerous than trying to win first every night. It's Trey's first Finals, he's got an unbelievably good heel horse. He's truly happy and enjoying himself. If I were Tsinigine, I would feel extremely comfortable with my partner. Tsinigine has pressed at the barrier and taken a risk there instead of with his rope. 

Dustin Egusquiza and Kory Koontz

Round 6: NT

Round Winnings: --

Total NFR Earnings: $23,326.92 each

World Standings Earnings: $129,722.95 each

Average: 14, 22.80/3

World Standings: 10 (Egusquiza); 9 (Koontz)

Hanson's take: Gosh dang. Dustin is the fastest header in the world. You just have to be ready. There's no game plan there. It's full-contact. He's going to throw in the box. He's missed more than I ever thought he would, but they have nothing left to lose. They need to try to win every day money. You have the veteran behind you who has seen everything you can see in there. You're not going to trick him in there. 

Chad Masters and Joseph Harrison

Round 6: 4.00

Round Winnings: $15,653.85 each

Total NFR Earnings: $50,615.39 each

World Standings Earnings: $135,957.53 (Masters); $155,130.43 (Harrison)

Average: 7/8, 36.10/5

World Standings: 9 (Masters), 3 (Harrison)

Hanson's take: I think they have their groove figured out. Joseph will throw and turn regardless. He's finished as good as anybody up there. He's dallied and finished. Obviously he's known for great horses. That horse has been good no matter where he's put his loop. That horse has finished so smooth and let him finish the run. Whatever Chad does, Joseph has been solid and sharp. He's done a good job of staying around them. They're far enough down in the average, and Chad is game for whatever. If you had to back in there with a shot at a world title, you wouldn't be bummed to see you've drawn Chad Masters. They've got to go for the rounds and press every time too. 

Clay Tryan and Travis Graves

Round 6: NT

Round Winnings: --

Total NFR Earnings: $25,794.87 each

World Standings Earnings: $122,784.90 (Tryan); $118,927.76 (Graves)

Average: 15, 23.80/3

World Standings:  11

Hanson's take: Those guys work all year, for 10 days. You get 10 rounds that pay $26k. In what we do, you get a couple times a year to get a chance to rope at $11,000. But when you get a chance to rope at $26k a night, it changes the way you look at business. You've been practicing going as fast as you can possibly go, and if you believe in yourself, it's just as easy to be 4-flat as it is to just go catch. If I were heeling for Clay, I would not be upset that he missed trying to go fast. I'm on the team of the cowboys instead of the professional couch cowboys. The one time I did get a chance to compete there, it's harder to be 6-flat than it is to bring your A-game and be 4-flat. All the risk has to be at the barrier. Going full-contact is the only way to be there. The difference in first and third is about $11,000. So these guys will press every time. 

Cody Snow and Wesley Thorp

Round 6: 4.80

Round Winnings: $6,769.23 each

Total NFR Earnings: $48,500.00 each

World Standings Earnings: $140,362.73(Snow); $136,673.40 (Thorp)

Average: 6, 29.90/5

World Standings: 6 (Snow); 8 (Thorp)

Hanson's take: I was so bummed for both of those guys. I think they're good. If they stay together, that's a team that will have to be dealt with for years. I'm a fan of their roping, and I was way surprised. If they had won every round and won the average, it wouldn't have surprised me more than what they've done. They just have to keep doing what they do. 

Derrick Begay and Cory Petska

Round 6: 3.90

Round Winnings: $23,480.77 each

Total NFR Earnings: $59,711.54 each

World Standings Earnings: $144,548.69 (Begay); $151,005.57 (Petska)

Average: 3, 46.10/6

World Standings: 5 (Begay); 6 (Petska)

Hanson's take: They just need to keep going. What got them here was one steer at a time. Nothing was meant to be. They just need to stick to what got them there. They went one steer at a time with no expectations. They do the same thing and they'll be surprised how they end up. Petska will throw fast and Begay has tricked his horse every night. He's gotten the same go almost every time. As long as he keeps doing that, they're good. 

Bubba Buckaloo and Chase Tryan

Round 6: NT

Round Winnings: --

Total NFR Earnings: $59,852.56 each

World Standings Earnings: $148,720.55 (Buckaloo); $128,136.37 (Tryan)

Average: 12, 13.60/3

World Standings: 4 (Buckaloo), 10 (Tryan)

Hanson's take: I almost thought they'd quietly win first, second or third in the average. It looks like they had a game plan and stuck to it. They haven't gotten too crazy. Bubba has been real disciplined, and if I could have seen the first four nights, I'd have picked them to win a top three hole in the average. They were executing it perfectly at the beginning. 

Luke Brown and Jake Long

Round 6: 3.90

Round Winnings: $23,480.77 each

Total NFR Earnings: $71,134.61 each

World Standings Earnings: $154,236.78 each

Average: 9, 17.00/4

World Standings: 3 (Brown); 4 (Long)

Hanson's take: The first thing Luke needs to do is cut that beard off. They just need to get tapped off. Every run has been different, and Jake is obviously one of the fastest heelers there is. They just need to take a step back and go rope one at a time. They both have done very well there before. Even when they're fast, it doesn't look like they're trying to be fast. They win so much. Luke and Jake have a relaxed look about them, and it's always fast. 

Riley and Brady Minor

Round 6: --

Round Winnings: --

Total NFR Earnings: $57,807.69 each

World Standings Earnings: $139,361.44 (Riley); $138,168.82 (Brady)

Average: 10, 22.00/4

World Standings: 7

Hanson's take: They've been heroes or zeroes every night. When it works, they get paid. When it doesn't, it's a no-time. Either their run fits that night or it doesn't work. That horse is so fast, Riley usually blows the barrier out and sticks it on them. 

Erich Rogers and Clint Summers

Round 6: 5.1

Round Winnings: --

Total NFR Earnings: $30,096.15 each

World Standings Earnings: $98,450.37 (Rogers); $109,563.12 (Summers)

Average: 7/8, 36.10/5

World Standings: 14 (Rogers); 13 (Summers)

Hanson's take: I watched them practice, and I thought they'd do really good. I like how a lot of their runs have been way out in the middle of the arena. That helps for the finish. That was a little unlucky getting an illegal head catch one night. There was nothing to do about that. All of their runs have been out in the middle and Rogers is doing a good job of leaving them out there when he could be getting them away from him. They roped really good as a team. All of those runs have been really similar. They've done really good as a team. They should have won more than that already. 

Tyler Wade and Cole Davison

Round 6: NT

Round Winnings: --

Total NFR Earnings: $36,230.77 each

World Standings Earnings: $109,375.79 (Wade); $102,482.34 (Davison)

Average: 13, 21.90/3

World Standings: 13 (Wade); 14 (Davison)

Hanson's take: They don't have any option. It's just one night at a time for them. They have a handful of one-headers left. TWade will throw fast, and so is Cole. Whether he can catch or not, he'll throw in the turn. TWade will bring it over the chute and Cole will let him have it regardless. They'll probably win something. 

Lane Ivy and Buddy Hawkins

Round 6: 9.1

Round Winnings: --

Total NFR Earnings: $47,230.77 each

World Standings Earnings: $114,688.38 (Ivy); $111,681.78 (Hawkins)

Average: 11, 30.80/4

World Standings: 12

Hanson's take: At the start Lane was a little bit worked up. He maybe thought it was faster than it already is. He's turned so many to be super fast, but he was maxing himself out with no room for error. The excitement wore off and the jitters left. He's done a phenomenal job of getting out the barrier and sticking it on him. If they place in all the next rounds, it will not surprise me. 

Rhen Richard and Quinn Kesler

Round 6: 6.70

Round Winnings: --

Total NFR Earnings: $27,557.69 each

World Standings Earnings: $92,789.71 (Richard); $88,906.45 (Kesler)

Average: 4, 49.90/6

World Standings: 15

Hanson's take: Rhen's always thrown such a good, sharp head loop. So when he sticks it on them, it's crisp, clean and tight. If he'd be a touch more patient in the turn, the run would have more rhythm to it. The steers haven't taken it really good, and Quinn has had to pull of some really tough heel shots. That steer came left last night and got into the wall, and nobody can finish well there. They'll have a chance to win something in the day moneys if Rhen can soften it up in the corner right there. TRJ

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