The first round of the 2019 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo was one of the smoothest starts in recent team roping history, with Tyler Wade and Cole Davison getting the 'W' with a 4.0-second run wort $26,230.77 each. With Round 2 comes an even smaller set of steers, averaging 480 pounds each, promising to speed things up. Here's how two-time World Champion Patrick Smith sees things unfolding.  

Clay Smith Jade Corkill Round 1 2019 NFR

Smith and Corkill got a leg on their first steer at the 2019 NFR, for a time of 9.4. 

Clay Smith and Jade Corkill 

Round 1: 4.4 +5

Round Winnings: --

Total NFR Earnings: $10,000 each

World Standings Earnings: $160,512.22 (Smith) ; $118,637.93 (Corkill)

Average: 11

World Standings: 1; 4

Smith's take: The first thing I'll say is that anytime something doesn't start how you want it, you have to shake it off and go on. That steer didn't start very good, and it threw the timing off. I know Jade was disappointed, but I have no doubt they'll turn it around. They have to focus on one steer at a time and making their run. That's what Clay Smith has dominated for years doing. 

Kaleb Driggers Junior Nogueira 2019 NFR

Driggers and Nogueira won fifth in Round 1, cracking out a new team of horses for this year's Finals. 

Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira

Round 1: 4.6

Round Winnings: $6,769

Total NFR Earnings: $16,769.23 each

World Standings Earnings: $135,224.53 (Driggers); $132,543.89 (Nogueira)

Average: 5

World Standings: 2, 3

Smith's take: Same thing—I've said for a little while I thought it would be their year. But if I know anything it's that predictions in team roping are worthless. Kaleb missed the start just a tough, but he just has to just get going. As Kaleb gets going, I have no doubt he has first place in mind. I think he'll be going for it. 

Coleman Proctor 2019 NFR Round 1

Proctor and Motes didn't have the first round they wanted, but Smith said they'll turn it around quickly. 

Coleman Proctor and Ryan Motes

Round 1: 4.0 +5 +10

Round Winnings: --

Total NFR Earnings: $10,000 each

World Standings Earnings: $114,318.34 ; $119,166.08

Average: 14

World Standings: 3

Smith's take: Coleman came hooking and did a great job. That steer didn't leave quite as sharp as he wanted, but he could take that same start the next nine nights and get out. After the big year they have and the confidence they've got going in, Coleman will be going for some go-rounds for sure. 

Clay Tryan and Jake Long

Round 1: NT

Round Winnings: --

Total NFR Earnings: $10,000 each

World Standings Earnings: $113,164.76 ; $116,896.49

Average: 15

World Standings: 4, 5

Smith's take: I expected them to win a lot. That was out of character for Clay last night. That steer got out ahead of him farther than he was expecting. I expect he'll get better starts. We know how good he can be in that building and how fast Jake Long can throw. When they do connect it will be for a lot of money. 

Ty Blasingame Travis Graves Round 1 2019 NFR

Blasingame and Graves knocked down the first steer of their NFR partnership in 5.5 seconds. 

Ty Blasingame and Travis Graves

Round 1: 5.5

Round Winnings: --

Total NFR Earnings: $10,000 each

World Standings Earnings: $111,489.65 ; $113,164.76

Average: 9

World Standings: 5, 7

Smith's take: Blaster can have it on the steer so dang fast. He's got to focus on not getting too much rope out. Short and tight is always faster than a lot of rope out. It's going to be easy for them to get in the wall. TG is so consistent and ropes so good. It's about good starts and keeping stuff tight. They can be dangerous if they get on a roll. 

Erich Rogers Kyle Lockett 2019 NFR Round 1

Rogers and Lockett have only roped a few steers together before Round 1, stopping the clock on their inaugural competition steer in 4.3 seconds. 

Erich Rogers and Kyle Lockett

Round 1: 4.3

Round Winnings: $15,653.85

Total NFR Earnings: $25,653.85 each

World Standings Earnings: $99,652.85 ; $124,383.68

Average: 3

World Standings: 12, 2

Smith's take: Their run was exactly what I expected. Kyle has been there and done that. Rogers is short and tight with his rope. He uses his start and his horses is what's fast in that arena. He knows controlled and out in the middle will win good money every night. Kyle is going to do what he does—put a big loop down and pull back. He's my high-money prediction for the week because of how his run sets up. Rogers is outstanding in that building. 

Chad Masters Joseph Harrison Round 1 NFR 2019

Masters missed the start but used his veteran skills to knock down their first steer in 6.0 seconds. 

Chad Masters and Joseph Harrison

Round 1: 6.0

Round Winnings: --

Total NFR Earnings: $10,000 each

World Standings Earnings: $105,528.72 ; $108,277.59

Average: 10

World Standings: 10, 9

Smith's take: Chad pulled the veteran move. He knew he missed the start, that steer took off and beat him. It's hard to get a feel for that the first couple nights in Vegas. Hats off to him to pulling his hat down and making sure he got him caught. He's great in the average but he holds the world record for the fastest time. He'll get a better roll, keep stuff short and tight and their run in the middle will be fast. 

Riley and Brady Minor

The Minors stopped the clock in a smooth 4.7 seconds in Round 1.  

Riley and Brady Minor 

Round 1: 4.7

Round Winnings: $2,115.38

Total NFR Earnings: $12,115.38 each

World Standings Earnings: $109,764.33 each

Average: 6/7

World Standings: 7, 8 

Smith's take: They're the quiet winners. They win all year long. They make it look easy. Riley rides such a good horse and sets the run up so good. What a good heel shot by Brady. That steer tried to make him miss. They'll stick to their run and let them win whatever they'll let them win. 

Cody Snow Wesley Thorp Round 1 2019 NFR

Snow and Third finished just out of the money with a 4.9-second run. 

Cody Snow and Wesley Thorp

Round 1: 4.9

Round Winnings: --

Total NFR Earnings: $10,000 each

World Standings Earnings: $105,053.52 ; $97,295.99

Average: 8

World Standings: 11, 13

Smith's take: I've watched them practice around here the last few weeks. They look sharp. They're a deadly team. Cody can get it on as fast as anybody just coming over the chutes with it and Wesley is a winner. They'll have a good week. 

Luke Brown Paul Eaves 2019 NFR Round 1

Brown wasn't planning to ride Cowboy at the 2019 NFR, but tragedy forced him to ride the sorrel gelding—who proved to be a solid choice in Round 1. 

Luke Brown and Paul Eaves

Round 1: 4.7

Round Winnings: $2,115.38

Total NFR Earnings: $12,115.38 each

World Standings Earnings: $97,054.57 ; $101,561.92

Average: 6/7

World Standings: 13, 12

Smith's take: Luke lost the horse he was planning on riding last week to an injury. That was a pretty big blow to him. Luke has a good attitude and is a winner, though. He looked good and that steer wasn't the best. But Luke is there to turn 10 steers. If I'd bet someone would turn 10 out of 10, it's him. Paul is really good at knowing when to throw fast and when to catch. They'll be a great average team and get their share of the go-round money, too. They're one of my picks to win it all. 

Brenten Hall Chase Tryan Round 1 2019 NFR

Hall kicked off his NFR career with a 4.5-second run, finished off by Tryan's sharp heel shot. 

Brenten Hall and Chase Tryan 

Round 1: 4.5

Round Winnings: $11,000

Total NFR Earnings: $21,000 each

World Standings Earnings: $109,926.57 ; $107,345.09

Average: 4

World Standings: 6, 11

Smith's take: Brenten is so talented. He can do anything with his rope. He'll need to stay short and tight. Chase has stepped his heeling up so much, and when they get tapped off they'll win a lot in the go rounds as well. 

Matt Sherwood Hunter Koch 2019 NFR Round 1

Sherwood tapped horse trainer Bert McGill for the 21-year-old black horse he rode in Round 1, with big results. 

Matt Sherwood and Hunter Koch

Round 1: 4.1

Round Winnings: $20,730.77

Total NFR Earnings: $30,730.77 each

World Standings Earnings: $106,934.84 ; $115,037.84

Average: 2

World Standings: 9, 6

Smith's take: Somebody told me to pick someone coming in farther down to win the world, and I said Sherwood and Hunter. Sherwood is lights out. We have seen it in the past how good he is in the building—controlled, short and tight and it was effortless. They'll have a great 10 days. 

Tate Kirchenschlager Tyler Worley 2019 NFR Round 1

Kirchenschlager and Worley, both NFR rookies, were able to knock their first steer down in 4.8+5, starting their week off with a catch.  

Tate Kirchenschlager and Tyler Worley

Round 1: 4.8 +5

Round Winnings: --

Total NFR Earnings: $10,000 each

World Standings Earnings: $85,737.64 ; $81,190.21

Average: 12

World Standings: 14, 15

Smith's take: They're both first-timers, and they have to get the jitters out and stick to their run. They both roped amazing all year. Tate has come so far so fast. Worley's done the same thing. It just takes a little bit of getting used to with two rookies roping together but they'll get it figured out and get going pretty quick. 

Cole Davison 2019 NFR

Davison kicked off his second NFR with a go-round winning 4.0 second run with Wade.

Tyler Wade and Cole Davison

Round 1: 4.0

Round Winnings: $26,230.77

Total NFR Earnings: $36,230.77 each

World Standings Earnings: $109,625.01 ; $108,140.08

Average: 1

World Standings: 8, 10

Smith's take: That guy turned some steers so fast last year and started out doing it again last year. He's such a reacher and can rope wherever the steer is, but he did a phenomenal job of setting the run up last night. He got a great start and handled him so well. Cole looked as good as you could look. It's hard to keep your distance and stay out wider and finish the run, and he did an amazing job at that. What a great way to start your week so look out for that momentum too. 

Jake Cooper and Caleb Anderson

Cooper got the barrier in Round 1, but Smith says he can take that same start and get out on 9 out of 10 steers. 

Jake Cooper and Caleb Anderson

Round 1: 4.6 +10

Round Winnings: --

Total NFR Earnings: $10,000 each

World Standings Earnings: $83,190.95 ; $82,389.60

Average: 13

World Standings: 15, 14

Smith's take: If you're going to make a mistake, you're better off making that mistake. He's riding one of the best head horses of all time, and it will be easier for him to have nothing to do other than leave a little early. He can take that same start on any other steer and get out. Caleb it probably feels good to get two feet on that first NFR steer under your belt. He did a great job heeling him so they'll do great this week. That's such a great head horse for this building. TRJ

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