Trevor Brazile and Travis Graves tied Tom Richards and Allen Bach with a 3.9-second run worth $6,000 a man to add another level of complexity to calculating the World Standings.
But the whole story from the Champions Challenge Finale is almost too confusing to write, and the PRCA is still calculating the World Standings, so we can't even say for sure yet how the Champions Challenge affects the top 15. Hang with us, we'll update as quickly as we know.
But what we can say, with certainty, is that young-gun Tom Richards could not have done much more this weekend to give himself a fighting chance. And it didn't hurt that he had both Cesar de la Cruz and Allen Bach heeling for him this weekend.
Derrick Begay and Cesar de la Cruz partnered up for the Champions Challenge Finale because the PRCA required the prior year's Omaha champs to rope together. That left de la Cruz's partner, Richards, who he won Omaha's Justin Boots Championship with just the night before, to rope with Allen Bach because Bach placed the highest that night with a 4.8-second run with his son, Joel.
Trevor Brazile and Travis Graves would put the heat on with a 3.9-second run, the fastest of the week. Already a lock for the Finals, their win wasn't as dramatic as Richards and Bachs and Begay and de la Cruz's third place finish. Begay and de la Cruz rode into the box and Begay roped a neck aboard Clay Tryan's Kate, but de la Cruz would clean it up on the back side to stop the clock in 4.1 seconds. Then, Richards would rope a half head and Bach would throw his loop on the first legal hop to stop the clock in 3.9 seconds yet again.
When it was all said and done, Richards and Bach would walk into the press room and give this interview, though neither quite understood the significance of what they just one. Both, too, are cautious, as Chad Masters and Clay O'Brien Cooper and Tyler Wade and Kinny Harrell still have rodeos left, while Richards is out of them. Meanwhile, Begay's and de la Cruz's 4.1-second run would give them $3,800, but the jury is still out as to whether or not that's enough to get de la Cruz into the Finals. (Begay was too far out heading into the Finale.)
1/2. Tom Richards/Allen Bach and Trevor Brazile/Travis Graves, 3.9, $6,000 man
3. Derrick Begay/Cesar de la Cruz, 4.1, $3,800 man
4/5. Kaleb Driggers/Patrick Smith and Nick Sartain/Rich Skelton $2,100 man