Wrangler National Finals Rodeo rookie Dustin Egusquiza and Kory Koontz tied Luke Brown and Jake Long with a 4.1-second run in Round 4 to add $23,480.77 a man.
“There was some good runs at the start,” Long said. “Chad (Masters) and TG (Travis Graves) were 4.4, there was a couple clean runs that maybe got in the wall a little bit. I think the 4.4 was winning the rodeo. Honestly, I didn’t just love our steer—it was really, really strong. Coleman (Proctor) and Bill (Saebens) had him the first time.”
Brown thought that steer would be better than Round 1, but it turned out he stole the start and then that steer took off.
“When I come across there he was close and when I went to throw he wasn’t—I didn’t know if I was going to get him or not,” Brown said. “It was too late to pull it back in and he kind of dropped a little bit, and I run some rope and then Jake heeled him and pulled back then he ran some more rope—it hurt for a minute.”
Brown’s side of the equation wasn’t just perfect, and Long said his was a little off too.
“He kind of got out there a little bit far on me and I kind of pushed Colonel into a weird spot, but luckily he’s good enough to overcome that,” Long said.
Four teams later, Egusquiza backed into the box with a 4.1, 4.3 (Clay Smith and Paul Eaves), 4.4 (Masters and Graves), and 4.5 (Dustin Bird and Cory Petska) on the board. But he was riding a different mount, in which he had more confidence.
“I got on a horse that kind of wants to go at the gates a little more and I got a better start,” Egusquiza said of Kickstand, his backup gelding. “After I got a better start it was a lot easier. I just got the steer around the horns and turned him off and Kory heeled him pretty fast. It was honestly a pretty easy run it felt like compared to the last three— we’ve made it pretty tough but I hope it stays like this the rest of the week.”
Koontz, who has roped at 21 WNFRs, noticed the difference on the backside.
“The timing felt off because his other horse wasn’t able to get gone quick enough,” Koontz added about Egusquiza’s horse situation. “It seems like the start this year—the steers are leaving really good, it’s happening really fast. There’s several guys that have struggled with getting gone and then having to reach too far. Things go haywire when you’re late.”
Clay Smith and Paul Eaves continue to stay consistent in the rounds to hold their number-one spot in the average with a time of 18.4 seconds on four head. The duo roped their fourth steer in 4.3 seconds, good enough to place third in the round worth $15,653.85 each, while WNFR first-timers Jr. Dees and Tyler McKnight are sitting second in the average after roping their fourth steer in the Thomas & Mack in 5.2 seconds to put them in sixth place for Round 4, worth$4,230.77 each. The World Standings leaders, Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira took a no-time, which moved them back to ninth in the average.