Luke Brown and Jake Long have been to 16 Wrangler National Finals Rodeos between the two of them–enough to know that a no-time in the first round isn't a deal breaker.
So when they backed into the box on Round 3 at eighth out with no smooth runs on the board, the veteran WNFR cowboys took the opportunity to capitalize and gain some ground. Brown, who has three average titles to his name already, got a good start on what they thought was a strong steer and got it on him long before he had a chance to take off. Long, for his part, took his first good shot and the flag fell in 3.9 seconds.
"I told Jake he was pretty strong, and all he said was, 'Day money,'" Brown laughed.
Brown and Long, who have roped together for the last two years, moved to seventh in the average and have won $43,000 so far this WNFR after a fifth-place 4.8 second run last night paid $6,769.23 (and the $10,000 every contestant gets coming into the rodeo).
"Nobody wants to start out missing," Long said. "But a lot of teams have won a lot of money on nine head. So nine clean runs will give us a good shot."
First-time WNFR qualifiers Jr. Dees and Tyler McKnight were second with a 4.1, their second smooth run of the week. They now have three down in 17.70 seconds, putting them second in the average behind leaders Clay Smith and Paul Eaves who have made three clean runs in 14.10 seconds. Dees and McKnight have now won $51,461.54 at their first Finals–more than any other team over these first three rounds.
Driggers and Nogueira, who tied for third and fourth with Garrett Rogers and Jake Minor, are still first in the world standings with $183,535.05 and $184,264.72 won, respectivaly. Smith and Eaves are second with $161,171.01 and $165,288.62 won, respectively. Rogers and Petska are third with $156,827.00 won each, while the third round winners Brown and Long are sitting fourth with $154,611.28 and $146,082.62 won, respectively.
1. Luke Brown and Jake Long, 3.90 seconds, $26,230.77 each
2. Jr. Dees and Tyler McKnight, 4.10 seconds, $20,730.77 each
3/4. Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira, 4.20 seconds, $13,326.92 each
3/4. Garrett Rogers and Jake Minor 4.20 seconds, $13,326.92 each
5. Clay Smith and Paul Eaves, 4.90 seconds, $6,769.23 each
6. Erich Rogers and Cory Petska, 9.1 seconds, $4,230.77 each