Cheat Sheet: Round 6
"The Champ" Clay O'Brien Cooper's take on this year's NFR team roping.

Seven-time World Champion Heeler Clay O’Brien Cooper was home wrapping steers, warming up for practice when we called today to get his thoughts on this year’s NFR team roping. While he warmed up his horses, this is what he had to say about the contest heading into Round 6.

Smith and Corkill bounced back from a NT in Round 4 with a 4.4 in Round 5. Hubbell Rodeo Photos

Clay Smith and Jade Corkill

Round 5: 4.4

Round Winnings: $18,192.31

Total NFR Earnings: $63,307.69 each

World Standings Earnings: $213,819.91 (Smith) ; $171,945.62 (Corkill)

Average: 5

World Standings: 1; 1

Champ’s take: I think they’re roping smart, and it looks like Clay is trying to be aggressive and get the run started to contend, with placing high in the go-rounds. Jade is doing what Jade does. He ropes the steer right when he should be roped, on that first good hop he takes out of there. They aren’t in panic mode and they turned it around last night. They’re sitting good. 

Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira

Round 5: NT

Round Winnings:

Total NFR Earnings: $35,102.56 each

World Standings Earnings: $153,557.86 (Driggers); $150,877.22 (Nogueira)

Average: 10

World Standings: 3, 4

Champ’s take: I really liked their game plan, man. I thought that was really the type of a plan that would carry them all the way through to put a stamp on the average and place all the way through. Things happen, and they have a choice to make. They can stay hooked or change their game plan. Whether they think with it being halfway through that they need to change it up, or stay steady. On one hand it’s the second half, and on the other a lot of stuff can happen. I think I would maybe turn it up a little bit if I were in their spot. Just a notch. They need to come back and make a statement and win first or second the next couple nights and show everybody they’re right there and not going anywhere. But you don’t want to get totally crazy and have two or three misses in a row. It’s a tough ball game. 

Coleman Proctor and Ryan Motes were 4.4 to split second in the fifth round with Smith and Corkill. Hubbell Rodeo Photos

Coleman Proctor and Ryan Motes

Round 5: 4.4

Round Winnings: $18,192.31

Total NFR Earnings: $48,923.08 each

World Standings Earnings: $153,241.42 (Proctor); $158,089.16 (Motes)

Average: 12

World Standings: 4, 3

Champ’s take: I thought, like last night, they didn’t get a very good flag. Some teams could have gotten a better flag. But Coleman is sneaky fast. He can nail his start and do his quick little grab out there and set it up, they could make four or five runs in a row that are darn sure right there for the day money. They’re a threat. 

Tryan and Long got a leg in Round 5. Hubbell Rodeo Photos

Clay Tryan and Jake Long

Round 5: 4.5 +5

Round Winnings:

Total NFR Earnings: $30,730.77 each

World Standings Earnings: $133,895.53 (Tryan); $137,627.26 (Long)

Average: 15

World Standings: 8, 5

Champ’s take: When it starts off kind of bad, you just have to reach down and focus and get a new game plan and go execute. It’s all about executing a plan. When you don’t do it, it can be a bummer and a let down. You can’t let is snow ball. You have to turn it around. You have to claw and fight to the bitter end, and Clay and Jake will do that. 

Ty Blasingame and Travis Graves

Round 5:

Round Winnings:

Total NFR Earnings: $10,000 each

World Standings Earnings: $111,489.65 (Blasingame); $113,164.76 (Graves)

Average: 14

World Standings: 11, 13

Champ’s take: It’s just—when you come in there and you’re just battling for first place, then if it doesn’t start off good, it can snowball into a wreck. Now, what do you do? It’s about making good runs. There’s five rounds left. The last two runs Chad and Joseph made, they were just good runs. They got a good start. The good start provided a good throw. You can’t back in there thinking you’ll spin the fastest steer or you have no options. You still have to catch the steer. That’s the go you get. But that comes with the mindset. If you back in there thinking about getting a good start and getting a good throw. If you’re backing in there thinking you’re just going to throw and duck, that’s just hit and miss. But hey, those guys can just turn it right around. Any team can. Blaster can turn the next five for first. So as a heeler, you better have your hammer cocked because he’s going to spin one. 

Rogers and Lockett took a NT in Round 5. Hubbell Rodeo Photos

Erich Rogers and Kyle Lockett

Round 5: NT

Round Winnings:

Total NFR Earnings: $25,653.85 each

World Standings Earnings: $99,652.85 (Rogers); $124,383.68 (Lockett)

Average: 13

World Standings: 13, 10

Champ’s take: Man, Erich Rogers just sets it up so good. He rides for a good shot. He rides for a good handle, too. He’s riding forward. He’s on the barrier. He sets up an easy shot, and he rides through that and he pulls it tight and pulls their head around there forward going down the arena and that makes it easy to heel. That’s Matt Tyler set-up fast when he was riding Big Daddy. It’s fast and it’s consistent. To me, that looks totally awesome. I know Meat has had trouble the last couple nights, but he’s got to find his spot going down the arena and be ready to heel and have some heat on it. He’s got caught hanging it right there in the turn. That’s not his plan. He’ll hammer some. Erich will keep spinning them so he’ll have the opportunity to turn it around himself. 

At first out, Masters and Harrison got their second go-round win in a row. Hubbell Rodeo Photos

Chad Masters and Joseph Harrison

Round 5: 4.2

Round Winnings: $26,230.77

Total NFR Earnings: $69,230.77 each

World Standings Earnings: $164,759.49 (Masters); $167,508.36 (Harrison)

Average: 2

World Standings: 2, 2

Champ’s take: Well you know Chad is just so iron clad in his mental game plan. And he can do it all. But he’s got it set in his mind what he’s going to do every night and he goes and does it So that’s a pretty tough equation to beat. Joseph is just heeling them down. It don’t matter what they do or what it looks like, he’s just setting it down in the right spot and he’s got a big old loop they’re jumping into. I think they can just do it all the way through. They have momentum on their side, and jingle in their pockets. 

Brady Minor roped this steer around the belly but somehow lost a leg in a flag some are questioning. Hubbell Rodeo Photos

Riley and Brady Minor

Round 5: 5.7 +5

Round Winnings:

Total NFR Earnings: $36,653.84 each

World Standings Earnings: $134,302.79 each

Average: 7

World Standings: 7, 8

Champ’s take: Man, to me, man. That was a little bit of a late, hesitant flag. That turned out to be kind of a bad deal. I think a flagger needs to have timing and see the run and when it comes together, bang that flag down. They’re not trying to screw anybody, but at the same time it was a good run. They were faced and tight looking at the flagger, and in a split second it goes from winning $15-$20,000 to winning nothing. That’s a hard hit. They have to shake it off, back in there, pin their ears and go at it. 

Snow and Thorp picked up a check with this 5.3-second run. Hubbell Rodeo Photos

Cody Snow and Wesley Thorp

Round 5: 5.3

Round Winnings: $6,769.23

Total NFR Earnings: $32,423.08 each

World Standings Earnings: $127,476.60 (Snow); $119,719.07 (Thorp)

Average: 4

World Standings: 9, 11

Champ’s take: It just needs to be more consistent in the set up. There’s some of those guys who’ve figured out that knack of setting it up and turning every steer. Cody is just so close, but there’s just a little element of hit and miss. The run starts with the header, he’s the quarterback. They’ve got the ability to just be right with everybody and do what they plan to do, but it’s got to be set up consistently every time. That just is what it is.

Brown is in the groove on Cowboy, according to Champ. Hubbell Rodeo Photos

Luke Brown and Paul Eaves

Round 5: 5.1

Round Winnings: $11,000.00

Total NFR Earnings: $38,769.23 each

World Standings Earnings: $123,708.42 (Brown); $128,215.77 (Eaves)

Average: 6

World Standings: 10, 9

Champ’s take: Well it looks like Luke is tapped off pretty good, just like always. He’s one of those guys that has that building figured out. To me, Paul is just—the way he sets up his position in there—he’s got it dialed in. He had a bad break when that steer got underneath him and he missed him. He was in the right spot and that steer let off and come under him. It was a misfire. They’ll regroup for the week and keep making their run. They’re both very good about doing their deal, and they don’t step out of that. 

Hall and Tryan are dominating the average halfway through the week. Hubbell Rodeo Photos

Brenten Hall and Chase Tryan

Round 5: 6.3

Round Winnings: $4,230.77

Total NFR Earnings: $50,192.31 each

World Standings Earnings: $139,118.88 (Hall); $136,537.40 (Tryan)

Average: 1

World Standings: 5, 6

Champ’s take: Wow, that kid. That kid is spinning them off and Chase is heeling them off. They’ve got it going—the mojo, the ability, the momentum. It looks like they’ll have the ability to stay hooked and be right there challenging until the end. 

Sherwood and Koch took a NT in Round 5. Hubbell Rodeo Photos

Matt Sherwood and Hunter Koch

Round 5: NT

Round Winnings:

Total NFR Earnings: $34,961.54 each

World Standings Earnings: $111,165.61 (Sherwood); $119,268.61 (Koch)

Average: 8

World Standings: 12, 12

Champ’s take: Man, Sherwood is spinning them good. That kid is heeling them good. That steer got out of it last night. Sherwood kind of turned his head loose a little bit early and that steer went back down the arena as he was getting his slack and going to the horn, and a little bobble can cause a mistake. They have to keep making their run, because that run is good enough to place in the run. They’ll still have a chance for a good check in the average. 

Kirchenschlager and Worley maxed out the penalties in Round 5. Hubbell Rodeo Photos

Tate Kirchenschlager and Tyler Worley

Round 5: 5.8 +10 +5

Round Winnings:

Total NFR Earnings: $17,333.33

World Standings Earnings: $93,070.97 (Kirchenschlager); $88,523.54 (Worley)

Average: 3

World Standings: 14, 15

Champ’s take: Tate was spinning them off there pretty consistently. Tyler Worley hasn’t quite found his comfort spot there yet, which is hard to do in that building. It can take a couple years to find that spot. But he’s not far off. He’s catching them and making shots because he reacts well even if he’s in a little bit of a bad spot and he has to wait. He’s got good reactions that way so he’s working his way through it. Tate kind of has his style. He’s found out early how to spin them off in that building there. They’ll make some runs. 

Wade’s Round 5 steer went left as fast or faster than the previous four this week. Hubbell Rodeo Photos

Tyler Wade and Cole Davison

Round 5: 4.0 +5

Round Winnings:

Total NFR Earnings: $62,461.54 each

World Standings Earnings: $135,855.78 (Wade); $134,370.85 (Davison)

Average: 9

World Standings: 6, 7

Champ’s take: Oh my goodness. He’s the next dude. I’ve been telling people that. Once he figures out the measurements of the equation and starts to dial it in, look out. The challenge to the heeler is to get there when he gets their heads because it’s fast. I think his style is more like Driggers, and Driggers has refined his style. When Driggers first came in, he was bombing. TWade is en route to doing that. As far as ability with a rope, he’s crazy good. 

Jake Cooper and Caleb Anderson

Round 5: NT

Round Winnings:

Total NFR Earnings: $17,333.33 each

World Standings Earnings: $90,524.28 (Cooper); $89,722.93 (Anderson)

Average: 11

World Standings: 15, 14

Champ’s take: That doggone Caleb Anderson is a heeling freak. He can heel them in the blink of an eye. He’s got talent running out of his ears. Jake is a scorer, and sets up a good shot. They don’t look like Jake has his start dialed in like it needs to be. He’s just a hair off and they’re out there a little bit. He’s having to ride a little far and it runs down the arena. it’s all in the start in that building. You hear it from calf ropers and bull doggers. You miss the start two inches and it costs you two strides. 

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