Cheat Sheet: TWade's Team-By-Team Breakdown Heading Into Round 1
Tyler Wade turned all 10 steers *in a hurry* at the 2019 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, but he missed the cut for the 2020 edition of rodeo’s big show by a few thousand dollars after a hard summer on the trail. Since the season ended, though, he’s been going head-to-head at the jackpots with the top 15, and he shares his knowledge of the field in our first NFR Cheat Sheet of the week.
[Related: Stories on the 2020 NFR Start, Payout and Cattle]
1. Luke Brown ($89,664.97) and 1. Joseph Harrison ($70,299.00)
Luke’s got that new gray horse that he’s won on since he bought him late in the summer, and he’s always a contender to win the average or the go-rounds. I think they’ll do good all week like they always do. Joseph is just so solid. You can’t count them out of the world title or the average race.
2. Clay Smith ($69,703.55) and 2. Jade Corkill ($69,703.55)
Clay says he’s going to ride Marty, so he will be as solid as ever. There are a handful of guys who are unbelievable at going fast or catching, and the PRCA making the start two under will make them that much better. They’re probably the best team going right now and will be really hard to beat.
3. Cody Snow ($69,228.06) and 5. Junior Nogueira ($58,083.97)
It’s the same thing as Luke and Joseph and Clay and Jade. Those guys are all lights out. Snow’s going to have the ropiest heeler there is, and his mare is the best head horse there. When they get tapped off, Snow will give Junior a chance at a gold buckle like he did for (Wesley) Thorp last year.
4. Colby Lovell ($65,508.64) and 8. Paul Eaves ($56,159.04)
I’m thinking day moneys with these two. With two under, they’ll have plenty of room to finish and that will change the game for them and a lot of other teams.
5. Dustin Egusquiza ($64,176.04) and 6. Travis Graves ($56,514.01)
They can put the barrier wherever they want to, but Dustin can reach them from anywhere. He will head them as fast as anyone at the NFR. And TG is going to rope the steer by two feet regardless of what happens. With the room to the left, you can’t put them in a bad spot. They might be the only team you see this week be 3, and they could be that fast more than once.
6. Andrew Ward ($63,872.30) and 3. Buddy Hawkins ($63,872.30)
This is a team that nobody has seen on this kind of stage. People don’t know Andrew yet, but I’m telling you right now they have a run down to be 4.6-5.2 every single time. They did it all summer. They weren’t even inside the top 25 until after the quarantine, and from Woodward on they beat up on everyone. They’re so consistent and can catch and place toward the bottom/middle of the day moneys every round. They might be the sleeper to get into the average that nobody has ever heard of. Andrew’s got a bay horse that widens out to give Buddy a throw to catch every single time.
7. Clay Tryan ($57,629.29) and 4. Jake Long ($63,227.15)
I think they found the spot, with this arena and this barrier on these steers, where Clay can do his deal this year. There are two things he does better than everybody else: score and catch the steer. When they put the barrier right there to make it a scoring contest, he can let Jake clean them up. And if they go out of the average, they’ll be consistent 4-second runs in the day money.
8. Charly Crawford ($55,229.27) and 9. Logan Medlin ($54,620.84)
Charly’s been sticking all year. I’ve told him since January this was his year. He was so good this winter. He was first out at Oakley City, and he won the whole dang rodeo out of 100-some teams. He’s got a couple good head horses, too. This is Logan’s first NFR, but he’s been rodeoing for a while and knows the game. They won’t just run away with it in the day moneys, but they’ll look up and have them all caught.
9. Chad Masters ($52,682.49) and 10. Wesley Thorp ($52,682.49)
They had a roping the other day at Decatur right before those guys quarantined, and Chad killed them. That new sorrel horse fits him so good. Obviously Thorp won the World and he’s coming in at the bottom, so he’s got nothing to lose. They could go either way. Wesley stays tapped off. He’ll throw fast every night. He’s the most fearless guy out there when it comes to winning. They’ll be in the average or day money and have a good chance either way.
10. Erich Rogers ($52,541.57) and Paden Bray ($52,541.57)
Well, Rogers got Paden there this year. I think he’s showed him he’ll set them up and let Paden tee off and do his deal. Rogers is disciplined enough he’ll show Paden 10 steers. Paden isn’t scared to throw fast. This is the toughest year ever to make it, but with those guys shining like the summer they had, that was impressive. This was the toughest year rodeoing there’s been. You’ll look up to think Rogers is just a catcher and then he’ll be 3 sometimes. He’s going to set Paden up to win.
11. Kolton Schmidt ($51,021.85) and 14. Hunter Koch ($51,021.85)
Kolton’s got the previous AQHA/PRCA Horse of the Year, Badger. The kid’s a gamer. He’s got something to prove this year. He ropes a lot better than he performed the last time he made the Finals. He’s practiced up. And Hunter Koch will ride and throw as soon as the steer turns no matter what. That kid can rope.
12. Nelson Wyatt ($50,691.54) and 12. Levi Lord ($51,890.04)
They roped better than any team going this summer. They were killing them. I was entered the same time they were at a lot of rodeos, and no matter what the scnearios, I’d be 4.4 at some places and think I’d win it, and they’d be 4.0 and blow us out of the water. They might get some day moneys regardless of what happens.
13. Levi Simpson ($50,397.65) and 7. Shay Carroll ($56,267.31)
The last time Levi made it, the building was set up for him. It was his rookie NFR and he looked like a veteran and won the world. Shay’s made it a couple times and is disciplined. It wouldn’t surprise me if they win four day moneys or catch all 10 and win the average. They don’t have a set pattern-type run, but it will be interesting to see their approach. The barrier and set up are different, but Levi’s good enough he can make that work too.
14. Jeff Flenniken ($49,391.34) and 13. Tyler Worley ($51,137.68)
Flenniken’s the sleeper. He doesn’t talk much, but he’s really good in the average set ups, and he spins a lot of steers. He does what it takes to win. I think you’ll think they’re behind and they’ll have a $100,000 Finals and place in the average and place in the day moneys along the way. Worley is coming off an NFR he didn’t rope his best so I bet they turn up the heat.
15. Brenten Hall ($47,144.92) and 15. Chase Tryan ($47,144.92)
Brenten had an awesome Finals last year. That kid is a gamer and catches when he needs to. He’ll be one of those guys who might win a ton of money either in the day money or the average. Hock will play off whatever Brenten does, and he’ll find a way to win. We’ll just have to see how Brenten goes about it. TRJ