World standings leaders Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira were last team out in one of the most solid first go's in recent history, besting the field with a 4.1-second run worth $26,230.77 a man.
When they rode into the box, Wrangler National Finals Rodeo first-timers Tyler McKnight and Jr. Dees were winning the round with a 4.3 from fourth team out. There had already been five other four-second runs and plenty of fives, too, but Driggers and Nogueira had agreed to just make the best run on the steer they drew, no matter what.
Driggers had thought the steer looked strong, but he was aboard his 21-coming-22-year-old rock-solid mount Dre, who made his job a little easier.
"He's so easy to rope on and he scores so good, it's hard to get off of him," Driggers said. "I'd have liked to see him finish a little better. He kind of stopped his front feet a little."
Nogueira was aboard Green Card, the horse he's ridden the last two years, and he was a little late but that made for a fast finish.
"I kind of know him very well so I know when he's going to be perfect, 100 percent, or not, so I just try to compensate that," Nogueira said.
The go-round win moved Driggers' season earnings to $170,208.77 and Nogueira's to $170,937.80. Rogers and Petska remained second in the PRCA world standings after splitting fourth and fifth in the go with a 4.8-second run, worth $8,884.61 a man to move their earnings to $152,596.23 a man.
1. Kaleb Driggers/Junior Nogueira, 4.1, $26,230.77 each
2. Jr. Dees/Tyler McKnight, 4.3, $20,730.77 each
3. Clay Smith/Paul Eaves, 4.6, $15,653.85 each
4./5. Erich Rogers/Cory Petska and Charly Crawford/Joseph Harrison, 4.8, $8,884.61 each
6. Riley Minor/Brady Minor, 4.9, $4,230.77 each