The WNFR rookie Dustin Egusquiza and the veteran Kory Koontz roped their steer in 3.5 seconds in Round 7, good enough to take home their second go-round buckle this week at the 2017 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
“That’s the fastest I’ve ever been,” Koontz said. “It felt fast—it felt like a blur actually. I wanted to get a good start and be in position and get a fast throw. When I came across there I brought my rope up and immediately his rope was on and the steer was turning right then. He gave me a good, solid turn where it didn't feel like a roll and as soon as his butt cracked I just brought it, and it worked.”
Egusquiza roped his steer on his third swing to get it on him lightening fast and turn him for Koontz to clean it up on the back end.
“This is the third time that I’ve ever been 3.5—never faster,” Egusquiza said. “I’ve never been 3.5 on this stage, but I have been at the amateur rodeos.”
Clay Smith and Paul Eaves kicked-off Round 7 and turned in a 5.4-second run, and Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira roped one team later in 4.7 seconds. After Egusquiza and Koontz roped, Riley and Brady Minor tried giving them a run for their money turning in a 3.8 second run, good enough to take second in the round.
“We still had to sit there through all of that and hope someone wasn't going to be 3.4 because last night they proved that the times can be really fast,” Koontz said. “It just so happened that there was one other 3—it was a little bit more of an easier round.”
This may be the Kid’s second WNFR go-round win but after tonight Koontz has now won 23 go-round buckles at the Thomas & Mack.
“When you ride out of the arena and you know that you're going to win the round—that’s a good feeling,” Koontz added. “It’s a lot of emotion and a lot of excitement and it’s always fun to win especially when you're really fast.”
Egusquiza and Koontz jump from 10th in the average to eighth in the average with $70,711.54 won this week and now moved to seventh in the PRCA World Standings with $148,148.38 and $145,363.56 won, respectively.
“This is the best feeling in the world honestly,” Egusquiza said. “It’s what everyone dreams about—to be 3.5 with Kory Koontz at the National Finals Rodeo is pretty cool.”
Round 7 is the first round that any barriers were broken so far at the 2017 WNFR. Cody Snow broke the barrier to be 4.4 for Wesley Thorp and Coleman Proctor broke out for Billie Jack Saebens to be 5.3 in the round.
Erich Rogers and Cory Petska continue to hold on to their number-one spot in the average even though they slipped a leg to move their 4.7 to a 9.7 in the round. The top six teams in the average stayed in the same spots as in Round 6, but Charly Crawford and Joseph Harrison move up a spot to the number-seven spot.
Driggers and Nogueira are hanging on the the number-one spot in the PRCA World Standings with $196,086.32 won. But based on the PRCA Projected World Standings, if the rodeo ended right now average leaders Rogers and Petska would win the World, the Minors would be second, Brown and Long third and Driggers and Nogueira fourth.
1. Dustin Egusquiza and Kory Koontz, 3.5 seconds, $26,237.77 each.
2. Riley Minor and Brady Minor, 3.8 seconds, $20,730.77 each.
3. Charly Crawford and Joseph Harrison, 4.4 seconds, $15,653.85 each.
4/5. Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira, 4.7 seconds, $8,884.61 each.
4/5. Luke Brown and Jake Long, 4.7 seconds, $8,884.61 each.
6. Jr Dees and Tyler McKnight, 5.0 seconds, $4,230.77 each.