Reigning World Champions and three-time WCRA Champions, Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira were the last team to rope in the third performance of the semi-final rounds at the WCRA Utah Days of ‘47 Rodeo and came through with a 6.96-second run.
“We were last out and we just had to make a clean run,” Nogueira said. “We knew that our steer runs a little bit. I tried to keep him a little bit more straight as I could, but he stepped left just a little bit. We had plenty of room, Kaleb just went up there and he was doing a great job.I was just worried about my job.”
Driggers and Nogueira finished first in the round and earned $1,600 for their efforts, qualifying them for Monday’s Gold Medal Round.
“It’s just a huge blessing getting to come here to Salt Lake with the WCRA,” Driggers said. “All that they’re doing for us, trying to grow rodeo, they’re doing a really good job. We just appreciate the opportunity.”
Driggers double dipped in the third performance when he entered heading for Nogueira and heeling for Beau Herbert of Frierson, La.
“Honestly, Beau text me probably three or four days ago and asked if we were gonna be over here and if I wanted to heel for him,” Driggers said. “Anytime I get a chance to heel I like to jump on the opportunity.”
Herbert and Driggers tied for third with Payden Emmett, of Stephenville, Texas, and Lucas Falconer, of Mormangee, Texas with a 10.16 while Cory Kidd, of Statesville, N.C., and Lane Mitchell, of Bolivar, Tenn., finished second with a 9.49.
On the head side, Driggers rode Cuervo—the 15-year-old bay gelding registered as Remis Gays On Ofadoc—on which he won his world title.
On the heel side, Nogueira’s Timon—the 10-year-old buckskin gelding registered as Kiehne’s Frosty Pepto—carried both Driggers and Nogueira during the round.
Driggers and Nogueira landed in Salt Lake at 6:50 just before the rodeo began at 7:30. At 10:30 after the performance, they will board a plane to leave for Salinas to rope one more before they return Monday night for the Gold Medal Round for their shot at the $25,000 prize and gold medal award.
“I’m blessed to be here and would like to thank everybody who put this great event together every year,” Nogueira said. “It’s a blessing to come over here and compete for that kind of money right now. We’ll see in the short round, hopefully, we can win a gold medal.”
Tonight’s round winner will determine the final spot in the Gold Medal Round and the three wild card spots will be announced.
Action at the Utah Day of ’47 Rodeo continues July 23 at 7:30 p.m. MT. Live streaming is available on PBR RidePass on PlutoTV nightly at 7:30 p.m. MT. CBS will air the Gold Medal Round of the Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo on July 31 at 11 a.m. MT.
WCRA Utah Days of ‘47 Semi-Final Round 3 Results:
1. Kaleb Driggers, Hoboken, GA/Junior Nogueira, Presidente Prudente, Brazil, 6.96 seconds, $1,600; 2. Cory Kidd, Statesville, NC/Lane Mitchell, Bolivar, TN, 9.49, $1,200; 3. (tie) Beau Herbert, Frierson, LA/Kaleb Driggers, Hoboken, GA, and Payden Emmett, Stephenville, TX/Lucas Falconer, Mormangee, TX, 10.16, $600 each.
Gold Medal Round Current Qualifiers:
Clay Tryan/Jade Corkill, Andrew Ward/Buddy Hawkins, Kaleb Driggers/Junior Nogueira