It's been nine years since two-time world champion Chad Masters won a go-round at the National. And Joseph Harrison? Never.
That is, until Round 4 of the 2019 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, when Masters spun one for Harrison to heel in 3.7 seconds, a tenth faster than the second-place team of Coleman Proctor and Ryan Motes.
"I've been trying to get here it seems like, and it finally came together I guess," Masters said. "That steer was super god and I knew he was good. I was wanting to let him take a step, but I must have forgot that part because I remember pulling quite a bit. Then I got his shoulders, and I was worried about getting him turned off. But he just wanted to be good."
"It was super easy for me, honestly," Harrison said. "I knew he wanted to hang back a little but on the head rope. The head rope went on real fast and like Chad said, he roped a deep neck. I knew that was going to make him hang back maybe a little more. So I had a lot of time to get set up to take that throw."
Masters waited until he saw the draw for the first round of this year's NFR to decide to ride his former PRCA/AQHA Head Horse of the Year Clint. But after getting a bad go in Round 1, he made a change. Starting with Round 2, he got on Jimmy, the 13-year-old yellow gelding on whom he won the average in Las Vegas in 2017 heading for Travis Graves.
[Read More: Why Chad Masters Isn't Riding Clint]
"What got me was all three of my horses worked really, really good when we run the steers through," Masters said. "I didn't think it mattered which I started on because I was happy with them. I chose to ride Clint because I ride him all year and I'm comfortable with him. But he is hard to talk into going fast. He scores good, but it's hard to get him going."
Harrison stayed on Street, the 15-year-old gelding he always counts on in Las Vegas.
"I was planning on riding Street the entire time, so the only other horse I brought with me is a horse I just recently got here a couple months ago, Koozie. His name is Koozie Up Merada and out of a Pepto mare."
This NFR will be Masters and Harrison's last together, as Masters will rope with Wesley Thorp in 2020 while Harrison will rope with Wyatt Imus.
"I hate to be back here just loving on each other," Harrison said. "But honestly, when I was a kid watching the NFR on TV and stuff, Chad was already winning. I wanted to rope with him my whole life. Now I get to win a round at the National Finals Rodeo with him. How much cooler does it get? The 15-year-old kid in me was definitely doing a dance."
The win will move them to 28.80 seconds on four head, which is fourth in the average behind the first-place team of Brenten Hall and Chase Tryan at 17.90 on four, Matt Sherwood and Hunter Koch's 24.90 on four and Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira's 28.70 on four. Six teams have caught all four steers.
The round win also moved Masters and Harrison to third in the PRCA world standings with $138,528.72 and $141,277.59 won, respectively. Masters and Harrison have won $43,000 each at the Finals.
Clay Smith and Jade Corkill are number-one in the PRCA world standings after splitting fourth and fifth in the round with a 4.3-second run, worth $8,884.61 each. Smith now has $195,627.60 on the year, and Corkill has $153,753.31. They are 11th in the average with an 18.10 on three.
1. Chad Masters and Joseph Harrison, 3.7, $26,230.77 each
2. Coleman Proctor and Ryan Motes, 3.8, $20,730.77 each
3. Luke Brown and Paul Eaves, 3.9, $15,653.85 each
4/5. Riley and Brady Minor, 4.3, $8,884.61 each
4/5. Clay Smith and Jade Corkill, 4.3, $8,884.61 each
6. Brenten Hall and Chase Tryan, 4.4, $4,230.77 each