In just five short years, Junior Nogueira has amassed $1 million in Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association earnings, rolling over the coveted mark in Round 4 of the 2018 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo with a 4.3-second, fourth-and-fifth-place winning run worth $8,884.61 a man.
As of Dec. 9, 2018, Nogueira has $1,007,447 in PRCA winnings. On the year, he's got $168,948.33 and leads the heeling standings.
"I knew I had a chance to do it at the NFR, and I was thinking about it but I forgot for a while," Nogueira, the 2016 World Champion All-Around Cowboy, said. "Thanks God. I can't believe it. It's just amazing."
Nogueira, 28, who roped with Jake Barnes his first two seasons and Kaleb Driggers the last three, came to the United States to rope with Barnes from his home in Presidente Prudente, Brazil.
"Rodeo has been so great to me. Thinking about where I came from, to be the first Brazilian to win $1 million in the PRCA, it's a gift. And I did it on Green Card. That's another gift. He’s been my good friend for a long time, and when I got him, I told him he needed to help me get my Green Card. And he did," Nogueira said.
Though Barnes and Nogueira no longer rope, they remain close after all they went through together, which include two Wrangler NFR qualifications.
"Our relationship is deeper than a partner," Barnes said. "He’s like a son to me. I’m very proud of him, not only as a great roper, but as a great person."
Nogueira is nearing the half-way point of a highly successful Finals. He and Driggers are leading the average with a 17.70 on four, and the pair has won $53,012.81 a man so far. But Nogueira is taking it day by day, and while he's got a gold buckle in mind, he isn't stressing it.
"I’m trying to do everything different this year," Nogueira said. "I tried to put everything I had into it before. I am trying as hard as before, but now I understand so much more. You can only do so much. All you can do is rope. If you don’t rope, it’s almost impossible to win it. If you’re prepared, you’ve covered everything, so you can’t let the little things get to you. I know we can get out of this NFR with a gold buckle, but if not, I want to know we did our job. Every time I get in the box, I do 100-percent and I know Kaleb's doing the same. If we can get this done the whole NFR, we’re going to get a chance to get a gold buckle. If not, we’ll have a great NFR and be prepared for next year. We’ll get that buckle in God’s time. The gold buckle is not the prayer in my life. It’s way more than that. It’s family, it's friends, it's everything." TRJ