Derrick Begay and Cory Petska made the same run that skyrocketed them to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in just three months of full-time rodeo, making the fastest run of the Finals so far with a 4.0 worth $26,230.77 each.
"We watched the video on the steer before the round tonight," Begay said. "And he was the steer we needed. He left the shoot good and stayed in the middle of the arena, and he handled good."
"Derrick took one more swing and got him on a shorter rope," Petska added. "He handled really good and let us finish right in the middle."
They were fourth out in a round that was already pretty salty, so Petska rode out the back and unbooted his horse, thinking they'd just place.
"To be 3 is nothing here," Petska, the reigning world champ, said. "The steers are really good this year, so I expected there would be a 3 tonight."
Begay and Petska entered the 2018 Wrangler NFR on Cloud 9, after each man planned not to rodeo in 2018. They stayed home until after the Fourth of July, and went on a tear that included wins at Billings, Montana, and Heber City, Utah. So when they got a barrier on a steer that didn't quite start in Round 1 for a 14.9, and a leg in Round 2 for a 9.4, they were unfazed. Their run was mistake-free in Round 3, with Begay's Swagger and Petska's Chumley in their classic, top form.
Fellow Navajo header Aaron Tsinigine and partner Trey Yates won second and third with a 4.1-second run, tying with Riley and Brady Minor who got their first payday of the rodeo. Each of the four men won $18,192.31 for their efforts. Cody Snow and Wesley Thorp won fourth with a 4.2-second run worth $11,000. A three-way-tie for fifth and sixth paid Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira, Clay Smith and Paul Eaves and Luke Brown and Jake Long $3,666.66 for a 4.3-second run.
The round was smoking fast, as seventh place and one hole out was Clay Tryan and Travis Graves' 4.6-second run.
In the all-around race, Rhen Richard and Quinn Kesler had their first slip-up in the team roping with a leg to be 9.2, but Richard hit again in the tie-down with a 7.3-second run to split second, third and fourth and win $15,794.87. Richard is now $70,536.88 behind All-Around World Standings Leader Tuf Cooper who has $263,183.93, and $51,507.29 behind Trevor Brazile who has $244,154.34. Neither Brazile nor Cooper won a check in the tie-down roping tonight. Richard is fourth in the tie-down roping average after three rounds and third in the team roping average race.
Team Roping Round 3:
1. Derrick Begay and Cory Petska, 4.0 seconds, $26,230.77 each
2/3. Aaron Tsinigine and Trey Yates, 4.1 seconds, $18,192.31 each
2/3. Riley Minor and Brady Minor, 4.1 seconds, $18,192.31 each
4. Cody Snow and Wesley Thorp, 4.2 seconds, $11,000 each
5/6/6. Luke Brown and Jake Long, 4.3 seconds, $3,666.66 each
5/6/6. Clay Smith and Paul Eaves, 4.3 seconds, $3,666.66 each
5/6/6. Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira, 4.3 seconds, $3,666.66 each