Reigning world champions Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira won their first gold buckles at the 2021 NFR, and now they have added gold medals to their collections along with checks worth $25,000 each for winning the 2022 WCRA Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo.
“It’s a blessing to even win that much money and to win the gold medal is pretty special,” Nogueira said. “Especially to do what we do and earn a gold medal, it’s amazing. I’m for sure going to save it and tell the story to my kids.”
The sudden-death Gold Medal Round was a fierce battle with Driggers and Nogueira coming out on top with their 4.06-second run. Andrew Ward and Buddy Hawkins finished second with a 4.36-second run to win the silver medal, and Brady Tryan and Jake Long finished third with a 4.66-second run to win the bronze medal.
“We knew we were the second team out, so we knew we had to go fast,” Nogueira said. “We had some great teams behind us. We’ve been pretty close to winning it, making the short round a couple of times, but it never worked out in our way. It’s an awesome feeling to win it.”
In both the semi-final round and the Gold Medal Round, Driggers rode Cuervo—the 15-year-old bay gelding registered as Remis Gays On Ofadoc and Nogueira rode Timon—the 10-year-old buckskin gelding registered as Kiehne’s Frosty Pepto.
“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.”
Since the WCRA began in 2018, Driggers has won over $76,000 in WCRA competition, while Nogueira has won over $77,000. They are now two-time WCRA Champions after winning the 2022 Utah Days of ’47 and the 2021 Rodeo Corpus Christi.
The WCRA Cowtown Christmas Championship will be the fourth 2022 WCRA Major Rodeo. In the Fort Worth Cowtown Christmas segment standings Driggers has a 5,032.375 lead over second place’s Cutter Duckett, while Nogueira leads Buddy Hawkins by 4,677.375. (The top-ranked athlete on each event leaderboard advances directly to the showdown round, bypassing multiple qualifying rounds of the event.)
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 Gold Medal Round Results:
1. Kaleb Driggers, Hobken, GA/Junior Nogueira, Presidente Prudente, Brazil, 4.06 seconds, $25,000 each; 2. Andrew Ward, Edmond, OK/Buddy Hawkins, Stephenville, TX, 4.36, $12,500; 3. Brady Tryan, Huntley, MT/Jake Long, Coffeyville, KS, 4.66, $6,000; 4. Cody Tew, Belgrade, MT/Coy Brittain, Rockwall, TX, 4.79, $3,000
Gold Medal + $25,000 each: Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira
Silver Medal + $12,500 each: Andrew Ward and Buddy Hawkins
Bronze Medal + $6,000 each: Brady Tryan/Jake Long