Caden Tinsley and Tate Thompson won the Junior NFR #10 2018 World Championship and Finals average and $2,680 a man for their time of 49.38 on five head at the Las Vegas Convention Center December 11-13.
They banked a total of $3,685 each for their week's efforts, including a second-place finish in Round 4 and a third-place finish in Round 5.
"We drew a good one in the short round," Thompson said. "This was the first situation I had to rope one by two feet with that much pressure. I was real nervous."
Lucky for Thompson, his partner had nerves of steel. Tinsley, who came into the Finals as the season-leader, was unfazed by needing to pull on his horse at the line, and made an easy, businessman's run.
"The first steer I broke out on, but after that we made solid runs," Tinsley said. "I use my head and really think about it. I get that from my dad Jason."
While Dad Jason was thrilled for his younger son Caden, part of his heart was at home in Texas.
"It's a bitter-sweet moment for me because my oldest son Carson is in brain surgery right now," Jason said. "You want to cry and you want to be happy at the same time."
The anesthesiologist even let Carson watch his brother win the Junior NFR on his phone before putting him under for the surgery, which was meant to help battle some scar tissue inside Carson's brain. Carson is recovering at Fort Worth's Cooks Children's, and the prognosis looks good. After the Junior NFR Open short round Saturday, Caden and Jason will join mom Elizabeth and Carson in Forth Worth.
Tinsley rode a horse he calls Little D, a chestnut gelding that came from Tinsley's mentor, JoJo LeMond. LeMond and Tinsley also roped in the World Series of Team Roping Finale #14 Finale earlier in the week, but they duo didn't have any luck.
Thompson rode a horse named Shorty, a gelding he bought in Hereford, Texas, from friend Vince Guerrero.
"This year, he started working really good for me, and I've been roping really good on him," Thompson said.
Thompson's mom Jody was in tears for her son, who fits in roping to his busy school schedule.
"He just works so hard at what he does, to see it pay off, it's well worth all the hard work," she said. "I was more nervous for him than he was for himself. He ropes in his free time after his homework. He's a great kid, and super easy."
Rance Winters and John Hisel won second in the average with a 59.75 on five head, worth $2,010 each. Garrett Miller and Caleb Carpenter won third in the average with a 41.34 on four, worth $1,340 each. Jett Stewart and Brayden Schmidt were 44.01 on four head to win fourth worth $670 each.
Full go-round results, plus video of the winning run from Tinsley and Thompson, are available on The Team Roping Journal's Facebook page.