It's been five years since two time PRCA World Champion Matt Sherwood won a go-round at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, making tonight's tie for the win with the Minor brothers that more special.
Sherwood and Quinn Kesler and Riley and Brady Minor both stopped the clock in Round 3 with a 4.5-second run, netting each man $23,480.77.
"It feels great," Sherwood said. "I was anxious to get back. I got without a head horse, and I was still rodeoing. I came up close a couple years. In 2013 I went home in July and didn't rodeo in 2014. Quinn got home from his mission in December of 2014, and we've had two great years together. It's still getting better."
Kesler jumped at the chance to rope with Sherwood, a fellow Utah native.
"Matt's obviously a world champion, and he's been there and done that," Kesler said. "I had roped with him a little bit before my mission when I was gone two years. He knew how to rodeo and knew how to win, so that was a great strength and a great blessing and I'm thankful for that."
The Minor brothers were happy for the go-round win, their first since Round Three in 2013 when they split the round with Brandon Beers and Jim Ross Cooper. The longest running team in the top of the ProRodeo ranks, the Minors are all about consistency--Riley's riding Bob, the same horse he's had the last two years here, while Brady is still on Rey, his two-time AQHA/PRCA Horse of the Year. They've had tough luck at the Finals since 2013 with some plus fives and plus tens, but so far have won $46,807 in 2016 and are eighth and climbing in the average.
"It's a little early to know what's happening yet," Brady said. "Riley took a miss last night, just waved it off. We haven't been far enough into the week yet to get on a roll. I safetied up tonight, but we got really lucky it fell apart. We've been the guys with bad weeks here, and it sucks. Hopefully we can keep poking away at them."
The round win put Sherwood and Kesler ninth and seventh in the PRCA world standings and moved the Minors to fourth and fifth, respectively. Luke Brown and Jake Long now have a 1.2-second lead over Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira in the average. Brown and Long, who are both first in the PRCA world standings with $163,281.91 and $159,937.91, have won $58,442.30 so far at the Finals, while Driggers and Nogueira, who are second with $150,110.89 each, have netted $27,769.23.
In the all-around race, Dustin Bird stayed number one despite a miss tonight in the heading that dropped him and Russell Cardoza to eighth in the average. Bird has $161,155.40, while bull dogger Clayton Hass moved to second with a fifth and sixth place split worth $5,500 to move to $151,953.91 in all-around earnings.
1/2. Minor/Minor and Sherwood/Kesler, 4.5 seconds, $23,480.77 each
3. Wade/Kirchenschlager, 4.7 seconds, $15,653.85
4/5. Brown/Long and Small/Thorp, 4.9, $8,884.61
6. Driggers/Nogueira, 5.1, $4,230.77