Over the 18 years this magazine has been around, and the many more years its’ editors have been in the business, we’ve seen some amazing things happen in the arena at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. We’ve put together a list of some of our favorites, though we’ve undoubtedly missed some of yours. If there’s something you remember that we’ve forgotten, let us know in the comments!
Things get fast in a hurry in the Thomas & Mack, and the 2009 Finals saw the fastest two runs in team roping history, all in the same night. JoJo Lemond and Randon Adams would go 3.4, and without hesitation Chad Masters and Jade Corkill would rise to the occasion at 3.3.
We can’t forget, though, watching Travis Tryan and Cory Petska be 3.5 the year before. Tryan was aboard Walt, arguably one of the greatest head horses ever to turn a steer in the Thomas & Mack.
2005 was a tough finals for some to stomach, as we watched Jake Barnes lose his thumb. Watching Trevor Brazile step in on the head side and turn steers for Kory Koontz was something team roping dreams are made of, and we won’t soon forget the valiant effort those two made that year.
Speaking of Trevor Brazile, watching him win the triple crown at the 2010 NFR surely motivated hoards of young kids to rope their dummy a few more times, try just a little harder and want it just a little more. That was something to watch.
Speed Williams and Rich Skelton dominated the sport for nearly a decade, and their eighth world title in 2004 has to be on this list.
In the same breath as Speed and Rich, we’ve got to include Jake and Clay and their 7th World title in 1994. (Can you believe they’re both roping in the Thomas & Mack in 2014, a full 20 years after their last gold buckle season?! Just awesome.)
Bobby Hurley and Allen Bach won five straight go-rounds at the 1993 WNFR to win Hurley the World Title after they went out of the average earlier in the rodeo.
Turtle Powell and Jhett Johnson came from nearly the back of the pack in 2011 to earn their first gold buckles. They won two go rounds and placed in sixth others, coming from 13th in the world standings to first by the end of the 10 rounds. In 1990, Allen Bach came from 15th in the world standings to win the gold buckle, but, alas, no video of that performance exists on YouTube (that we could find).
In 2012, Spencer Mitchell and Dakota Kirchenschlager won Round 9 in honor of their late friend and Mitchell’s late partner, Broc Cresta. The night was emotional, to say the least, but in usual fashion Mitchell and Kirchenschlager kept things light.