KEITH FREEMAN, Associated Press
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Bareback rider Steven Peebles won for the second straight round in the National Finals Rodeo, scoring 85.5 points on Cool Water on Saturday night.
In the first three rounds of the finals, Peebles, from Redmond, Ore., has moved from eighth to fourth in the season standings with $119,060.
“Last night did help my confidence,” Peebles said. “I hadn’t been on in two weeks, so I felt like I came in a little rusty. I just want them to keep bucking for me.
“My new strategy this year is to not get too wound up. I try to stay calm, treat every ride the same, just like I do all year long. It (the NFR) was always too much on my mind in years past and I’d over-think it.
Defending season champion Kaycee Feild of Spanish Fork, Utah, who took over first place Friday night, remained in the lead despite finishing outside the six money positions with a 78.5 on Special Delivery.
Feild, seeking his third consecutive title, has earned $140,307. Bobby Mote of Culver, Ore., remained second with $137,305 by placing third with an 81.5 on Make Up Face. Mote is seeking his fifth gold buckle.
In steer wrestling, four-time and defending season champion Luke Branquinho of Los Alamos, Calif., won with a 3.6-second run. He is fourth in the standings — after entering the finals 13th — with $90,654 and leads all steer wrestlers with $33,353 in NFR earnings.
“I knew it was a mid- 3-second run,” Branquinho said. “It’s just one of those things. There’s so much adrenaline going. You just look up at the scoreboard and see how fast you are. I knew with the start I got and the run I made that I was going to have a chance to win the go-round.”
Casey Martin of Sulphur, La., who was in a four-way tie for second at 3.8, took the standings lead with $126, 365. Trevor Knowles, of Mount Vernon, Ore., second at $120,158, failed to finish in the top six for the second round in a row.
In team roping, there was a three-way tie for first 4.2 between the duos of header Brandon Beers of Powell Butte, Ore., and heeler Jim Ross Cooper of Monument, N.M.; header Riley Minor and heeler Brady Minor, both of Ellensburg, Wash.; and header Drew Horner of Plano, Texas, and heeler Buddy Hawkins II of Columbus, Kan.
Header Clay Tryan of Billings, Mont., and heeler Jade Corkill, of Fallon, Nev., didn’t place among the top six but remained atop the standings. Tryan has earned $125,451 while Corkill has made $123,820 in 2013.
In saddle bronc riding, Wade Sundell of Boxholm, Iowa, won the third round with an 86 on Big Muddy and advanced from fourth to second in the standings with $122,401.
“I think this could definitely be my year and I feel great,” Sundell said. “I’m hoping for the rankest, best horse in the pen for the next seven nights, and if I do win the world Vegas better hold on to its pants.”
Two-time season champion Cody Wright of Milford, Utah, who didn’t place among the top six in the last two rounds, has earned a first-place total of $135,013.
In tie-down roping, six-time world champion Cody Ohl of Hico, Texas, won in 6.7, which is the second-fastest time for the third round in NFR history. He is third in the standings with $113,573.
Defending champion Tuf Cooper of Decatur, Texas, who placed sixth in 7.8, leads the standings with $142,075. He is seeking his third straight title.
In barrel racing, standings leader Sherry Cervi of Marana, Ariz., who won the first two rounds, tied for fourth in 13.87 and increased her first-place total to $190,987.
Defending season champion Mary Walker of Ennis, Texas, is second in the world standings with $151,238 after placing sixth with a time of 13.94 in the third round.
Taylor Jacob of Carmine, Texas, won the round in 13.65.
In bull riding, Cody Campbell of Summerville, Ore., won the round with a 90 on Magic.
Three-time season champion J.W. Harris of Mullin, Texas, remained atop the standings with $152,919 after finishing second with an 88.5 on Total Bull Big Bopper.
Only four competitors had qualifying rides in the third round. Cooper Davis of Jasper, Texas, was third with an 85.5 on Kitty Shack, and Cody Teel of Kountze, Texas, had an 82.5 on Rustler’s Paradise.
In all-around, defending season Trevor Brazile of Decatur, Texas, maintained his big lead over runner-up Cooper. Brazile, who placed fourth with partner Patrick Smith in team roping in the third round, has earned $269,911, and Cooper has made $139,935.
Brazile has won 10 of the last 11 season all-around titles and has a total of 18 gold buckles.