Mote ties record, rides to top spot

Bobby Mote of Culver rides Spring Fling during the seventh go-round Wednesday of the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.<BR><I>AP?Photo

LAS VEGAS - Two-time and reigning World Champion Bareback Rider Bobby Mote is having a great time at the 50th Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. The Culver cowboy not only won his third round at this year's $5.625 million event, but he did it by tying the Wrangler NFR record for the second time in three days.

Mote was matched up in a dream pairing with Big Bend Rodeo's Spring Fling and produced a 91.5-point ride that once again tied the record set by Justin McDaniel and Will Lowe at last year's Wrangler NFR. Mote originally tied the record while winning Round 5 two days before with the same mark on Classic Pro Rodeo's Big Tex. The win moved him past Steven Dent into the No. 1 spot in the Crusher Rentals PRCA World Standings with $183,146, $58,504 of which has come in Las Vegas.

Mote wore a permanent grin after realizing a dream by riding the horse on the sport's grandest stage.

"I've dreamed about getting on her at the NFR so many times," said Mote who finished four points ahead of Kaycee Feild for the win. "She's real quick out of the bucking chute, and generally the trick with her is getting your feet to come to you right when she hits the ground. A lot of horses, you'll spur them out and hold for one or two jumps, but if you do that with her, a lot of times she'll get ahead of you. She took that second jump so fast, I didn't get my feet to come to me, and I thought I was done. She just sat up and didn't move ahead for 12 seconds.

"She's a legend, and I'm just so tickled I got to get on her."

The second tie of the 50th Wrangler NFR came in steer wrestling in Round 7, with Trevor Knowles and Curtis Cassidy posting matching 3.4-second runs. They finished two-tenths of a second ahead of reigning World Champion Jason Miller and each earned checks worth $15,009. Neither cowboy has had the Wrangler NFR they hoped they might, but sharing first place turned things around for the pair of cowboys.

"I'm happy to be going to the South Point to get a buckle tonight," said Cassidy, who is riding AQHA Steer Wrestling Horse of the Year Willy in Las Vegas. "I didn't know how brave I should be on the start, and I didn't know if he was going to set up (stop) more or less than the last time he (the steer) was out, so I just went at him and hoped for the best."

Knowles switched from his horse Reba to Lee Graves' horse Jessie in Round 4, and it has paid off for him.

"I wasn't getting a very good start (on Reba), and I was just running them too far down the arena," Knowles said. "I didn't want to wait around until the end of the week to give myself a chance to win, so I had to fix something."

Six-time and reigning World Champion All-Around Cowboy Trevor Brazile broke through with his first tie-down roping round win of the 2008 Wrangler NFR in Round 6 and did the same thing in the team roping in Round 7. Brazile and partner Patrick Smith stopped the clock in 3.9 seconds to win the round by two-tenths of a second ahead of Matt Sherwood and Randon Adams, who rank first and second in the world, respectively, in their disciplines.

Brazile and Smith were finally able to put everything together for a run that gave them a round buckle and strengthened their grip on the Wrangler NFR average lead.

"We've had little things happen all week that kept us from winning big dough," Brazile said. "But we work together as a team, we came here with a plan, and we're going to stick to it and see how it works. The strategy coming here was to make the run we made tonight every night. I didn't do anything different tonight than I have any other night, we just didn't have any glitches."

Smith was equally happy to grab a round win.

"We've had a really good time out here this week," Smith said. "We came to Vegas with the attitude that we're going to have fun and take it one steer at a time. The way we roped tonight is what got us in the lead in the average."

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