LAS VEGAS - Cody Wright won the PRCA saddle bronc world title and moved into first place in the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo average Friday night, winning the ninth round with an 85-point ride on Wild Bill.
Wright, from Milford, Utah, took the standings lead from Billy Etbauer of Edmond, Okla. Etbauer was bucked off Friday night.
Wright, just over $1,000 behind Etbauer entering the round, has earned $219,831 this season. Etbauer has made $204,194.
"That (his first gold buckle) is what I've been shooting for, for a long time," Wright said. "I had not run the numbers. I have been telling my wife (ShaRee) to keep it low. It is a dream come true. It's been an awesome season."
Cody Taton of Newell, S.D., led the average standings entering the round, but had his first unsuccessful NFR ride. Wright leads with an aggregate of 664.5 on eight rides, compared to 642 on eight rides for Taton. Wright has three 2008 NFR wins, which marks the first time in six NFR trips that he won three times.
In bareback riding, Bobby Mote of Culver, Ore., who moved into first place in the world standings in round seven, increased his lead by winning his fourth NFR round with an 88.5 on Peaches N Cream. Mote has earned $199,912, while Steven Dent of Mullen, Neb., has made $186,189. Mote has made an event-high $75,270 at the NFR.
"Both times I've won the world, I had to win the 10th round," Mote said. "I've been there and it's funny, you feel like you rodeo 364 days and it comes down to a one-header. You can see what you're made of, and I'm looking forward to the challenge. I've got a fair bit of momentum and feel like I'm riding well and I'm healthy, so I'm excited for it."
Justin McDaniel of Porum, Okla., who placed second with an 88 on South Point, owns the NFR lead with an aggregate of 774 on nine rides and an event-best $80,588. He was third in the world standings with $171,264.
In steer wrestling, Trevor Knowles of Mount Vernon, Ore., finished first at the NFR for the third time in a row with a ninth-round win in 3.4. He tied for first in round nine with Dean Gorsuch of Gering, Neb., who rode the same horse (Jesse) and had the same hazer (Lee Graves) as Knowles.
World standings leader Luke Branquinho of Los Alamos, Calif., who placed third in 3.8 for round nine, stayed in first for his eighth consecutive day with $185,768 and has a $29,262 lead over second-place Gorsuch with one round to go. Branquinho also was first in the average with an aggregate of 38.20 over nine rounds.
In team roping, Matt Sherwood and Randon Adams of Logandale, Nev., finished first in 3.7 to enter the final round as the world leaders. Header Sherwood and heeler Adams each have earned $162,254 following their first 2008 NFR victory.
Trevor Brazile of Decatur, Texas, and Patrick Smith of Midland, Texas, led the team roping average at 55.40 for nine rounds. In tie-down roping, Tuf Cooper of Decatur, Texas, won his first NFR victory in 6.7.
Hunter Herrin of Apache, Okla., who placed second in round nine in 6.8, held the world lead with $169,006. Brazile followed with $162,540.
Stran Smith of Childress, Texas, remained the average leader with an aggregate of 79.90 over nine rounds.
In barrel racing, world champion Lindsay Sears of Canada, who clinched during round eight, won round nine in 13.53 and has earned an event-high $107,091 at the NFR and a season-record $291,658. Jill Moody of Letcher, S.D., leads the average standings with an aggregate of 126.12 for nine rounds.
In bull riding, B.J. Schumacher of Hillsboro, Wis., won with his first successful ride, an 89 on Vitalix Hot Diggity Damn.
Standings leader Chance Smart of Philadelphia, Miss., who placed second with an 88.5 on Road Hazard, remained in first with $193,168, which is $27,730 more than second-place J.W. Harris of May, Texas. Harris is the aggregate leader with 507 points on six rides and was the lone rider to stay on six bulls.
In all-around, Brazile has earned $2,970,447 for his career and was $29,553 away from becoming the PRCA's first $3 million cowboy.
Brazile, who secured his sixth gold buckle during round six, has earned $362,807 for 2008. He has passed the $300,000 mark for three straight seasons. Brazile is first in the team roping average and sixth in the tie-down average.