LAS VEGAS - It took just two rounds for the 50th Wrangler National Finals Rodeo to get its first multiple-round winners.
For the second consecutive night, team ropers Garrett Tonozzi and Kinney Harrell roped quicker than any other team at the $5.625 million event at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, winning Round 2 with a 3.9-second run.
Tonozzi, of Fruita, Colo., and Harrell, of San Angelo, Texas, thrilled a packed house of 17,319 with their sub-4.0-second run, winning another pair of $16,767 checks after finishing five-tenths of a second ahead of Luke Brown and Jade Corkill and Jake Stanley and Walt Woodard. Tonozzi and Harrell have won a rodeo-best $33,534 in two rounds and are feeling more confident with every run.
"We're just having fun," Tonozzi said. "Every night, we're pretty much doing the same thing. Whether we're first out or last out, it doesn't matter what's winning, we're going to try to be as fast as we can. Being first out last night, I was a little bit late. Tonight, I got to watch 11 or 12 guys go before me, and I kind of got the rhythm down better and got a really good start."
Harrell agreed that having fun and trying to go fast is exactly what the duo has on their agenda.
"It's been a pretty up and down year, but we're just very excited to be here and get this kind of start," Harrell said. "We won't think about the average until the eighth or maybe 10th round. We'll just go as fast as we can each night and let the chips fall where they may."
Hermiston's Jake Stanley, in his first NFR, and reigning World Champion Heeler Walt Woodard fared much better in Round 2, finishing tied for second, stopping the clock in 4.4 seconds.
Reigning World Champion Bareback Rider Bobby Mote no doubt grinned wide when he saw he had drawn Harry Vold Rodeo's Dusty Dan in the second round of the NFR. He had good reason to be happy to learn he had drawn the horse that carried him to a share of first place in Round 8 of the 2007 Wrangler NFR, as the horse once again helped him to the top of the standings in Round 2.
Mote, of Culver, rode Dusty Dan for 89 points, winning the second round by 2.5 points over Jessy Davis and pick up a check for $16,767. Mote was thrilled that the horse had an extra-special day in the Thomas & Mack Center arena.
At 6-3, 245 pounds, steer wrestler Gabe Ledoux is hard to miss. He made his presence felt in a big way in Round 2 by taking the round title with a rodeo-best 3.5-second run.
Saddle bronc rider Dusty Hausauer, tie-Down roper Tyson Durfey, bull rider Steve Woolsey and barrel racerCassie Moseley all picked up their first career NFR?round wins.
"It is just incredible, and I am just so happy to be here," said Moseley, who is competing in her first career NFR.