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Check in with the NFR

by William J. Bechaver

LAS VEGAS- If you would ask Josh Peek, I’m sure he’d say he’s satisfied with his performance this year, and especially of that at the National Finals Rodeo. After all, it was the first trip of his career to the N. F. R., and he earned over $116 thousand during the 10-day finals, and all together, he earned over a quarter of a million dollars in two events by the time the final results for the year were in.

    Similarly, I’m sure Wade Sumpter is pleased. There have to be some regrets, to be sure. He received a no-time in round four, and I’m sure he’d like to have that run back.  But now, looking back, even after so little time has passed, there has been some time for reflection, and a sense of pride of what he’s accomplished throughout the year.

    Both cowboys from Southern Colorado have no reason to hang their heads. Josh Peek is from Pueblo, and competed nationally in both saddle bronc riding and steer wrestling this year.  Wade Sumpter hales from Fowler, and went head-to-head against Peek, and 13 other competitors touted as the best in the world in bull-dogging.

    In round six, Josh Peek tied for top honors in the calf roping, with a time of 7.4 seconds. And ties seemed to be the order of the day.  In fact, in round six, six seemed to be the popular number in the steer wrestling.  Both Josh Peek and Wade Sumpter tied for 6th place, along with three other contestants in the event. However, Peek came out ahead in the aggregate, placing fourth, with a combined time of 31.20 seconds on six head.  With an average of 5.2 seconds, to be placed fourth at that point gives one the idea of just how competitive the field of bull-doggers was.  Sumpter was placed ninth in the aggregate.

    In round seven, Peek was out of the running in both his events. However, Sumpter maintained a sixth place position in the steer wrestling for the round.

    In round eight, Peek took top honors in the tie-down roping, with a time of 7.5 seconds, just edging out World Champion Trevor Brazile, who had a 7.6 time.  Neither Peek nor Sumpter placed in the steer wrestling that evening.

    In round nine, Peek was once again out of the running in the roping, but managed another tie for sixth in the bull-dogging. Sumpter tied for 2nd in the round of steer wrestling, with a quick-but-not-quick-enough 3.6 seconds.

    In the tenth and final round in calf roping, Peek placed fifth, garnering him a third place standing in the final average, with a total time of 98.8 seconds on ten head. Neither he nor Sumpter placed in the steer wrestling in the final round.  But Peek gained the 3rd place spot in the average in that event as well, with a combined time of 50.50 seconds on ten head, an admirable showing on the national stage.

    In the end, both cowboys had their ups and downs during the National Finals Rodeo, but that’s the nature of the beast, and on the whole, they performed well, representing southern Colorado admirably.  Peek’s performance was good enough to earn him the second position in the National All-Around Cowboy standings, coming in just behind Trevor Brazile in the running.  Brazile won the world title in the calf roping this year.

    But still, the feel-good story of the year had to be that of saddle bronc rider Taos Muncy from Corona, New Mexico, who won the world title in the event in his first showing at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, to top off his season.  The Panhandle State University student also won the College National Finals Rodeo earlier in the year. This season alone, he pocketed over $200 thousand competing.  Not bad for a college sophomore.