FLASH STAFF REPORT
Photos by DAVID SWEARINGEN
STEPHENVILLE (December 19, 2016) — The Cowboy Capital of the World welcomed home its National Finals Rodeo athletes Sunday evening at Erath County Cowboy Church.
Tie-down roper Marty Yates and team ropers Luke Brown and Jake Long were on hand along with women’s pro rodeo legends JJ Hampton and Jackie Crawford. Yates, Brown and Long were three of the five locals – joining team roping header Kaleb Driggers and saddle bronc star Jacobs Crawley – to finish in the top five of their respective events. Brown, a header of Stephenville, and Long, heeler of Morgan Mill, teamed up to finish third in the world, while Yates finished fourth in tie-down.
All four aforementioned cowboys and Stephenville team roping header Dustin Bird earned more than $100,000 at the NFR. The delegation of 20 local athletes combined to earn close to $1.5 million.
The event, sponsored by the Stephenville Chamber of Commerce and the Cowboy Capital of the World PRCA Rodeo Committee, also paid homage to Crawford’s three Women’s Professional Rodeo Association world championships in 2016, and the WPRA record 17 career world titles won by both Crawford and Hampton, friends who took the stage together Sunday.