Flash Staff Report
STEPHENVILLE (January 4, 2017) — For many local cowboys the National Finals Rodeo was not their final important competition of 2016.
Four local athletes won or split the average at the Texas Circuit Finals Rodeo in Waco December 29-31, and as a result are moving on to the Rams National Circuit Finals in Kissimmee, Florida in April.
Each circuit sends a finals champion and year-long top earner to the national finals.
Jacobs Crawley won the split the opening round, won the second and topped the average with 256 points on three head at the state finals, joining his brother, Sterling Crawley, as the Texas representatives to the national finals in saddle bronc riding. Jacobs earned almost $6,000 at the finals.
Team ropers Colby Lovell, header of Stephenville and Paul Eaves, heeler of Lipan, held off a slew of locals at the top of the standings. They were second in the first round and finished with 23.0 seconds on three head, pocketing more than $4,600 each. Dublin header Blaine Vick and Stephenville heeler Wesley Thorp were second in the average, with 37.4 seconds on three head for more than $2,800 each, Stephenville header Luke Brown and Morgan Mill heeler Jake Long were a fast 8.9 on two head for third in the average, also winning third in round two and splitting round three for total earnings of more than $4,300 each.
Other locals to cash in the team roping included Stephenville header Kaleb Driggers, who along with Burleson heeler Junior Nogueira split the third to take home almost $1,800.
Marty Yates split top honors in the tie-down roping average with Marcos Costa. Yates, of Stephenville, won the second round after taking second in the first. He was the top local earner at the finals with more than $6,200.
Yates is headed to the Ram National Circuit Finals along with Lovell, Brown, Eaves, Thorp and the Crowley brothers.
In a twist from years past, the PRCA has announced that money earned at state circuit and national circuit finals will count toward the 2017 season earnings and, therefore, the NFR.