LAS VEGAS – Junior Nogueira was so excited to celebrate that he nearly fell off his horse. His jubilation came with good reason, as the heeler and his header, Kaleb Driggers, tied the team roping world record with a time of 3.3 seconds Friday night.
The time tied them with Chad Masters and Jade Corkill, who also recorded their 3.3 at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo presented by Polaris RANGER in 2009, and Brock Hansen/Ryan Motes in Nacogdoches, Texas, in 2012.
“Man, that was great,” Nogueira said. “When I looked back at the time and saw 3.3, I said ‘Golly! We tied the arena/world record!’ When I went to celebrate, my horse got spooked or something. I couldn’t find the saddle horn. I just had the reins in my hand and I think he spun around three times. I tried to get a hold of him, but I didn’t. When I got up, everyone was standing up and they were ready to cheer because we tied the record.”
The win put Driggers and Nogueira, who entered the WNFR in the top spot in the world standings, back into the race for the world title – though they are ninth in the race for the average.
“We’re far down enough in the average that even if we end up pulling in the average check, it’s not going to be very good, maybe seventh or eighth at best,” Driggers said. “The last three or four nights, we’d been going for broke, and tonight it worked out for us. We had a good steer. We hadn’t really been drawing very good, a lot of the steers we had, people hadn’t even placed on them. Then tonight, we knew we had a really good steer and we were just going to be aggressive. They roped a great roping tonight, and we had to follow up.”
Driggers has $222,317, while Nogueira has $223,047.
“To have a chance to win it, I think a lot of stuff would have to go our way tomorrow, but we gave ourselves a chance, and that’s pretty much all we can do,” Driggers said.