Photos courtesy DUDLEY BARKER, dudleydoright.com
(December 14, 2014) — Clay Tryan and Jade Corkill are three-time world champs, and Cody Ohl is the winningest cowboy in the history of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
Ohl won a finals go-round in the tie-down roping for the 52nd time in his esteemed career, roping and tying his calf in 6.8 seconds in the final performance in front of a sold out crowd at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas Saturday night.
The six-time world champ missed part of 2014 with an injury, and with his famously successful horse Pearl also on the mend, the Hico legend just did reach the finals in 14th in the world standings. But he won two WNFR rounds outright and shared first and second in another. Overall, he was in the money seven times in 10 performances at his 20th finals, making more than $80,000 to leap into fourth in the final world standings. He earned $148,954.16 this season.
Tryan, a Lipan header, and Corkill, a Huckabay heeler, needed only to catch their steer Saturday night to win the average and the world championship, but didn’t stop there. The tandem caught their steer in 6.0 seconds for fourth place and almost $8,000. They won roughly $60,000 in the go-rounds and more than $48,000 in the average, pushing their season earnings to more than $220,000.
It’s the third straight gold buckle in the heeling world standings for Corkill, his second straight with Tryan. Corkill won the 2012 world title with Kaleb Driggers of Huckabay, and Tryan won the 2005 title with fellow Lipan resident Patrick Smith.
Travis Graves of Morgan Mill, who heels with all-around champ Trevor Brazile, finished second in the team roping world standings. Nine of the top 15 teams feature at least one roper from Erath County or the surrounding area.
Stephenville’s Jake Long was third in the final heeler standings with $150,574. Huckabay heeler Paul Eaves finished fourth with $149,822.71. Driggers is seventh in the world while partner Patrick Smith of Lipan is sixth in heeling. Stephenville header Turtle Powell was ninth and partner Dakota Kirchenschlager of Morgan Mill eighth, while local header Jim Ross Cooper was 10th in heeling. Huckabay header Charly Crawford was 13th and partner Shay Caroll of Dublin 12th. Stephenville header Luke Brown was 15th and partner Kollin VonAhn of Huckabay 13th.
Former Tarleton State bareback rider Richie Champion made more money than any athlete in the sport in 2014, with $1.1 million in an event not sanctioned by the PRCA – he won RFD-TV’s The American in March – and $198,074.85 to finish third in the world standings. He placed second in the average after placing third Saturday night.
Fellow bareback rider and four-time world champ Bobby Mote, who says he is officially changing his hometown to Stephenville in 2015, took fourth in the world standings with more than $170,000. Mote finished sixth in the average in his 14th trip to the finals.
Stephenville saddle bronc rider Jacobs Crawley told The Flash in a Saturday evening phone interview that there is nothing like the 10th go-round of the finals. Then he went out and split third and fourth in his final performance of the year, earning more than $9,500. He climbed into sixth in the average and seventh in the final world standings.
Tarleton tie-down roper Reese Reimer finally broke through in the last go-round of his first finals. He shared third and fourth in 7.3 seconds, earning more than $9,500. Bluff Dale cowboy Ryan Watkins only made the money twice, but because he roped all 10 calves, still finished fourth in the average.
Stephenville cowboy and 2013 Huckabay High School graduate Marty Yates had a tough final four rounds, but won two rounds outright and split a third round over the first six performances, winning more than $58,000 in his first finals. He finished sixth in the world standings.
Stephenville cowgirl Carlee Pierce placed in six of 10 go-rounds including third Saturday night, winning roughly $50,000 at the finals. She finished sixth in the average and the world standings, just behind Desdemona’s Britany Diaz, who placed fifth in the world and fourth in the average.
The Stephenville Chamber of Commerce and the Cowboy Capital of the World Pro Rodeo Association are planning an event to honor the cowboys and cowgirls, who are bringing home a truck load of gold buckles and money. The ‘NFR Welcome Home Celebration’ is 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Cowboy Church of Erath County, located at 4945 US Highway 67 just east of Stephenville.
All photos in slideshow courtesy Dudley Barker, dudleydoright.com