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(December 9, 2015) — When Marty Yates started the Round Wednesday night tie-down roping with a run of 6.9 seconds at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, it looked as if the Stephenville cowboy would finish Round 7 of the National Finals Rodeo back on top of the world standings.
But by the end of the go-round there three times under 7.0 and Yates was left splitting second and third with Monty Lewis. Matt Shiozawa rushed to a 6.7 to win the round, leaving Yates and Lewis making about $18,192 each.
Yates bumped up to No. 2 in the world right on the heels of Tuf Cooper, who is out of the average after winning three of the last four world titles.
Cooper has earned $169,783.89 this season, while Yates has $169,780.84. That’s a difference of $3.05. Of course the average, currently led by projected world champ Caleb Smidt, will have a big say in who ultimately wins the gold buckle.
Jacobs Crawley jumped back on top of the saddle bronc average and maintained his slim lead in the world standings. He never appeared to be in trouble while scoring 79 points on Stace Smith Pro Rodeo’s Ned Pepper.
Crawley split fourth and fifth with Desdemona star Isaac Diaz, who conquered Harry Vold Rodeo’s Happy Valley for a matching 79. Each cowboy made about $8,885.
Crawley topped the $200,000 mark for the season, landing at $202,208.20. He trails only Cody DeMoss with $210,627.69, but leads the average with 571 points covering all seven Broncs to top the projected world standings.
Diaz is fifth in average and fifth in the world at $168,566.12.
Local cowboys reached $662,814.71 in total earnings at the NFR including $115,923.07 on Wednesday. Team Ropers accounted for $68,961.54 of those Round 7 winnings.
Taking the round were Trevor Brazile and Lipan heeler Patrick Smith in a lightning quick 3.6 seconds. Smith pocketed about $26,231 for his efforts.
Stephenville heeler Kory Koontz was second Wednesday in 4.0, Lipan header Chad Masters and Stephenville heeler Travis Graves were fifth in 4.2 and the tandem of Stephenville header Luke Brown and Huckabay heeler Kollin VonAhn placed sixth in 4.3.
There were eight runs of 4.7 or better in the go-round, which ended with header Coleman Proctor and Stephenville heeler Jake Long atop the average. They’ve run seven head in 38.6, just 2.5 seconds faster than JoJo LeMond and Junior Nogueira.
Like Yates, Stephenville calf roper Sterling Smith placed for the fourth time in seven rounds Wednesday. Smith was second to run right after Yates, roping and thing his calf in 7.2 to complete the local 1-2 punch and finish alone in fourth for another $11,000.
Round 8 is Thursday night with TV coverage beginning at 9 p.m. (CST) on CBS Sports.
Photos courtesy DUDLEY BARKER/DudleyDoRight.com