Stephenville headers battling neck-and-neck

Several local stars scrambling to reach NFR

Jake Cooper, shown in Round 9 of the 2015 National Finals Rodeo, is one of several local athletes scrambling to get in position to return to the NFR. || Courtesy DUDLEY BARKER/


STEPHENVILLE (August 18, 2016) — The back-and-forth battle between local team ropers continues with the heading and heeling world titles on the line.

Stephenville headers Kaleb Driggers and Luke Brown are separated by just more than $3,200 with five weeks remaining in the regular season and the National Finals Rodeo remaining. Driggers is roping with world heeling leader Junior Nogueira, while Brown is joined by Morgan Mill heeler Jake Long, ranked third but less than $7,000 out of first.

Those aren’t the only local ropers in contention for world titles moving into the final stages of the 2016 season. Colby Lovell is ranked fourth in heading while Travis Graves is sixth, Wesley Thorp eighth, Shay Carroll ninth and Dakota Kirchenschlager 14th in heeling.


If the regular season ended today, nine of the 30 team ropers advancing to the National Finals Rodeo would reside in Erath County or at least within 30 minutes of Stephenville.

Currently on the outside of the top 15 looking in are 18th ranked header Billy Bob Brown, a past Tarleton star now residing in Carbon, No. 20 header Jake Cooper of Stephenville, and a slew of Stephenville heelers including No. 20 Walt Woodard, No. 23 Kory Koontz, No. 27 Jim Ross Cooper, No. 32 Travis Woodard and No. 37 Cole Davison.

Stephenville product and reigning world champion Jacobs Crawley continues to lead the saddle bronc riding, having already topped $130,000 during the regular season. His brother, Stephenville’s Sterling Crawley, is ranked 12th.

Marty Yates is putting in 11th hour work to be sure his spot in the NFR is safe for the third year. He is currently 14th in tie-down roping. Among those trying to scramble into the top 15 from Stephenville are No. 22 Sterling Smith, No. 30 Chase Williams and No. 40 Cimarron Boardman.


The Cowboy Capital of the World Pro Rodeo in Stephenville is set for the final weekend of the regular season and will surely play a part in who punches tickets to the NFR. The 47th annual event will be at Lone Star Arena

Local athletes in the PRCA world standings are listed below. The number in parenthesis beside each event shows the money earned by the No. 15 ranked competitor in each event. Following the regular season, each of the top 15 advance to the National Finals Rodeo.

Bareback ($45,247.41)

16. Richmond Champion, Dublin, $42,946.47

Team Roping Headers ($47,441.59):

1. Kaleb Driggers, Stephenville, $87,906.26

2. Luke Brown, Stephenville, $84,633.62

4. Colby Lovell, Stephenville, $76,142.83

18. Billy Bob Brown, Carbon, $42,497.88

20. Jake Cooper, Stephenville, $39,569.60

Team Roping Heelers ($48,280.07):

2. Paul Eaves, Huckabay, $82,755.50

3. Jake Long, Morgan Mill, $81,289.02

6. Travis Graves, Morgan Mill, $60,347.91

8. Wesley Thorp, Stephenville, $56,102.87

9. Shay Carroll, Hico, $55,332.07

14. Dakota Kirchenschlager, Morgan Mill, $51,960.10

20. Walt Woodard, Stephenville, $35,995.08

23. Kory Koontz, Stephenville, $34,388.53

27. Jim Ross Cooper, Stephenville, $32,906.82

32. Travis Woodard, Stephenville, $29,652.44

37. Cole Davison, Stephenville, $27,703.92

Saddle Bronc Riding ($50,035.51):

1. Jacobs Crawley, Boerne (Stephenville native), $137,128.06

12. Sterling Crawley, $57,571.49

Tie-Down Roping ($44,437.94):

14. Marty Yates, Stephenville, $44,969

22. Sterling Smith, Stephenville, $38,107.30

30. Chase Williams, Stephenville, $33,047.72

40. Cimarron Boardman, Stephenville, $26,433.30

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