LAS VEGAS – Steer wrestler Bray Armes is having a great run at his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
Armes has placed in five of eight go-rounds so far and has earned $48,882, the last update coming Thursday night in the eighth go-round, where the Gruver, Texas, cowboy turfed his steer in 3.6 seconds to finish third – that was worth $10,895.
He’s more than doubled his regular-season earnings – he entered ProRodeo’s grand finale with $45,852, No. 15 in the world standings. By finishing in the top 15, he earned the right to compete for the biggest pay in the sport, a purse of $6.125 million.
The NFR is where world champions will be crowned. The contestant with the most money won in each event at the conclusion of the season – which wraps after the 10th round of the NFR – is crowned world champion. Armes actually is in range to catch the leaders, but he’ll have to perform well in the final two go-rounds.
Armes world standings leader Luke Branquinho by more than $52,000, but go-round winners earn paychecks worth $18,257. Included in the mix is the NFR average, which pays the top eight places in the 10-round aggregate. Armes rides into the final two days of the season in fourth place in the average; if he maintains that position, he’ll add $22,085 on Saturday night. He’s also just 1.6 seconds from moving to third place, which pays about $8,000 more.
But there are nine steer wrestlers who have earned at least $100,000, so the race is tight. It’ll come down to the last run to decide this year’s world champion.