LAS VEGAS – Things keep looking up for Tate Branch Auto Group heeler Jim Ross Cooper.
The Monument, N.M., cowboy posted a 4.6-second run with heading partner Brandon Beers on Sunday night to finish in a tie for fourth place in the fourth go-round of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
The $6,436 payday pushed Cooper’s NFR earnings to $17,776. He sits seventh in the heading world standings with $97,267.
He was the lead man among the Tate Branch “Riding for the Brand” cowboys on the fourth night of ProRodeo’s grand championship, but it was a good night for the team. Taos Muncy, a two-time world champion saddle bronc rider from Corona, N.M., finished fifth, while tie-down roper Clint Cooper of Decatur, Texas – by way of Lovington, N.M. – finished in a three-way tie for sixth.
Clint Cooper roped and tied his calf in 8.3 seconds to collect a $1,022. He has collected $12,362 in Las Vegas.
Muncy rode the Calgary Stampede’s Simply Marvellous for 76.5 points to finish fifth in the round and collect $4,904. He has pushed his season earnings to $141,737 and has padded his lead in the world standings a little more – he is $1,939 ahead of the No. 2 man, Cort Scheer.
Monday’s performance marks the halfway point of the 2014 NFR. When the curtain closes Saturday night, world champions will be crowned. Each one of the New Mexico-born cowboys has a shot at gold buckles in their events.
It will be a fantastic race to the finish.