LAS VEGAS – The rough stretch of Wrangler National Finals Rodeo rounds continues for the “Riding for the Brand” cowboys, Clint Cooper of Decatur, Texas; Jim Ross Cooper of Monument, N.M.; and Taos Muncy of Corona, N.M.
Muncy, a who won world titles in 2007 and 2011, finished just half a point out of the money Thursday night in the ninth go-round. He rode Cervi Championship Rodeo’s Classic Equine Sacred Sacrifice for 76 points to place seventh.
The regular-season leader has placed just twice, and he hasn’t collected a check since the fourth round. But he has an excellent opportunity for a big payday on Saturday, the final night of the 2014 season. Not only is there $61,298 available in go-round payouts – $19,000 of which goes to the round winner – but Muncy is in position to earn nearly $23,000 in average money.
He has scored a cumulative total of 612.5 points on eight rides and sits fourth in the average race. He can’t win the average; two cowboys, Cort Scheer and Spencer Wright, have ridden all nine broncs so far. But a good average check would go a long ways to helping.
Heeler Jim Ross Cooper and his partner, Brandon Beers, finally changed their luck a little Friday. After three straight no-times, Cooper and Beers posted a 4.1-second run; unfortunately, they were saddled with 15 seconds in penalty. A broken barrier – for not allowing the steer a proper head start – added 10 seconds, then Cooper captured just one leg for another five.
They fared a little better than Clint Cooper, who had a no time. Financially, though, the Lovington, N.M.-raised cowboy has had the best NFR of all three Tate Branch Auto Group cowboys, having earned $38,720. He has placed four times.
The curtain falls on the 2014 season Saturday night. There is plenty of money available for the contestants.