LAS VEGAS – Sometimes things just go your way.
That was the case for team ropers Jhett Johnson and Turtle Powell on Sunday during the fourth round of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. They got a late start on a fast-running steer, caught the animal in 8.0 seconds, but suffered a 5-second penalty with one hind leg snagged.
Still, the tandem placed sixth in the round and collected a check for the fourth straight night of ProRodeo’s championship event.
Powell, a six-time NFR qualifying header from Stephenville, Texas, had to chase the steer past the middle of the arena, which isn’t conducive to the blazing times typically needed to earn money in the go-rounds. Once the steer was caught, Powell turned the animal for Johnson, a heeler from Casper, Wyo., making his fifth appearance in Las Vegas.
Johnson attempted to tangle the steer’s two hind legs in his rope, but the attempt was along the arena fence. That cost the tandem precious time. But the fourth round wasn’t one for the record books, to say the least. Just six of the 15 teams in the field had a time, and only two teams – Luke Brown and Martin Lucero and Trevor Brazile and Patrick Smith – scored clean runs, meaning no penalties; the other four teams who had qualified times roped just one leg and suffered the penalty.
Still, Powell and Johnson are second place in the average race with a four-run cumulative time of 25.6 seconds. They trail Brazile and Smith, the average leaders and reigning world champions, by about five seconds, so that penalty has come into play in the aggregate.
Johnson and Powell have had a fantastic NFR. They’re the only team to have placed in each of the first four rounds. In the process, they have collected an event-best $43,702 each.