LAS VEGAS – Friday’s run wasn’t the fastest for Jhett Johnson and Turtle Powell at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
It didn’t count for the biggest go-round check. But when the team ropers stopped the clock in 5.0 seconds, it might’ve been the most important run of this year’s championship event at the Thomas & Mack Center.
You see, Johnson, of Casper, Wyo., and Powell, of Stephenville, Texas, are in a race for their first world championship with one round to go on Saturday night. Powell is No. 2 in the heading world standings with $146,657 in 2011 earning, just $13,679 behind leader Clay Tryan of Billings, Mont. Johnson is third with $148,361, about $11,850 behind Travis Graves.
The big difference will come at the end of Saturday night’s 10th go-round, when the average payouts are tabulated. Johnson and Powell are No. 1 in the average with a cumulative total of 47.5 seconds on eight qualified runs. Reigning world champions Trevor Brazile and Patrick Smith are second in the aggregate but well off the pace in the world standings.
Through nine nights of ProRodeo’s grand finale, Powell and Johnson have earned $76,875 each. They’d love to make more. If they remain first in the average through the 10th round, they’ll add $45,865. That, likely, will help them earn the first Montana Silversmiths gold buckles in their established careers.