Armes moves closer to the NFR

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Texas steer wrestler hoping his run Friday at American Royal qualifies him for Vegas

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – For Bray Armes, the fate of his 2012 season came down to one run at the American Royal Rodeo.

Armes is the 18th-ranked steer wrestler in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world standings. He needs to move up three spots to be among the elite 15 men to qualify for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. To do that, he needs to win money. His 3.6-second run on Friday night moved him to the lead in Kansas City with two performances remaining in Hale Arena.

“God’s great, and I’ve had a lot of amazing stuff happen this year,” said Armes, 30, of Gruver, Texas. “I’m very blessed to be in this situation.”

Armes knew the task at hand before he arrived at the American Royal Complex: He needed to win the rodeo and hope for a little luck. Armes has earned $43,526 and is $2,271 behind the No. 15 man, Jason Miller of Lance Creek, Wyo. There are two other cowboys ahead of Armes in the standings, Jake Rinehart (17) of Highmore, S.D., and Nick Guy (16) of Sparta, Wis.

But Armes did all he could. He’ll wait out the final two performances – set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

“A couple years ago I went pretty hard and finished in the top 30,” he said. “That’s the closest I’ve ever been.”

Now he travels like all the other contestants who make their living on the rodeo trail, hauling from one rodeo to another with two-time world champion Dean Gorsuch of Gering, Neb.

“The hardest part about it is being away from my wife and kids,” Armes said. “Other than that, I’m rodeoing with a great friend who is pretty much like my brother now.”

Now he’s hoping for a last-chance miracle to earn that coveted spot in the NFR field when it kicks off Dec. 6-15 in Las Vegas.

“That would mean everything in the world,” he said. “I’ve always dreamed about it.”

It’s the goal of every contestant who has tried their hand in the rodeo arena. The NFR is ProRodeo’s grand finale. Saddle bronc rider Ty Atchison of Jackson, Mo., earned his first trip to the Nevada desert last year. Even though he won’t be there this December, he knows what it is going to take to get back.

“This rodeo has always been cool for me,” said Atchison, who suffered an injury in July and never got back to his top form. “I’ve got a lot of support up here from when I high school rodeoed and college rodeo, so it’s always good to come up and see all those people. To do well here is even better.”

Atchison took the lead after posting an 85-point ride on Stace Smith Rodeo’s Resistol’s Top Hat.

“Anytime that a guy gets old Top Hat, you know you’ve just got to do your part and she’ll take care of the rest,” Atchison said of the paint mare that has been selected to buck at the NFR.

Even though the 2012 campaign didn’t turn out as great as he had hoped, Atchison sees nothing but the positives in what he does.

“Everybody dreams of being something when they’re a kid, and my dreams have come true,” he said.

American Royal Rodeo
Kansas City, Mo.
Leaders through Friday
Bareback riding:
1. Heath Ford, 84 points on Brookman & Hyland Rodeo’s Smiling Bob; 2. (tie) Jared Keylon and Clint Cannon, 82; 4. Kyle Brennecke, 81; 5. Austin Foss, 77; Evan Jayne, 73.
Steer wrestling:
1. Bray Armes, 3.6 seconds; 2. Riley Duvall, 4.1; 3. Jeff Miller, 4.2; 4. (tie) Justin Smith and Chance Carlson, 4.4; 6. Beau Clark, 4.7; 7. (tie) Tait Kvistad, Kody Woodward and Brent Sutton, 4.8.
Team roping: 1. Quista Lopez/Buddy Hawkins, 4.6 seconds; 2. Derrick Begay/Cesar de la Cruz, 4.8; 3. David Key/Bucky Campbell, 4.9; 4. Adam Newcomb/Chad Harper, 5.0; 5. (tie) Dustin Chohon/DustinHarris and Adam Rose/Gabe Gwaltney, 5.5; 7. Chace Thompson/Chad Williams, 9.6; 8. Charly Crawford/Jim Ross Cooper, 9.9.
Saddle bronc riding: 1. Ty Atchison, 85 points on Stace Smith Rodeo’s Resistol’s Top Hat; 2. Will Smith, 82; 3. Logan Allen, 76; 4. (tie) J.T. Hitch and Lucas Wilson, 74; 6. Byron Gilliland, 69.
Tie-down roping:
1. Justin Maass, 7.6 seconds; 2. Trent Creager, 7.8; 3. Bryson Sechrist, 8.0; 4. (tie) Clint Kindred and Cody McCartney, 8.4; 6. Justin Scofield, 8.6; 7. Bradley Bynum, 8.8; 8. Shane Slack, 9.6.
Barrel racing: 1. Trula Churchill, 14.50 seconds; 2. Brittany Pozzi, 14.56; 3. Benette Little, 14.61; 4. Angie Meadors, 14.64; 5. Shada Brazile, 14.65; 6. Robyn Herring, 14.67; 7. Natalie Foutch, 14.70; 8. Carolyn Uhler, 14.74; 9. Christina Richman, 14.75; 10. Lee Ann Rust, 14.80; 11. Kellie Hill, 14.84; 12. Whitney Baker, 14.84.
Bull riding: 1. Tyler Stoltz, 82 points on Stace Smith Rodeo’s Pawn Star; no other qualified rides.


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