LAS VEGAS – The sixth round of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo didn’t go quite well for the cowboys who are “Riding for the Brand” of Tate Branch Auto Group.
Saddle bronc rider Taos Muncy of Corona, N.M., had the best showing of the three, riding Powder River Rodeo’s Rain dance for 75.5 points, just one point out of the money. That hurt more than expected.
Muncy, who was the No. 1 cowboy in the bronc riding world standings through the fifth go-round, was moved to second place, but not by much. Louisianan Heith DeMoss, who finished in a tie for third place Tuesday night with a 78, scooted past Muncy by just $329.
It looks to be a tight race all the way to the finish, too. Muncy’s former college teammate, Cort Scheer of Elsmere, Neb., is third in the world standings. Only $735 separates first and third place.
Neither roper – heeler Jim Ross Cooper from Monument, N.M., and tie-down roper Clint Cooper, who grew up in Lovington, N.M. – earned a qualified time in Round 6. Jim Ross Cooper and his partner, Brandon Beers, moved down to sixth in the average race with just five qualified times. Still, only two teams have solid runs through all five rounds.
Clint Cooper, who was No. 2 in the average, dropped to 10th. Average champions collect a bonus of $48,732 when the 10-round championship concludes Saturday night.
Still, four nights remain for New Mexico’s brightest rodeo stars in their 2014 season.