LAS VEGAS – J.D. Struxness is doing everything he can to make it work at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
On Friday night, he mounted his third horse in the last week and made it work with a 3.7-second round to finish tied for fourth in the ninth go-round. He pocketed $7,333 for the run and increased his Sin City earnings to $62,095.
But it was the first time he has placed since the fifth night of the championship.
“The last couple of rounds, we just had steers that I wasn’t meant to place on,” said Struxness of Appleton, Minn. “We haven’t been getting the start, so we made another horse change.”
That horse is Rusty, is owned by Dakota Eldridge, who won Round 7 with a 3.3-second run.
“We finally hit the start and made a good run, and we are back at the pay window,” Struxness said. “This is a good pen of cattle, so a fast round like that was fun. It is always fun to have a fast round like that and be able to be part of it.”
The top three times were 3.3 seconds, 3.5 and 3.6. Struxnesses was tied with Chason Floyd and Olin Hannum for the bottom three spots. It was fast and furious and probably the best round of this year’s NFR.
“Vegas is always a good time,” Struxness said. “The stuff we got going on with the horses is just something we have to deal with. We still have to come out here and bulldog and make the best runs we can.”
His good horse, Peso, became sick earlier this week. He switched to Todd Suhn’s horse, Max for a bit before leaning on Rusty. As of Friday, Peso remains ill.
“He’s done for the week and is ready for the road home,” said Struxness, who sits fifth in the average. “Tomorrow it would be great to come with a good steer. On Rusty, I know I’m going to get the start and have a good go. I want to make a good run, get some money in the round and then hang on to a spot in the average.”
Fifth in the average would pay an addition $22,846 and would help make his trip to the City of Lights that much better.