LAS VEGAS (AP) — Trevor Knowles had a near-record run of 3.1 seconds Thursday night to take the lead in the steer wrestling season standings after the first round of the National Finals Rodeo.
Knowles, from Mount Vernon, Ore., was a tenth of a second off the Thomas & Mack Center record of 3.0 set by Steve Duhon in 1986 and matched by Bryan Fields in 2001. Knowles had the fastest first-round time in NFR history, breaking the mark of 3.3 set by Gary Green and Roy Duvall in 1985.
Knowles pushed his season money total to $120,158. Casey Martin of Sulphur, La., finished fourth in 4.2 to drop into second place at $116,750.
"Doing good in any round is good, especially the first one," Knowles said. "I had a good steer. There were probably four or five of us who had good steers. I didn't think I was going to 3.1 for crying out loud. I had a feeling I had a chance to win first, second or third on the steer I had.
"I had a great start and I just kind of went through the motions. It didn't feel like I really did anything special. It just happened fast."
In bull riding, three-time world champion J.W. Harris of Mullin, Texas, remained in the season lead by placing fourth with an 85.5-point ride on Snake. Shane Proctor of Grand Coulee, Wash., won with an 89 on News Flash.
In bareback riding, Caleb Bennett of Morgan, Utah, won with an 85.5 on Wise Guy, who has now carried eight riders to NFR victories and $228,583 in earnings over his 16-year career. Wise Guy will be retired at the end of the rodeo.
Bennett entered the NFR as the 15th and final qualifier.
"I think it (winning the world title from the 15th spot) can be done," Bennett said. Anything's possible because there's so much money to be won here. I'm going for the gusto."
Standings leader Bobby Mote of Culver, Ore., has earned $126,187. He did not place among the top six with an 80 on Miss Dunny. Mote is seeking his fifth gold buckle.
Defending world champion Kaycee Feild of Spanish Fork, Utah, moved closer to Mote in the standings by tying for fourth with an 83.5 on Starburst. Feild, seeking a third consecutive world title, is second in the standings with $125,583.
In team roping, header Riley Minor and heeler Brady Minor, both of Ellensburg, Wash., won at 4.6 Header Clay Tryan of Billings, Mont., and Jade Corkill, of Fallon, Nev., tied for third at 5.0 and remained first in the standings. Tryan has earned $122,446, and Corkill has made $120,815.
In saddle bronc, Jake Wright of Milford, Utah, won with an 84 on Wiggle Worm.
The victory allowed Wright to move up from seventh to third with $106,725. Wright's brothers, Cody and Jesse, are Nos. 1 and 2 in the standings. Cody Wright, who tied for fourth with a 79 on Fraid Knot, has earned $135,013, and Jesse Wright has made $108,950.
In tie-down roping, Shane Hanchey of Sulphur, La., won with a 7.6. Defending champion Tuf Cooper of Decatur, Texas, leads the standings with $135,164. He failed to place among the top six, finishing with a 9.0. In barrel racing, standings leader Sherry Cervi of Mariana, Ariz., won with a 13.77. She has earned $166,048.
Defending world champ Mary Walker of Ennis, Texas, is second in the standings with $137,115. She was last in the round with a 19.03.
In all-around, defending world champion Trevor Brazile of Decatur, Texas, who has won 10 of the last 11 titles, extended his lead over runner-up Cooper. Brazile, who was sixth in team roping, has earned $258,192. Cooper is second with $133,024.