National Finals Rodeo awards champions
The Wrangler National Finals Rodeo wrapped up its 10-day run at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas on Saturday, Dec. 15. Total attendance over the ten performances reached 169,171, up from 168,952 in 2017.
In addition to the rodeo action, the NFR Experience events up and down the Las Vegas Strip and downtown culminated on Saturday evening. Over the ten days of the Wrangler NFR, there were 56 concerts, 33 locations that offered the live feed of the rodeo and ten days of shopping and entertainment at Cowboy Christmas that featured more than 350 exhibitors at the Las Vegas Convention Center. At the Thomas & Mack Center, there were 120 total contestants vying for the coveted PRCA Gold Buckle.
The action on the dirt was competitive and intense from start to finish. At the end, the following earned the title of world champion: Tim O’Connell, bareback riding; Tyler Waguespack, steer wrestling; Clay Smith (header) and Paul Eaves (heeler), team roping; Wade Sundell, saddle bronc riding; Caleb Smidt, tie-down roping; Hailey Kinsel, barrel racing; Sage Kimzey, bull riding and Trevor Brazile, All-Around.
Sold out for more than 300 consecutive performances, the Wrangler NFR attracts the top 15 contestants in each rodeo event. Under the new contract with the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association that runs through 2024, the Wrangler NFR contestant purse in 2018 was $10 million.
For more information on the Wrangler NFR and Cowboy Christmas, please visit www.NFRexperience.com or through social media at /LasVegasNFR and use #WranglerNFR. For the latest Pro Rodeo news and Wrangler NFR coverage, please visit www.prorodeo.com or through social media at @PRCA_ProRodeo.
Photos by Joe Buglewicz/Las Vegas News Bureau. Click the “i” at lower right to view the captions.