There’s only one night left at the 2014 National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, but Jake Vold isn’t done winning yet.
Friday night the Ponoka bareback rider picked up his biggest cheque of the event so far, and he’s had plenty of them. But this round he combined with the horse named Delta Glamorous for 84 points, which was only a point and a half behind the go-round winner, Kaycee Field.
Once again, Vold was matched up with a horse he didn’t know, and didn’t have a chance to watch when he was out the first time in Las Vegas.
“This was kind of our souped-up hoppers tonight,” stated Vold. “He felt really good, a little bit stronger. He’s just a big, fat, bay horse that jumped and kicked across the pen.”
Finishing second on his own gave Vold $15,018, and pushed his NFR cheque to just shy of $44,000. Those are U.S. dollars, which translate well into a Canadian bank account these days. And that’s more than Vold won all during his very successful regular season run in Canada this year.
Vold has placed in seven of the nine NFR rounds, so he’s still in great shape in the average, at fifth spot. But he’s only two points behind second place Richie Champion in that race, which pays a bonus $39,537 for second, and $16,550 for fifth. With so much cash on the line, it’s tempting to think of how important it is just to get a score on the last horse.
“Oh yea, guys keep throwing that at you every day,” sighed the newly minted Canadian champion. “Everybody tells you where you’re sitting, but I’m not thinking about it too much. I think I’ve dropped a couple places from where I was earlier in the week, so I’ve definitely still got one more chance. Hopefully, I can move up in it, that’s for sure. That’s what my goal is right now.”
But Vold doesn’t want that to detract from what’s been a successful game strategy all week long.
“Just having fun, and enjoying it all.”
Vold has been balancing his off hours between enjoying the Las Vegas NFR experience while he’s there with friends and family, and looking after his body that’s been taking a beating with the world’s best bucking horses nightly. Usually the bareback riders by this stage of the NFR look more like the walking wounded, but Vold insists he’s in decent shape, all things considered.
“It’s holding out. Everyone’s pretty sore, and there’s a little more ice (used) every night. I’ve got enough in me for one more, for sure.”
Saturday night at the NFR is always a thriller, and Vold is excited to be part of it.
“It’s the TV pen of horses, the last night, and everybody will be going for broke. It should be pretty good watching.”
“Same thing, have fun and try to win first. I’m looking forward to it. It would be nice to end it off on a high note.”
If you were a gambler, Go-Round 9 would’ve been one to bet on success for steer wrestler Curtis Cassidy, since he’d made a habit of winning money in odd-numbered rounds, (the third, fifth and seventh). But turns out, nine isn’t quite his lucky number as he wrestled a tough steer down, but it took him eight seconds, which was out of the money. The Donalda cowboy had recorded a ‘no time’ in round eight, so is out of the average race. He’s got one more run at a piece of the rich nightly jackpot. His NFR account so far stays at $43,981.
Fortunes have improved a bit for saddle bronc rider Dustin Flundra of Pincher Creek. He tied for fourth place Friday night, by marking 79.5 on Total Equine’s Angel Fire, which netted him $6436. His NFR account sits at $24,213. But he’s also in sixth spot in the average. One more good ride could give him a healthy bonus cheque for his consistent performance.
Rookie sensation Sage Kimzey has already clinched the gold buckle in the bull riding, while Kaycee Feild edged closer to a fourth straight championship in the bareback riding, as he won the ninth round, and leads the average and world standings.
Trevor Brazile continues to set records as he sewed up the All Around title earlier in the week, but then managed to win two go-round titles Thursday night, placing first in the team roping and tying for first in the tie-down roping as well.
Then he tied again for first in the tie-down event Friday night. He’s still got a chance at both of those individual championships as well, as his legendary status in the sport of rodeo continues to grow.