On night five of the 2022 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR), the action heated up as athletes vie for the scores and times to take them to the top of the competition.
Starting off in the bareback riding, R.C. Landingam marked a 90.5 aboard Pickett Pro Rodeo’s Top Notch Talk to lead the night.
“I had been on that horse twice before, once before here at the NFR, and it didn’t go well because I was battling a shoulder injury,” Landingam says. “Then I had him again in Pecos [Texas] this year and was 87 on him. Tonight, that horse was everything I thought it would be. That’s a big strong horse and he had a great trip, and everything worked out. It’s nice to get a round win like this because it pays so well.”
In the steer wrestling, Ty Erickson got his steer down in a mere 3.9 seconds to win the round.
“The steer was the one that Hunter Cure won the Round 2 on, so I knew he was going to be good,” Erickson reveals. “He kind of let up on me a little bit and I knew he was going to be a little slower, but I wasn’t really expecting him to let up like he did. I’m just glad they don’t say pretty run on the paycheck, because it wasn’t a pretty run, but we got him down and the win.”
Erickson rode a horse called Crush to the night five win.
“Crush is owned by my wife and myself, and he really fits these set ups,” he says. “[He] doesn’t score the best, but when you got to go fast, he’s the one you want to be riding.”
The team roping brought a surprising twist with two teams—Coleman Proctor/Logan Medlin and Clay Tryan/Jade Corkill—catching in 3.8 seconds for a split win on night five.
“It was kind of a blur,” Proctor admits. “I saw a pink rope wrap around the horn and my partner [Medlin] pulled him back on his two feet. It all happened in a hurry.”
Medlin wasn’t feeling any nerves in this round, and his accuracy helped the team nail their run.
“What’s crazy is I wasn’t really nervous,” Medlin shares. “I didn’t really think we might come out with a go-round win, but I wasn’t really nervous before we rode. I’m just glad I went out there and did my job.”
The other team knew they were in a challenging field of competitors, but they pulled off a solid time to tie for the first place slot.
“It was a tough night against this field of guys,” Tryan says. “The quick times got off to a hurry, so we knew it was going a night where needed to be aggressive. We just made a solid run with a good start and a clean, solid finish.”
The judges gave saddle bronc rider Logan Hay 89 points after an impressive ride aboard Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Larry Culpepper.
“Larry’s (Culpepper) a big horse,” Hay remarks. “He reminds me a lot of the horse I rode in Calgary this year, and he felt similar, so I went with the same game plan. I went with a big spur out and tried to get ahead of him right there, and I felt like I accomplished that.”
Hay’s round five win marked his first go-round victory at the Wrangler NFR.
“It’s amazing,” Hay says. “I’m not sure it’s really set in yet but being able to take that victory lap was something else. It’s definitely a moment I will remember for the rest of my life.”
The tie-down roping brought yet another split win between Marty Yates and Kincade Henry, both finishing with 7.3-second times.
“It’s so cool,” Henry shares. “This is my first time here, and it is just happens so fast I am just happy I got ‘er done.”
Yates finished with back-to-back victories by taking the top slot in both rounds four and five.
“It’s awesome to finally get back on the right end of things,” Yates shares. “I got a great start. My horse did great tonight. It’s nice to be on the winning side of things, always.”
The crowd went wild for the ladies of the rodeo as Hailey Kinsel and Lisa Lockhart tied with 13.52-second times in the barrel racing.
“It’s special here,” Kinsel says. “Las Vegas and the Thomas & Mack Arena have their own unique energy that you remember, and you want to get back to. To come back and be able to do well again—it’s awesome. This rodeo is so tough. This field of barrel racers is one of the toughest you’ll see. I’m just thrilled to have the success that we are because nothing is guaranteed when you’re here.”
Wrangler NFR veteran Lockhart brought the heat to finish at the top of round five.
“I’m riding a young horse, and he’s gotten stronger every night,” Lockhart reveals. “We broke the ice in Round 2 and have continued to place higher each night. My job was really to get him to his spot, and once he did, I thought, ‘well, here we go,’ because that first barrel is crucial here. That really makes a difference.”
Night five finished strong with a field of rank bulls and determined bull riders. Tristen Hutchings’ 90.5-point ride on Frontier Rodeo’s County Jail topped the leaderboards.
“I’ve been drawing the right bulls, so every time I get them rode, they are going to score me high,” Hutchings says. “I might not be first in the average, but I have two go-round buckles, I’m happy to be here, and I’m happy to be healthy.”
As each night narrows the field of bull riders vying for the championship, Hutchings remains thankful for his safety thus far.
“It’s been a tough stretch for the boys in that locker room,” he admits. “We started with 16 and now we’re down to 14. I got off to a great start, and then went through a bumpy patch, so I had my head real low. But I’m excited to get another one rode. It’s tough out here in Vegas. All I can hope for is to just keep getting them rode.”