National Finals Rodeo: Payson's Kaycee Feild within reach of 2nd straight title
Las Vegas • Payson's Kaycee Feild didn't clinch his second consecutive world bareback championship Thursday night.
But he can see it from here.
Feild moved to the threshold of another title by winning Round 8 at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo at the sold-out Thomas & Mack Center.
Feild's score of 87 matching his best mark in any previous round was worth $18,257.
Aboard a horse named Kate's Hot Sister, Feild strengthened his hold on first place in the average standings and bumped his season money total to $222,274.
"That horse left real hard," Feild said. " She was blowing in the air getting real high and kicking hard. ... When horses stay in the air like that and keep kicking, it makes it so much more fun."
Feild bounced back from what he called a disappointing performance in Round 7, when he placed sixth.
"I was a little mad at myself," Feild said. "I got knocked out about six seconds into the ride and barely made the whistle. Really, I had a different mindset tonight, coming into the arena. ... I was going to take the fight to 'em."
With only two rounds remaining, Will Lowe of Canyon, Texas, can still catch Feild in the race for the world championship.
Lowe finished second in Round 8 with a score of 82. It was worth $14,429 and pushed his season total to $182,282.
Feild leads Lowe by nearly $40,000. Only a major collapse on Friday and Saturday nights will prevent Feild from winning another title.
"I'm happy, but I can do better," Feild said. "... There's a lot of pressure, sure. But I ride better when there's pressure on me. I ride more aggressively.
"It seems like people are expecting [good] things from me now, and that makes me try that much harder grit my teeth and give 110 percent."
Meanwhile, Milford's three Wright brothers had another huge impact in saddle bronc.
Cody Wright finished second with an 82.5, and Jake Wright ended up in a three-way tie for third after posting an 81.5.
Cody Wright, finishing in the top six for the sixth time in eight rounds, earned $14,429.
Jake Wright, after failing to score in three straight rounds, pocketed $7,754.
On the other hand, Jesse Wright could have taken a stranglehold on the world championship race. But he failed to finish his eight-second ride.
Jesse Wright's no-score left him with $206,273 in season earnings. He leads Wade Sundell of Boxholm, Iowa, by almost $43,000.
Wright slipped to eighth in the average, however, meaning his position atop the world standings is more precarious that it appears.
In other events:
• Kelli Tolbert of Hooper finished third in barrel racing with a time of 13.83 seconds.
• Spanish Fork's Clint Robinson placed third in tie-down roping with a time of 7.9 seconds.
• Tom Lewis of Lehi finished out of the money in steer wrestling after posting a time of 5.0 seconds.
• Tag Elliott of Thatcher failed to complete his ride in bull riding.
• Kaycee Feild of Payson wins the bareback in Round 8 of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
• Two-time world champion Cody Wright of Milford places second in saddle bronc riding.
• The National Finals conclude Friday and Saturday night at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.