Three 90 point rides in Round 5 at the 2018 National Finals Rodeo
Round 5 with Three 90 Point Rides
1. Bareback rider Clayton Biglow had never been on C5 Rodeo’s Virgil.
Biglow was in the Thomas & Mack Center and competing in Round 3 in 2017 at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo when Tim O’Connell tied an arena record on the horse. On Monday night, Dec. 10, Biglow finally got his chance to climb aboard. He didn’t waste the opportunity. Biglow notched an arena-record, 93-point ride on Virgil, receiving a standing ovation from the 16,877 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas during Round 5 of the 60th edition of the Wrangler NFR.
Biglow was understandably excited when he saw his name paired with Virgil, the two-time Bareback Horse of the Year.
photo Clayton Biglow By: Phil Doyle
“Oh, outstanding,” said Biglow, eight days shy of his 23rd birthday. “I’ve been wanting to get on him since the first time I saw him. Before the NFR even started I thought to myself, ‘Well, if there’s a place to draw him it’d be here, that’s for dang sure.’ Last night, when I got the draw and I saw his name next to mine I couldn’t sleep at all. I sat there as happy as could be. I couldn’t shut up about it to my girlfriend.”
Only 10 other cowboys have ever been 93 points or better in the history of the PRCA – six have scored 93, the other four 94.
Biglow and Virgil now stand among the best rides in PRCA history.
“It’s awesome and humbling,” Biglow said. “I’m just happy my name’s up there right now with all the other greats – a lot of people have been 90 points. A bunch of guys in that locker room have also been 90 and set records. To be in that group of guys it’s what I’ve always dreamed of.”
The Clements, Calif., cowboy loved every bit of the ride. He knew it felt good. He knew he’d be in the money. He thought he had a chance to win.
He did more than that, obliterating the arena record by 1.5 points.
“Well, in my mind, I was thinking 89, 90, but I did not think it was going to be 93,” Biglow said.
The victory helped Biglow climb into third place in the PRCA | RAM World Standings with $192,551.
“It gives me that boost of confidence that I can ride against those guys and win,” Biglow said.
O’Connell, the two-time defending world champion, is still in first place with $227,147.
2. You can't talk about saddle bronc and not mention Wade Sundell.
He’d won the round in 2013 and 2014. And then he drew Frontier Rodeo’s Medicine Woman, a four-time Saddle Bronc Horse of the Year.
Sundell, 33, passed his feeling along ahead of his ride.
“I told (flankman) Heith Stewart earlier that they (the crowd) were needing to be wowed and that he was about to see something he hadn’t seen in a while,” Sundell said.
Then the Boxholm, Iowa, cowboy went out and rode Medicine Woman for 92 points and yet another Round 5 victory.
photo Wade Sundell By: Phil Doyle
“It’s been alright to me, huh?” Sundell laughed. “I was stoked to have that one, and it’s the best she has ever been with me, so I bared down and had fun.”
Sundell and Medicine Woman are familiar with each other. Sundell had another 92-point ride on her in the final round of the 2014 Dodge City (Kan.) Roundup Rodeo. She was more of the same at the Thomas & Mack.
“Yeah, it was everything I figured it would be,” he said. “She wanted to stall out, so I kept gassing on her.”
Sundell is second in the average and up to fifth in the world standings with $168,732 in earnings.
“It’s about time I got back to the old stage and rode a great horse against all the great guys here,” he said.
Defending Saddle Bronc Riding World Champion Ryder Wright continues to lead the world standings. After placing second Monday, Wright has $232,194 in earnings.
3. Bull rider Eli Vastbinder is making his first Wrangler NFR appearance this year.
After Monday’s round win, he can say he’s thoroughly enjoying it.
Vastbinder rode Beutler & Son Rodeo’s Record Rack’s Shootin’ Stars for 91 points and his first Wrangler NFR go-round victory.
Photo Eli Vastbinder By: Phil Doyle
“It means everything to me,” said Vastbinder, 27. “After the last couple of days, it’s a huge relief. It feels like a weight has been lifted off me.”
Through four rounds Vastbinder had failed to last on a bull. He also had taken his fair share of poundings from the bulls. In Round 5, he got a little revenge.
“Sore for sure, but this helps a lot, and it’s all refreshed me,” Vastbinder said. “I’m ready for five more rounds. In the second round, I came off and put my hand up, and it jammed from my wrist to my shoulder. I have some fractures in my wrist and old ones they found too. But Justin Sportsmedicine has been great to me, hats off to them for doing what they do and helping us out. We couldn’t do it without them.”
The win revitalized Vastbinder.
“I’m ready,” said Vastbinder, of Athens, Texas. “It refreshed me and lifted the weight off me. I’m excited for tomorrow and the day after that. Everyone wants to do well, and there’s a lot of pressure here. We have worked for it our whole lives, at least I have, so when you get here you feel like you have something to prove and that hinders your ability.”
Four-time defending world champion Sage Kimzey added a little money to his pocket with a fifth-place finish. He has $358,853 this season. ~ PRCA Media