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Ty Erickson

Steer wrestler Ty Erickson of Helena cashed his first check at the National Finals Rodeo, placing second in steer wrestling on Saturday night.

Associated Press file photo

LAS VEGAS — Ty Erickson cashed his first check at the National Finals Rodeo, placing second in steer wrestling on Saturday night.

The Helena cowboy, who leads the world standings, earned $20,730 with a time of 3.7 seconds. Kyle Irwin won the round in 3.4 seconds.

The 10-round, $10 million rodeo continues through Dec. 16 at the Thomas and Mack Center.

Erickson, a former Montana State standout, is competing in his fourth consecutive NFR.

Circle native Lisa Lockhart also earned her first check of the week. The 11-time qualifier finished sixth with a time of 13.67 seconds for $4,230. She is a two-time average winner, including last year.

It was a tough night for Montana team ropers. Three-time world champion Clay Tryan of Billings and partner Jade Corkill had a no time, as did Cut Bank’s Dustin Bird and partner Russell Cardoza. Bird and Cardoza won the second round Friday night with a time of 3.9 seconds.

J.R. Vezain, originally from Cowley, Wyoming, and now residing in Melstone, was 78 points in bareback riding but did not place.

Reigning world champion Tim O’Connell tied the arena record for bareback riding, going 91.5 points aboard Virgil.

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Brody Cress, of Hillsdale, Wyoming, was 82.5 points in saddle bronc but did not place.

Other go-round winners were: Luke Brown-Jake Long, 3.9, team roping; Jacobs Crawley, 87.5, saddle bronc; Timber Moore, 7.1, tie-down roping; Hailey Kinsel, 13.11, barrel racing; Sage Kimzey and Cole Melancon, 91.5, bull riding.

Kinsel's time is an arena record. Kimzey, of Strong, Oklahoma, is trying to become the first bull rider to win four straight world titles since Don Gay (1974-78).

Trevor Brazile continued his march toward a 14th all-around title, placing third in tie-down roping with a time of 7.3 seconds. Tuf Cooper, his brother-in-law, shared fifth place in tie-down roping. Brazle leads Cooper by more than $30,000 in the all-around standings.


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