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Courtesy ProRodeo

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Mason Clements hadn’t been to the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo since 2015. And that time didn’t end memorably for the Utah cowboy.

Well, it did, but not for a good reason.

The 2018 NCFR at Silver Spurs Arena will be one that Clements remembers for a long time.

Clements won the bareback riding NCFR buckle on Sunday with an 86-point ride on Hi Lo ProRodeo’s Wilson Sanchez in the finals. Clements tied with Tim O’Connell, who had 86 points on Korkow Rodeo’s Onion Ring, but Clements got the win by having the higher score in the semifinals (an 85-point ride on Rafter G Rodeo’s Assault).

Clements and O’Connell each earned $6,634 for the finals. Clements took home a total of $19,237 for the April 5-8 rodeo in Kissimmee, Fla. And like all the winners from the NCFR, Clements received a $20,000 voucher toward a new RAM Truck.

“To come back stronger, more confident, hungrier to win than ever and then win, it’s a good feeling,” Clements said.

It was a significant difference from his trip in 2015. He missed his second horse that week. Then on Sunday, with no semifinals to partake in, Clements went wakeboarding. He tore his ACL and had a rough rest of the season.

“I missed my second horse out to come back to the eight-man, and it crushed my dreams to make the finals that year,” Clements said Sunday. “I got injured after that.”

The start to the 2018 season has been the best start of his career. He entered the weekend sitting second in the PRCA World Standings with $42,520.

“I’ve stayed healthy, I’ve stayed strong, I’ve stayed focused,” Clements said.

As for wakeboarding, Clements probably won’t be doing that for a while.

“You live, and you learn,” he laughed. “I’ve been a little smarter with my extracurricular activities and taking care of my body and taking care of business first.”

Breding wins big in bull riding

Parker Breding made it a pair of NCFR hat tricks on Sunday.

The 25-year-old from Montana got on three bulls in one day on his way to winning his third NCFR title. His final ride was an 83.5-point ride on Brookman Rodeo’s Chicken Dance.

No surprise, he took home the most money of any bull rider (or any competitor) on the weekend, cashing in for $29,567, which included ground money.

“This is amazing; I came down here wanting this really bad,” Breding said. “I needed a money boost, because I’m up there toward the top of the standings, but I need to keep winning more and this helps.” 

Olson/Kasner win team roping

Logan Olson and Matt Kasner roped their steer in 5.4 seconds in the finals, the same as Andrew Ward and Reagan Ward, but Olson and Kasner’s 5.4-second time in the semifinals pushed them over the edge.

It was the first NCFR titles for Olson and Kasner, who took home $20,090, tops among team ropers.

Cooper wins tie-down roping

Tuf Cooper’s 7-second performance in the tie-down roping finals landed the Texas cowboy his first NCFR buckle. Cooper, the reigning all-around world champion, took home the most money among tie-down ropers, earning $18,005.

Floyd’s fast time earns big money

Steer wrestler Chason Floyd made his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo last year. His NCFR title on Sunday could set him on his way to NFR No. 2. Floyd won the NCFR buckle in 4.2 seconds, earning $7,581 for the win. He and Bridger Chambers each finished with a steer wrestling-best $17,058.

Saddle bronc riding title goes to Diaz

An 86-point ride on Dakota Rodeo’s Bartender served Isaac Diaz the NCFR saddle bronc riding title. Diaz split the finals with Wade Sundell, who also went for 86 points on Rafter G Rodeo’s Low Bucks, but Diaz was claimed champ because of a higher score in the semifinals. Diaz took home $14,594 from the rodeo, while Sundell took home the most money among saddle bronc riders with $18,669.

Top Stock of the NCFR

Rafter G Rodeo’s Assault helped carry Mason Clements to the bareback riding title. That was one of the reasons Assault was named the top bareback riding horse of the NCFR.

Lancaster and Jones Pro Rodeo’s El Patron was named top bull of the NCFR, while Silver Spurs Rodeo’s Best Hope was the saddle bronc riding top horse. 

Bareback riding: First round: 1. Clayton Biglow, 86.5 points on Rafter G Rodeo’s Holy Grail, $6,254; 2. Tim O’Connell, 86, $4,738; 3. Shane O’Connell, 85, $3,412; 4. Jake Brown, 83.5, $2,274; 5. Tanner Phipps, 82, $1,327; 6. Mason Clements, 80.5, $948. Second round: 1. Tim O’Connell, 87.5 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Night Bells, $6,254; 2. Caleb Bennett, 86, $4,738; 3. Steven Peebles, 85.5, $3,412; 4. (tie) Mason Clements and Steven Dent, 84.5, $1,801 each; 6. (tie) Wyatt Denny and Devan Reilly, 82.5, $474 each. Average: 1. Tim O’Connell, 173 points on two head, $6,254; 2. Clayton Biglow, 167, $4,738; 3. Shane O’Connell, 167, $3,412; 4. Mason Clements, 165, $2,274; 5. Jake Brown, Texas, 164, $1,327; 6. Wyatt Denny 162, $948. Semifinal: 1. Mason Clements, 85 points on Rafter G Rodeo’s Assault, $7,581; 2. Clayton Biglow, 84.5, $5,686; 3. (tie) J.R. Vezain and Tim O’Connell, 83, $2,843 each. Finals: 1. (tie) Tim O’Connell, on Korkow Rodeo’s Onion Ring and Mason Clements, on Hi Lo ProRodeo’s Wilson Sanchez, 86 points, $6,634 each; 3. J.R. Vezain, 85.5, $3,791; 4. Clayton Biglow, 84, $1,895.

Steer wrestling: First round: 1. Kyle Irwin, 3.6 seconds, $6,254; 2. Blake Mindemann, 3.7, $4,738; 3. Jacob Talley, 3.8, $3,412; 4. Billy Bugenig, 4.0, $2,274; 5. (tie) Fenton Nelson, Jacob Shofner and Justin Morehouse, 4.1, $758 each. Second round: 1. Chason Floyd, 3.4 seconds, $6,254; 2. Billy Bugenig, 3.5, $4,738; 3. (tie) Beau Clark and Bridger Chambers, 3.9, $2,843 each; 5. (tie) Jacob Talley and Stockton Graves, 4.1, $1,137 each. Average: 1. Billy Bugenig, 7.5 seconds on two head, $6,254; 2. Kyle Irwin, 7.8, $4,738; 3. Jacob Talley, 7.9, $3,412; 4. Beau Clark, 8.2, $2,274; 5. Chason Floyd, 8.8, $1,327; 6. Bridger Chambers, 9.2, $948.Semifinal: 1. Bridger Chambers, 3.8 seconds, $7,581; 2. Beau Clark, 3.9, $5,686; 3. Blake Mindemann, 4.0, $3,791; 4. Chason Floyd, 4.8, $1,895. Finals: 1. Chason Floyd, 4.2 seconds, $7,581; 2. Bridger Chambers, 4.3, $5,686; 3. Blake Mindemann, 5.2, $3,791; no other qualified runs.

Team roping: First round: 1. Cody Tew/Matt Robertson, 5.7 seconds, $6,254 each; 2. (tie) Rob Toth/Shawn Quinn, Dustin Bird/Chase Tryan and Adam Rose/J.W. Beck, 5.8, $3,475 each; 5. (tie) Thad Ward/Olin Pulham and Logan Olson/Matt Kasner, 6.2, $1,137 each. Second round: 1. Blake Teixeira/Kyle Lockett, 4.4 seconds, $6,254 each; 2. Keven Daniel/Brad Culpepper, 4.6, $4,738; 3. Zane Barnson/Cole Wilson, 4.8, $3,412; 4. Jesse Stipes/Jake Smith, 5.4, $2,274; 5. Ty Blasingame/Trey Yates, 5.6, $1,327; 6. Tanner Baldwin/Cory Petska, 5.7, $948. Average: 1. Thad Ward/Olin Pulham, 12.6 seconds on two head, $6,254; 2. Logan Olson/Matt Kasner, 12.7, $4,738; 3. Andrew Ward/Reagan Ward, 13.3, $3,412; 4. Clay Smith/Paul Eaves, 13.5, $2,274; 5. Ty Blasingame/Trey Yates, 15.5, $1,327; 6. Jesse Stipes/Jake Smith, 15.8, $948.Semifinal: 1. Logan Olson/Matt Kasner, 5.4 seconds, $7,581 each; 2. (tie) Clay Smith/Paul Eaves and Andrew Ward/Reagan Ward, 6.2, $4,738 each; 4. Thad Ward/Olin Pulham, 6.4, $1,895. Finals: 1. (tie) Andrew Ward/Reagan Ward and Logan Olson/Matt Kastner, 5.4 seconds, $6,634; 3. Clay Smith/Paul Eaves, 14.2, $3,791; no other qualified runs. 

Saddle bronc riding: First round: 1. Wade Sundell, 87.5 points on Harry Vold Rodeo’s Moon Valley, $6,254; 2. (tie) Joey Sonnier and Brody Cress, 84, $4,075 each; 4. Ryder Wright, 83.5, $2,274; 5. Jake Wright, 81.5, $1,327; 6. (tie) Ricky Warren and Jacobs Crawley, 80.5, $474 each. Second round: 1. Jacobs Crawley, 84.5 points on Hi Lo ProRodeo’s First Class, $6,254; 2. JJ Elshere, 84, $4,738; 3. (tie) Isaac Diaz and Joey Sonnier, 83, $2,843 each; 5. Taos Muncy, 82.5, $1,327; 6. (tie) Wade Sundell and Logan Allen, 77, $474 each. Average: 1. Joey Sonnier III, 167 points on two head, $6,254:2. Jacobs Crawley, 165, $4,738; 3. Wade Sundell, 164, $3,412; 4. Taos Muncy, 162, $2,274; 5. Isaac Diaz, 161, $1,327; 6. JJ Elshere, Hereford, S.D., 159, $948. Semifinal: 1. J.J. Elshere, 86 points on Korkow Rodeo’s Meat Cracker, 7,581; 2. Brody Cress, 84, $5,686; Isaac Diaz, 83.5, $3,791; 4. Wade Sundell, 80.5, $1,895. Finals: 1. (tie) Wade Sundell, on Rafter G Rodeo’s Low Bucks and Isaac Diaz, on Dakota Rodeo’s Bartender, 86 points, $6,634 each; 3. (tie) Brody Cress and J.J. Elshere, 84, $2,843 each.

Tie-down roping: First round: 1. Seth Hall, 8.2 seconds, $6,254; 2. Rhen Richard, 8.3, $4,738; 3. Sterling Smith, 8.8, $3,412; 4. (tie) Trey Young and Tyson Durfey, 8.9, $1,801 each; 6. J.R. Myers, 9.4, $948. Second round: 1. Ryan Jarrett, 7.6 seconds, $6,254; 2. Jake Pratt, 7.7, $4,738; 3. Reno Gonzales, 8.0, $3,412; 4. Matt Shiozawa, 8.3, $2,274; 5. Tuf Cooper, 8.5, $1,327; 6. (tie) Darnell Johnson and Seth Hall, 8.7, $474 each. Average: 1. Seth Hall, 16.9 seconds on two head, $6,254; 2. Tyson Durfey, 17.7, $4,738; 3. Tuf Cooper, 18.0, $3,412; 4. Sterling Smith, 18.8, $2,274; 5. (tie) Trey Young and Matt Shiozawa, 19.6, $1,137 each. Semifinal: 1. Ryle Smith, 7.6 seconds, $7,581; 2. Tuf Cooper, 7.7, $5,686; 3. Tyson Durfey, 7.8, $3,791; 4. Trey Young, 8.4, $1,895. Finals: 1. Tuf Cooper, 7.0 seconds, $7,581; 2. Tyson Durfey, 9.3, $5,686; 3. Trey Young, 10.1, $3,791; 4. Ryle Smith, 18.9, $1,895. 

Bull riding: First round: 1. Sage Kimzey, 89 points on Lancaster & Jones Pro Rodeo’s Black Hammer, $6,444; 2. Aaron Williams, 82.5, $4,928; 3. Chase Dougherty, 81.5, $3,601; 4. Jeff Bertus, 78, $2,464; 5. Mike Adams, 68, $1,516; no other qualified rides. Second round: 1. Parker Breding, 90.5 points on Hi Lo ProRodeo’s 20 To Life, $6,254; 2. Aaron Williams, 88, $4,738; 3. (tie) Sage Kimzey and Brady Portenier, 87, $2,843 each; 5. Lon Danley, 81, $1,327; 6. Daylon Swearingen, 79, $948. Average: 1. Sage Kimzey, 176 points on two head, $6,254; 2. Aaron Williams, $4,738; 3. Parker Breding, 90 on one, $3,412; 4. Brady Portenier, 87, $2,274; 5. Chase Dougherty, 81, $1,327; 6. Lon Danley, 81, $948. Semifinal: *1. Parker Breding, 90 points on Rafter H Rodeo’s Nose Bender, $10,424; 2. Sage Kimzey, 84, $8,529; no other qualified rides. Finals: *1. (tie) Parker Breding, Brookman Rodeo’s Chicken Dance and Brady Portenier, on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Jay Z, 83.5 points, $9,477 each; no other qualified rides. *(all totals include ground money).

For barrel racing results from the RAM NCFR, see related story regarding champion Taci Bettis on page 34.