Bulletin Staff Report
The Bulletin

PRCA world champions

All-around: Trevor Brazile, Decatur, Texas

Bareback: Steven Peebles, Redmond

Steer wrestling: Hunter Cure, Holliday, Texas

Team roping (header): Aaron Tsinigine, Tuba City, Arizona

Team roping (heeler): Kollin VonAhn, Blanchard, Oklahoma

Saddle bronc: Jacobs Crawley, Boerne, Texas

Tie-down roping: Caleb Smidt, Yorktown, Texas

Steer roping: Trevor Brazile, Decatur, Texas

Barrel racing: Callie duPerier of Boerne, Texas

Bull riding: Sage Steele Kimzey, Strong City, Oklahoma

LAS VEGAS — And to think, five months ago Steven Peebles was in a Montana hospital wondering when, if ever, he would be able to resume his career as a pro rodeo cowboy.

If his return to bareback riding just weeks after a life-threatening injury in July was a minor miracle, what happened Saturday night was nearly as incredible: The 26-year-old from Redmond won the world bareback championship — his first — at the National Finals Rodeo.

“In the back of that ambulance that day, I begged God for another chance at life, and I told him that if He gave me that chance I would represent him as best I could and go after a world title as hard as I could,” Peebles said. “That’s what’s pushed me this whole time — to not let God down. I look at life completely different now, and I kept fighting for what I wanted. It’s incredible everything worked out as well as it did.”

Peebles needed a brilliant ride in the 10th and final round and got it, scoring 83.5 points on Good Time Charlie to tie with Tanner Aus and Tim O’Connell for first place; each earned $20,872 for the night.

“I tried not to get any butterflies before I got on my horse, and I wanted to have a lot of energy and fight,” Peebles said. “I stared at the horse and just kept saying to myself, ‘He isn’t faster than me. He isn’t faster than me.’”

Following Peebles with the last ride of the bareback competition was Utah’s Kaycee Feild, the four-time and reigning world champion, who brought a lead of more than $34,000 into the final round. Feild, who had placed first or second in five previous rounds but trailed Peebles in the potentially decisive average standings, needed another strong performance to hold off his Central Oregon foe.

Instead, Feild scored just 77 points on Times Up, well out of the money (top six) for the round. Peebles tacked on $67,269 for the average championship — 832.5 points on 10 rides — to finish with season earnings of $314,140, easily topping Feild, who added $43,154 for third place in the average (792.5 on 10 rides) and finished second with $303,617.

If the rodeo had ended after Friday’s round, in which Feild placed first and Peebles out of the money, Feild would have walked away with his fifth world title. Instead, the world champion’s gold buckle went to Peebles in his seventh NFR appearance. He also claimed the RAM Top Gun award for the most winnings of any constestant during the 10-round finals — a whopping $224,054. The prize package for that award features a new pickup truck.

The broken ribs that punctured an artery and poured blood into Peebles’ lungs at the Livingston Roundup Rodeo over the Fourth of July weekend must have seemed a distant memory.

Terrebonne’s Austin Foss scored 74.5 points on Special Delivery, and Culver’s Bobby Mote scored 73.5 on Reckless Margie. Foss, ranked second in the world standings coming into the NFR, finished fifth for the season with $171,568. Mote, a four-time world champion and No. 5 coming in, finished 11th with $139,947.

In team roping, Terrebone’s Russell Cardoza combined with New Mexico header Jake Cooper to place second in the team roping Saturday with a time of 4.3 seconds, good for $20,731 apiece. It was just the second payday of the finals for Cardoza, who entered the NFR ranked 15th in the world and left Las Vegas at No. 13 with season earnings of $107,811.

In steer wrestling, Heppner’s Blake Knowles tied for fourth place Saturday with a time of 4.0 seconds. His third top-six finish of the rodeo paid him $7,333; he finished 15th in the world standings with $99,638.

Mount Vernon’s Trevor Knowles, Blake’s cousin, was out of the money in the final round but finished 12th in the world steer wrestling standings with $133,166.

Editor’s note: This article has been corrected. The original version misstated the champion barrel racer. The Bulletin regrets the error.

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