LAS VEGAS — Luke Branquinho moved a step closer to his third steer wrestling world championship Friday night, finishing second in the second round of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo to take the season lead.
Shawn Greenfield of Lakeview, Ore., won in 3.6 seconds, while Branquinho, the defending champion from Los Alamos, Calif., followed in 3.7 seconds.
Branquinho, who jumped from third to first, leads Lee Graves of Calgary, Alberta, in the closest world standings race in the NFR.
Branquinho has earned $136,327 to $125,365 for Graves, who didn’t place among the top six with a time of 4.2 in the second round. Jake Rinehart of Highmore, S.D., was third with $124,472, followed by Curtis Cassidy of Donalda, Alberta, with $114,089.
In saddle bronc, J.J. Elshere of Quinn, S.D., won the round with an 89.5 on Lock & Load. Jesse Kruse of Great Falls, Mont., the world leader making, was bucked off in the round, leaving his total at $131,436. Second-place Elshere has made $108,469.
“I don’t want to look at it (the world standings) yet,” Elshere said. “I just want to look at each day as a new day. I want to do the best I can on the one that I have that day and not get too far ahead of myself.”
Saddle bronc standings leader Jesse Kruse of Great Falls was bucked off. The Tryan brothers — Travis and Clay — both took no times Friday night. Travis Tryan is roping with Michael Jones, while Clay ropes with Cory Petska.
In barrel racing, defending world champ Lindsay Sears of Nanton, Alberta, won with a 13.95-second run, while standings leader and former champion Brittany Pozzi of Victoria, Texas, was second in 14.03. Pozzi, the first-round winner, has earned $186,550. Second-place Sears has made $162,780.
In bareback riding, Kaycee Feild of Elk Ridge, Utah, won with an 89 on Dusty Dan.
Clint Cannon of Waller, Texas, who set a PRCA record in 2009 for most regular-season money won in any event with $233,504, did not place among the top six, but he continues to lead the standings with $235,899.
In team roping, header David Key of Caldwell, Texas, and heeler Rich Skelton of Llano, Texas, won in a time of 3.9. Key and eight-time world champ Skelton are third place in both the header and heeler world standings.
“I got a great start, and the start here is everything,” Key said. “It sets up the whole run for both of us. I was able to get it on him fast and the steer handled clean and fast and let Rich heel him fast and get us a good, fast finish. Everything was just about textbook tonight.”
World standings header leader Chad Masters of Clarksville, Tenn., and heeler leader Jade Corkill of Fallon, Nev., were sixth in 5.30.
In tie-down roping, Scott Kormos of Teague, Texas, placed first with a time of 7.1. Trevor Brazile of Decatur, Texas, didn’t place for a second straight round, but holds the standings lead with $132,916.
There were 11 times of 4.2 seconds or better in the steer wrestling. Kelly Timberman of Mills, Wyo., was eighth in bareback riding with a score of 80.5 points.
In bull riding, B.J. Schumacher of Hillsboro, Wis., finished first with an 88 on Mission Accomplished.
Standings leader and defending champion J.W. Harris of May, Texas, who has earned $219,275 in 2009, had a $108,966 lead over second-place Corey Navarre of Weatherford, Okla. Harris, who had no scores in the first two rounds, owns the biggest lead in any event at this year’s NFR.
Clayton Savage, of Casper, Wyo., cashed his first NFR check. The former high school national champion was second in the bull riding with an 87-point ride. Savage earned $13,546.
Bobby Welsh, of Gillette, Wyo., placed sixth with a 58-point ride, while Powell’s Kanin Asay was bucked off.
Trevor Brazile’s march toward a record seventh world all-around title remains stalled. He and partner Patrick Smith took a second straight no time in team roping and Brazile was seventh in the tie-down roping with a time of 10.1 seconds.
Brazile has earned $288,588 to remain in first place. Clint Robinson of Spanish Fork, Utah, was second with $164,775, and Josh Peek of Pueblo, Colo., third with $153,196.