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KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Some late-night traveling paid off in a big way for Haven Meged.

The 21-year-old tie-down roper from Miles City was one of three competitors with Montana ties to win titles at the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo on Sunday.

He was joined by Belgrade saddle bronc rider Chase Brooks and barrel racer Lisa Lockhart, a native of Circle.

It was the first national circuit title for all three.

The RNCFR featured the year-end and Finals champions from 12 circuits from around the United States and qualifiers from Mexico. The money won counts in the world standings.

Each competitor went through two rounds with the top eight in the average advancing to the semifinals. The top four advanced to the final round with the previous scores being wiped clean.

Meged won the national circuit title with a 7.4-second run in the championship round. He pocketed $22,744 during his first trip to Florida.

He is the first national circuit tie-down roping champion from Montana since Darryl Crowley of Poplar won in 1990.

“This is just crazy,” Meged said in a PRCA press release. “That was my goal to come here and win it and I achieved that goal, which was really sweet.”

Meged traveled a long way for his championship. He competed for Tarleton State at a college rodeo in Sweetwater, Texas, on Friday morning before catching a flight in Abilene. He arrived in Orlando, Florida, just after midnight.

Meged rode his nine-year old horse Beyonce at the RNCFR in Kissimmee.

“She has been really good for me,” Meged told the PRCA after Saturday’s round.

A strong showing earlier this year at San Antonio had Meged 10th in the PRCA world standings before competing in Florida.

Brooks won the RNCFR saddle bronc title with an 89.5-point ride aboard Mo Betta’s Rodeo horse Sue City. Brooks also won the semifinal round with a 91-point ride on Dakota Rodeo’s Cash Deal.

Brooks, who competed at his first National Finals Rodeo last December in Las Vegas, pocketed $24,828. He is the first RNCFR saddle bronc champion from Montana since Dan Mortensen won in 2003.

Brooks entered the semifinals tied with Jesse Kruse of Great Falls. Kruse, the 2009 PRCA world champion, was second in the semifinal round but was bucked off in the finals.

Lockhart, of Oelrichs, South Dakota, almost doubled her 2019 earnings. The 12-time NFR qualifier won the finals round with a time of 15.3 seconds. She was aboard a new horse, Prime Diamond known as Cutter.

Lockhart won $23,311 at the RNCFR. She entered the event with a little more than $25,000 in the WPRA world standings. She is the first barrel racing champion from the Badland Circuit since 1989.

Other event winners were: Tilden Hooper, bareback; Tyler Pearson, steer wrestling; Clay Smith and Jake Long, team roping; and Garrett Smith, bull riding.

Hooper had a RNCFR-record 92-point ride aboard Redzilla.

Texas ($133,689) won the team title and Montana ($69,123) was fifth.

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