The 2011 PRCA Wrangler National Finals Rodeo produced something for everyone. Record setting performances, heart stopping action and cringe worthy injuries during the 10 day event at the Thomas & Mack Center on the campus of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas provided enough action to satisfy the most jaded of viewers.
Now that the champions have been crowned and the buckles and saddles have been awarded, it's time to put a bow on 2011 and get ready for next year!
Kaycee Feild fulfilled a lifelong dream in 2011. Not only did he win his first world championship, he became the first bareback rider in 42 years to win the first three rounds of the bareback riding event. Only one other rider in that time, Pete Hawkins in 1999, has won three consecutive rounds at the WNFR.
Feild also joined his father, five-time world champion Lewis Feild, as a PRCA champion.
Bareback Riding World Champion: Kaycee Feild / Payson, UT
Season Winnings: $319,986
Much like the bareback riding three was a magic number in the steer wrestling for Luke Branquinho.
Going into the final round of the 2011 WNFR, the three way tie in the steer wrestling came down to Branquinho, Jason Miller and Shawn Greenfield. But after both Miller and Greenfield broke-out, all Luke had to do was catch his steer to win the average and the championship.
Branquinho ran his final round steer in 4.7 seconds to secure the 2011 championship -- Branquinho's third world championship and third average title.
Steer Wrestling World Champion: Luke Branquinho / Los Alamos, CA
Season Winnings: $234,518
Turtle Powell and Jhett Johnson each earned their first world championships in 2011. After arriving in Las Vegas sitting 12th in the standings, the pair placed in eight of the ten rounds leap-frogging all the way to the top of the standings. The consistency that got the team to Las Vegas proved to be the formula that won them the 2011 championship.
World Champion - Header: Turtle Powell / Stephenville, TX
Season Winnings: $195,407
World Champion - Heeler: Jhett Johnson / Casper, WY
Season Winnings: $197,111
When he won the saddle bronc riding world championship in his rookie season of 2007, Taos Muncy could never imagine how difficult it would be for him to win another. After breaking his leg in 2008 and his ankle in 2009, Muncy entered Las Vegas in 2011 with the championship again within reach.
After fighting it out with the Wright brothers, Jesse and Cody, of Milford, UT the Corona, NM cowboy squeaked his way to his second world title by less than $9,000.
Saddle Bronc Riding World Champion: Taos Muncy / Corona, NM
Season Winnings: $249,914
With three Cooper brothers, Clint, Clif and Tuf, competing in the tie-down roping at the 2011 WNFR, chances were good that one of them would win a paycheck every night. And with their eight time world champion father, Roy Cooper, in the stands, the boys hoped to add a championship buckle of their own to the family trophy case.
While it was almost a forgone conclusion that Tuf Cooper would win his first world championship in 2011, Matt Shiozawa earned over $80,000 at the WNFR to nearly catch him. But in the end it wasn't enough and Cooper joined Kaycee Feild to become a second generation world champion in 2011.
World Champion Tie-Down Roper: Tuf Cooper
Season Winnings: $192,041
Shane Proctor was another cowboy who entered the 2011 WNFR with what many would call and insurmountable lead. But JW Harris chipped away at the lead until he was a mere $20,000 behind Proctor entering the 10th and final round.
While Proctor did ultimately win the world championship, he was entered in the last ride of the event, breaking his left arm. He'll require surgery and likely have two to three months of recovery before he can return to riding.
Bull Riding World Champion: Shane Proctor / Grand Coulee, WA
Season Winnings: $238,248
After winning his ninth all around cowboy championship and 16thworld championship overall, Trevor Brazile is once again the "King of the Cowboy's." In winning championship number 16, Brazile ties the record set by Jim Shoulders for number of championships.
Shoulders record, thought by many to be the equivalent of Cal Ripken's consecutive MLB game streak or Bill Russell's 11 world titles in the NBA, will almost surely fall in 2012.
At age 35, the question isn't will Brazile break Jim Shoulders record, but how many championships will Trevor Brazile win before he retires?
World Champion All Around Cowboy: Trevor Brazile / Decatur, TX
Season Winnings: $365,293