Driggers, Graves keep world championship hopes alive
LAS VEGAS – Kaleb Driggers and Travis Graves came into the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo second in the world in team roping header and heeler standings, respectively. They haven’t had the kind of week they’d hoped for, yet each still has a shot at winning a world championship. They got a big boost in round nine Friday night by winning with the event’s fastest time this week, clocking 3.6 seconds to pick up $18,630 apiece.
“I thought we could win the round, but I didn’t think we could be 3.6,” said Graves, from Jay, Okla. “Things have got to be perfect for that.”
Said Driggers, from Albany, Ga.: “There’s no thinking involved with that. It just all falls into place.”
Now the two still have a shot at the crown. Driggers has $157,729, about $10,000 behind first-place header Clay Tryan. Graves is at $162,351, about $4,000 behind leading heeler Jade Corkill. Driggers and Graves are ninth in the average, which could be problematic, but they’re not giving up.
“I’ll give up tomorrow night, when they say somebody else won it,” Driggers said.
Contestants in the bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping and bull riding along with the Women’s Professional Rodeo Associations sanctioned barrel race are all competing for a total purse of $6.25 million at this year’s Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. On Thursday night, 17,951 enthusiastic rodeo fans poured into the Thomas and Mack Center anxious to watch rodeo’s Super Bowl.
Saturday’s rodeo will be the final of 10 rounds of competition where world and NFR champions will be determined. It begins at 6:45p.m. PT.