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Rodeo Insider: Brazile among top competitors close to clinching place in FWSSR finals

The Fort Worth Stock Show Rodeo final round is scheduled for Saturday night, and numerous world-class competitors appear to be headed toward the big ride-off.

During the Monday matinee performance, for example, 21-time world champion Trevor Brazile of Decatur, and his partner, two-time world champion Patrick Smith of Lipan, took the lead in the team roping title race after turning in a second-round time of 5.2 seconds.

They lead the average race with a two-run aggregate time of 10.4, which should easily advance them to the final round.

The finals, which are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Will Rogers Coliseum, will feature the top 12 in each event based on their aggregate times and scores from the preliminaries. The last prelim performance is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday.

Saturday’s final round is expected to be loaded with other world-class competitors, such as defending world saddle bronc riding champion Spencer Wright. The Utah cowboy has a two-ride score of 162, which should be enough to earn a berth.

Sterling Smith of Stephenville, who qualified for the 2013 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in tie-down roping, is expected to advance to the Stock Show’s short round with his two-run time of 18.0 seconds. Monty Lewis, the 2004 world champion, probably will make the cut with his 19.1.

In bareback riding, former NFR qualifiers Winn Ratliff and Jessy Davis are expected to qualify. They each have a three-ride score of 235.

Ty Erickson, who qualified for the 2014 National Finals in steer wrestling, is expected to earn a finals berth. He has a two-run time of 8.5 seconds.

Clayton Savage, a three-time NFR bull riding qualifier, is expected to advance to the Fort Worth finals. He has a two-ride tally of 167.

Fallon Taylor, the defending Women’s Professional Rodeo Association barrel racing champion from Whitesboro, is on pace to earn a finals berth after posting an attention-grabbing first round time of 16.62.

PBR update

On the Professional Bull Riders’ circuit, Reese Cates won last weekend’s Built Ford Tough Series tour stop in Sacramento, Calif. After finishing No. 1, Cates is ranked third in the PBR’s world title race with 1,080 points.

Matt Triplett, who finished fourth in Sacramento, is ranked No. 1 with 1,405. Defending world champion Silvano Alves, a Brazilian who lives in Decatur, is No. 2 with 1,240.

This weekend, the tour stops in Anaheim, Calif. The tour also stops at AT&T Stadium in Arlington on Feb. 28.

The American update

Eight-time PRCA world champion Fred Whitfield is scheduled to compete in RFD-TV’s The American in the tie-down roping exemption slot, which means he did not have to qualify for the high-profile show on the basis of his accomplishments at PRCA rodeos and roping events within the past year.

Speed Williams and Rich Skelton, who each earned a record eight PRCA world team roping titles, are scheduled to compete in The American in the team roping exemption slot. The $2 million rodeo is scheduled for March 1 at AT&T Stadium.

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