LAS VEGAS — Calf roper Clif Cooper won in his National Finals Rodeo debut Thursday night, taking the first round with a 7.9-second run.
Cooper, from Decatur, Texas, is one of three tie-down roping brothers who qualified for the NFR. Younger brother Tuf, second in the world standings, was fourth in 9.50, and Clint Cooper was 11th at 17.8.
Trevor Brazile, also from Decatur, was seventh at 10.10. He’s the world leader with $142,736.
Tyson Durfey of Colbert, in seventh place in the world standings coming into the NFR, slipped to ninth after finishing out of the money in the first round here.
In bareback riding, Joe Gunderson of Agar, S.D, also won in his NFR debut, scoring 88 points on Good Times.
Cheney’s Ryan Gray, maintained his lead in the world standings despite not winning any money on Thursday.
In saddle bronc riding, defending world champion Jesse Kruse of Great Falls, Mont., won the opening round with an 87 on Lipstick & Whiskey.
In steer wrestling, Billy Bugenig of Ferndale, Calif., notched his first NFR win with a 3.4-second run.
In bull riding, D.J. Domangue of Houma, La., won with an 88.5 on Black Cat.
In all-around, nine-time world champion Brazile remained in first place with $306,862. He has a $169,400 lead over second-place Curtis Cassidy of Donalda, Alberta. Brazile is trying to break the record he shares with Ty Murray by winning an eighth all-around gold buckle.