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WNFR hosts Wyoming cowboys

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Las Vegas, Nev. – The 64th Annual Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR) will be held Dec. 1-10 at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas. 

Cowboys and cowgirls compete during the regular rodeo season, Oct. 1-Sept. 30, to earn their way into the top 15 of the world standings. Placings are based on money earned.  

At the finals, two champions will be crowned: an average champion – a contestant who has the best cumulative score or time over the 10 rounds; and a world champion – a contestant who has won the most cumulative money during the rodeo season, in addition to earnings at the finals.  

As the regular rodeo season comes to a close, several cowboys and cowgirls with Wyoming ties will be making their way to the finals to compete.  

Saddle bronc riding  

Hillsdale native Brody Cress has qualified for the WNFR for the sixth time – qualifying each year since 2017. Cress has won three WNFR Saddle Bronc average titles in 2017, 2019 and 2021.  

In 2021, Cress finished third in the world with total earnings of $325,746, and $183,521 of this coming from the WNFR.

Cress’ current 2022 earnings total is $182,645, and he is sitting third in the world standings. This year at the WNFR, Cress will be wearing back number eight. 

Sheridan College graduate Zeke Thurston calls Big Valley, Alberta, Canada home. He will be making his eighth appearance at the WNFR this year, qualifying from 2015-22. 

In 2021, Thurston finished fifth in the world standings with total earnings of $229,329 and $129,527 coming from the finals. His major accomplishments include winning the world title in 2016 and 2019, as well as the average title in 2016. Thurston is currently sitting sixth in the world standings with $143,838 in 2022 career earnings.  

Tanner Butner from Daniel is making his first qualification to the WNFR. In 2021, he finished 24th in the world standings with $52,158. He is currently sitting 15th in the world with $103,739.32 in career earnings. Butner will be wearing back number 78 at this year’s WNFR. 

Bareback riding 

Cole Reiner, a Kaycee native, will be making his third appearance at the WNFR. In 2021, Reiner finished seventh in the world with total earnings of $190,187 and $91,971 coming from the finals.  

Reiner attended Sheridan College and Casper College and earned an associate degree in business.  

Reiner is currently sitting first in the world standings with $160,970. He will be wearing back number 13 this year at the WNFR.

Steer wrestling  

Central Wyoming College alumni Stetson Jorgensen calls Blackfoot, Idaho home. In 2021, Jorgenson finished 12 in the world standings bringing home $128,913 in total earnings and $57,245 from the WNFR.  

2022 marks his fourth consecutive year competing in the finals. While at the 2021 finals, he placed in two rounds, splitting the round nine win. 

“I feel pretty confident and I can’t wait to nod my head,” said Jorgensen about his qualification. “I made a few mistakes last year, but I learned from them and been working on them. I’m ready for 10 rounds.” 

To prepare, Jorgensen has been doing a lot of mobility work with Champion Living Fitness, a fitness program, and running steers every chance he gets. 

“I’m so thankful for  my horse Mable staying so strong and consistent all year long,” he added. “Leading up to the WNFR, I’m just trying to keep Mable in the best shape possible and as happy as possible.” 

Jorgensen’s 2022 highlights include winning the Calgary Stampede, Tour Finale in Puyallup, Wash., Dodge City, Kans., the Kingman Andy Devine Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Rodeo and the Bozeman Stampede.

He was the co-champion at the Mountain Valley Stampede, That Famous Preston Night Rodeo and Nebraska’s Big Rodeo.    

Jorgensen currently has $134,661 in the world standings and is ranked first. He will be wearing back number 27 during this year’s finals. 

Contract personnel 

In addition to contestants, bullfighter Dusty Tuckness of Meeteetse will be assisting with this year’s rodeo and Wyoming stock contractors Powder River Rodeo of Riverton, Summit Pro Rodeo of Laramie, Rocky Mountain Rodeo of Jay Em and Burch Rodeo of Gillette will be providing several of the stock from the Cowboy State. 

Brittany Gunn is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to  

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