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The Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, coming up in Las Vegas December 1 – 12, 2016

The Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, coming up in Las Vegas December 3 – 12, 2015, is the culmination of a yearlong struggle on the wide-open rodeo road. Professional cowboys and cowgirls have vied for a coveted spot in the top 15 of their respective events so they can take their place in the Thomas & Mack Center arena for 10 nights of rodeo action, battling on dirt for a chunk of an unprecedented $10 million in prize money and a chance to be crowned world champion.

The reigning world champion bull rider, Sage Kimzey, shattered records last year as only the second rookie bull rider in the history of rodeo to win a world title. This year, his dominance at the top of the standings has continued, and he’s well-positioned to be a repeat champion. Kimzey is no rookie anymore.

The 2015 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo got off to a historical start Thursday night when Trevor Brazile, the 22-time world champion, won tie-down roping with a 6.8-second run, the fastest Round 1 time in NFR history.

“That’s sweet, I had no idea,” Trevor told the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association after setting the new record. “I’m going to stay aggressive. Some people will be wondering about me taking a risk by only taking one wrap instead of two so early in the week.

“You just have to go with your gut. I’ve been to a few National Finals, and when I feel like the risk is necessary, I will try it. I’ve had it go both ways. I’ve reaped the benefits and suffered the consequences

The CFR showcases the 2015 season’s top 12 rodeo athletes in seven events in the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association. They’ll battle for almost $1.6 million in purse money and exemption invitations to the Semi-Finals of RFD-TV’s THE AMERICAN, presented by Polaris RANGER, Feb. 17-21 in Texas. Nearly 100,000 rodeo fans are expected to fill Edmonton’s Rexall Place, the home of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers.

The broadcast, aired in partnership with 840 CFCW and cfcw.com, will include CFCW’s veteran broadcast team:  sportscaster Tim Ellis; three-time Canadian All-Around Champion and 1991 Canadian Saddle Bronc Riding Champion Duane Daines; rodeo reporter Dianna Finstad and 2008 Miss Rodeo Canada Jenna Verhun.

Kaycee Feild and five other guys ahead of me, and I’m here to win a world title,” he told PRCA. “I’m going to press every night and ride all of them like it’s for the world title. I wrote down my goals when I left this arena last year, and I went and evaluated what I did wrong and what I could do better. My goal is to be the 2015 world champion, and I’m planning on riding like it.”

The team-roping duo of Aaron Tsinigine and Ryan Motes won with a 4.1-second time, tied for the second-fastest Round 1 time ever at NFR. Steer wrestler K.C. Jones began his ninth appearance in Las Vegas by picking up the fourth NFR round win of his career, and the first in Round 1 and a $26,231 check.