WCRA Crowns its First Event Champions at Debut $400,000 Rodeo in Las Vegas

by Courtesy

LAS VEGAS – As Sunday afternoon came to a close and the dust settled at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, the WCRA (World Champions Rodeo Alliance) crowned its first event champions at its inaugural $400,000 rodeo in Las Vegas.

Top bull riders, steer wrestlers, team ropers, saddle and bareback bronc riders, barrel racers and tie-down ropers converged for the all-new WCRA Rodeo Showdown. Following tight competition among the world’s best western athletes during Saturday’s opening round, the top four in each discipline hit the dirt to battle their way to the final round where the top two faced off. In an unprecedented format, the athletes picked either their animal or their position in the final round draft.



It came down to two bull riders as the WCRA’s first major rodeo rolled to a close inside Thomas & Mack Center. Claudio Montanha Junior and Jose Vitor Leme (2017 PBR Rookie of the Year) were the last men standing in the final round of the bull riding. In the end, a monster 90-point score aboard Bottoms Up (TNT Bucking Bulls/Hart Cattle Co) earlier in Round 2 sent Leme into the winner’s circle as the inaugural WCRA bull riding champion.


Leme had made his PBR debut in Las Vegas last November, going a perfect 6 for 6 at the PBR World Finals to win the event and rookie of the year honors. “The first time I set my feet in the U.S., it was here (in Las Vegas),” said the Brazilian cowboy, who played semi-pro soccer and is coming back from a torn ACL. “Every time I come here I feel like a new man.”


Place – Name Hometown

1st Jose Vitor Leme – Ribas do Rio Pardo, Brazil

2nd Claudio Montanha Junior – Ribeirao Dos Indiox, Brazil



Alabama cowboy Kyle Irwin brought the crowd to its feet on Sunday as he recorded a 5.49-second score after throwing his steer and proving that hustle matters. Irwin went up against Idaho’s own Olin Hannum in the final round, but walked away the champion.


Place – Name – Hometown – Score

1st Kyle Irwin – Robersdale, AL – 5.49 seconds

2nd Olin Hannum – Malad, ID – 10.21 seconds



Clay Smith and Paul Eaves were not messing around during their run as Sunday’s event came down to the wire. After a consistent weekend Smith, a new dad, was excited to walk to the winner’s circle for his belt buckle and check presentation with his partner Eaves. The brotherly duo of the night Riley and Brady Minor were consistent and fast, but fell short of the win in the final round.


Place – Name – Hometown – Score                                                                                                                                 

1st Smith/Eaves – Broken Bow, OK /Lonedell, MO – 4.04 seconds

2nd Minor / Minor – Ellensburg, WA – 8.79 seconds



Nebraskan cowboy Cort Scheer was the only man to ride in the final round on Sunday with an impressive score of 89.5, including his patented classic dismount. Wyoming’s Brody Cress, who took the Round 1 win on Saturday was bucked off leaving Scheer to stand in the winner’s circle.


Place – Name – Hometown – Stock – Score

1st Cort Scheer – Elsmere, NE – Get Smart – 89.5

2nd Brody Cress – Hillsdale, WY – Owen’s Mistake – Bucked Off



Hailey Kinsel, seemingly can’t be stopped. The 23-year old just keeps knocking down big wins including the San Antonio Stockshow and Rodeo this year prior to today’s inaugural WCRA. Kinsel and her horse, Sister, have an impressive history in Las Vegas including four round wins during the WNFR at the Thomas & Mack in 2017, topping off a season during which she won at prestigious rodeos Days of ’47 and The American.

Place – Name – HometownScore

1st Hailey Kinsel – Cotulla, TX – 13.937

2nd Lisa Lockhart- Oelrichs, SD – 19.121



Marty Yates is a gambling man; instead of playing it safe to beat his opponent Tuf Cooper’s score, he put one wrap on the calf and called it a day.


Place – Name – Hometown – Score

1st Marty Yates – Stephenville, TX – 8.59

2nd Tuf Cooper – Decatur, TX – 10.05



Richmond Champion, no stranger to big wins, was the original champion of The American. When the heat is on, he knows how to buckle down, ride to huge scores and live up to his surname.


Place – Name – Hometown – Stock – Score

1st Richmond Champion – The Woodlands, TX – Straight Jacket – 90

2nd J.R. Vezain – Cowley, WY – Spilled Perfume – 87.5


“I’m very proud of this inaugural WCRA rodeo. The atmosphere was fast-paced and electric, and the competition world-class,” said WCRA CEO Gary McKinney. “I want to thank PBR for a great production and the fans for coming out. This weekend proves our alliance is working, and we look forward to our next event.”


About WCRA

WCRA is a professional sport and entertainment entity, created to develop and advance the sport of rodeo by aligning all levels of competition. In association with PBR, WCRA produces major rodeo events, developing additional opportunities for rodeo industry competitors, stakeholders and fans. To learn more visit worldchampionsrodeoalliance.com.

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