LAS VEGAS --- Team roping partners from Stephenville redeemed themselves by winning the second round at the 53rd Annual Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nev., tonight. South Carolina native Luke Brown, 38, and his heeler Martin Lucero, 44, roped their steer in 4.0 seconds to earn $18,257 apiece.
“Last night I was laying off and missed, so tonight I decided to be more aggressive,” said Brown, who is roping at his fifth straight NFR. “There is not a better feeling in this world than taking that victory lap.”
Only the top 15 contestants in each of seven events are invited to compete in the $6 million NFR, which drew 17,791 fans during its second of 10 performances.
After their win in the second round, Brown and Lucero moved from sixth to fourth in the world team roping standings, which will determine the 2012 world champions at the end of the 10-day NFR. They remain roughly $30,000 behind leaders Trevor Brazile and Patrick Smith, from Decatur and Lipan, respectively. However, in Las Vegas, each round pays out nearly $60,000, while contestants can also earn part of a $176,683 purse for their overall performance over 10 rounds.
Brown and Lucero are the best bet in Las Vegas to finish first in the aggregate standings, despite their miss in the first round. The pair won the prestigious title in 2010 and were reserve champions in 2009.
“We’ve roped together so long now, we kind of know what each other are going to do without even talking about it,” said Lucero. “We travel together and get along great, inside the arena and out, and that makes it easier in good times and tough times.”