Les Shepperson, 34, of Midwest, Wyo., scored his biggest win of the week at the 10-day, $6 million Wrangler National Finals Rodeo Tuesday night in front of a record 17,375 fans.
The Wyoming rancher and University of Wyoming graduate, competing for the second time since 2008 at rodeo’s Super Bowl, wrestled his steer in 4.0 seconds to tie for the sixth-round win with Louisiana’s Gabe LeDoux. Shepperson’s horse, Dillon, earlier this year was named professional rodeo’s Steer Wrestling Horse of the Year, at 20 years old.
“It’s so nice to know my horse is going to do his job every time, and I don’t have to worry about him,” said Shepperson, whose father was the 1975 world champion in steer wrestling. “A world championship has been my whole life’s goal. My dad won his world championship before I was born, but I’ve seen pictures and old videos, and he’s always shared stories.”
Shepperson entered the NFR in 11th place, but his friend Jason Miller of Lance Creek won a world championship from even further back in 2007. Shepperson’s win tonight pushed him to eighth place in the world standings; he trails leader Luke Branquinho by $35,000. However, four rounds remain, each paying out nearly $60,000. Plus, the winner of the aggregate time on all 10 steers on Dec. 15 will win an additional $47,000. Shepperson is currently ranked first in that category.
Watch Les Shepperson’s winning steer wrestling effort in the 6th go round:
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