First-time Qualifiers head to Las Vegas
A pause in the Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding schedule to give a big congratulations to the first time qualifiers of the 2018 National Finals Rodeo (NFR). The courage and determination it takes to land as one of the top 15 bull riders in the world is astounding. We will be highlighting and profiling their careers on TuffHedemanBullRiding.com in depth as the NFR approaches but for now a shout out to these warriors of the road.
On the Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Tour we have a total of 11 bull riders who qualified for the National Finals Rodeo, and of those 11, 4 are making their first appearance at the NFR.
Congratulations to all but for now let’s take a look at the riders going to Las Vegas for the first time as NFR contestants.
#3 Dustin Boquet, Bourg, Louisiana
“If prayer becomes a habit then success becomes a lifestyle.”
24-year-old Dustin Boquet rose from a 2017 50th place finish in pro rodeo to #3 as of October 2. He guesses he went to about 110 rodeos that earned him $114,587.51 during his quest to compete in Las Vegas. Boquet didn't get on his first bull until he was 16 which some would call a "late" start, but he more than made up for it with this stellar season. His process was to give it all he had and know that there would be tough times and great times. “I just keep my faith strong and kept chasing the goal I had, and it paid off.“
#12 Koby Radley, Montpelier, Louisiana
“It’s been a year to remember! Thanks to the man upstairs and everyone else who has supported me along the way!”
The standings changed rapidly in September and bull rider Koby Radley rode the tide from 18th to 14th then to 12th where he finished. The 20-year-old from Louisiana is the former International Finals Rodeo Champion bull rider, won multiple CBR events, and is a regular and a favorite on the Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Tour. $97,257.63 in PRCA money earned.
#14 - Eli Vastbinder, Union Grove, NC
"It's been a long year but the best year I've ever had! I had one goal, and that was to make the Finals! I've been to 93 rodeos this year and driven close to 100,000 miles since last November."
Eli has been all over the top 15 landscape earning $95,114.26 to accomplish his goal of riding in December in Las Vegas. Vastbinder is an accomplished multi-titled bull rider remembered recently for the one that got away. Vastbinder came within 6 year-end points of beating Sage Kimzey at the 2017 CBR World Finals.
#9 Tyler Bingham, Honeyville, Utah
"I want to say thanks to everyone that stood behind me this far, I have finally qualified for my first WNFR. I will start saying thanks to my beautiful wife who has believed in me since day one. She pushes me every day to be the best I can be and most of all her patience she has for me being gone 24/7, Second is Tim Bingham (former NFR qualifier) who taught me how to rodeo and achieve my goals in and out of the arena. Every year I go watching him in Vegas he shows me how much it means just by watching his actions. Third, I’d like to thank my parents for always supporting me through all the ups and downs – they are amazing.”
25-year-old Tyler Bingham earned $101,583.48 this year in pro-rodeos after barely missing the NFR in 2017 (18th). He used his momentum after winning the THT Championship in El Paso in February to make an impressive rodeo run, and he enters the NFR in the 9th position. Tyler is a former National High School Finals Rodeo Champion (2011).
About the NFR
The National Finals Rodeo (NFR) is the 10 round season-ending championship event for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) and is widely acknowledged to be the world’s premier rodeo. Held annually since 1959 – and since 1985, every December at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas – the NFR is ProRodeo’s richest and most prestigious rodeo, and it showcases the very best cowboys and cowgirls in the world.
A few things to know about the NFR that keep the event exciting and the outcome unpredictable:
- 10 rounds – one round on each of 10 consecutive days; each contestant competes once each day.
- Competitors earn money by placing first through sixth in any round and pick up more money by -placing first through eighth in the average (cumulative times or points earned during the 10 rounds).
- At the end of each NFR, there are two champions in each event (four for team roping): the average winner, who won the Wrangler NFR by having the best cumulative time or score for that event over the 10 rounds, and the world champion, who finished the year with the most money (including what he or she earned at the NFR).
- For each event, the average winner and world champion may be the same person or different people.
*For more information on the NFR and the complete list of qualifiers and see Prorodeo.com.