In the zone

Bird, Rogers find success at NFR


On a stage packed with the best ropers in the world, Erich Rogers and Dustin Bird were in a zone at the 2016 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

Submitted PRCA
Rock Point, Arizona cowboy Erich Rogers placed fifth in the team roping competition with partner Cory Petska at the 2015 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nevada.

At the famed Thomas & Mack Center both cowboys benefited from previous experience as Rogers finished the 10-day event amassing $116,192 in total winnings while Bird accumulated $104,487 as both cowboys took part in the team roping competition.

“We had a good finals,” said Rogers, who placed fifth in the average race by roping eight draws in 51.70 seconds with heeling partner Cory Petska.

In one of his best showings at the NFR, Rogers picked up five checks as the sixth-time qualifier placed second in the fourth-go round. In addition, he also earned four other checks by placing third in rounds 2, 5, 8 and 9.

Bird, meanwhile, had his name mentioned a great deal during the “Super Bowl” of rodeo as he was in the running for an all-around title. Going into the final round he led that prestigious race by the slimmest of margins.

“It was a fun deal to have a chance at an all-around buckle today,” Bird said. “I know we didn’t win a gold buckle but I had the time of my life, competing with the best guys in the world.”

After a one-year hiatus Bird didn’t skip a beat as he placed in six rounds, including one victory in the eighth go-round with a 3.7 run with heeling partner Russell Cardoza.

“I had to work hard to get back here and this meant a lot for me,” he said. “I have a new family with a little boy and it was pretty cool to have them here.”

Bird said they were fortunate to place in two of those rounds as the pair recorded a pair of runs with a five-second penalty. In the final round his partner missed, costing him the chance to finish as the year-end all-around world champion.

Submitted PRCA
Montana cowboy Dustin Bird placed in six rounds with heeling partner Russell Cardoza at the 2016 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“I got my rope around the neck and (the steer) pulled me down the arena,” Bird said. “I turned him and my partner missed but that wasn’t his deal because he roped great all year. I couldn’t have had a better partner.”

Bird finished fourth overall at $214,181 in the all-around race, and despite losing that title on the final day he was still content that he placed that high.
“We gave it our best effort and we had a very good year,” he said. “I’m real happy about that.”

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Categories: Rodeo

About Author

Quentin Jodie

Quentin Jodie is the Sports Editor for the Navajo Times. He started working for the Navajo Times in February 2010 and was promoted to the Sports Editor position at the end of summer in 2012. Previously, he wrote for the Gallup Independent. Reach him at