It took only 7.4 seconds for reigning tie-down roping champion Tuf Cooper to prove he wants to repeat for the world title.
That was the 22-year-old Decatur cowboy’s time as he won the first round of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo Thursday night at the Thomas and Mack Center in Law Vegas.
Cooper closed the gap between himself and Justin Maass to less than $1,400 after the first night of the 10-day event. He made big money on the first night considering he entered the finals trailing Maass by almost $20,000. Maass, of Giddings, finished 11th with a time of 9.9 and earned no money for his efforts.
Tuf’s older brother and fellow Decatur cowboy Clif Cooper, 24, came in ninth place with a time of 9.2 seconds.
Trevor Brazile, also of Decatur, took a step closer to clinching his 10th all-around PRCA title when he and fellow team roper Patrick Smith of Lipan finished third in the first round with a solid time of 4.8 seconds. They took home nearly $11,000 each for the night.
Decatur steer wrestler K.C. Jones tied for seventh in the opening night of action when he brought down his animal in 4.1 seconds.
Competition continues through Dec. 15.