Las Vegas • Nine Utahns qualified for the 2012 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
Two are coming home as world champions.
Payson's Kaycee Feild clinched the bareback title and Milford's Jesse Wright won the saddle bronc Saturday night during the 10th round of the NFR at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Wright's winning margin over Cody DeMoss of Heflin, La., was only $797.
Despite being bucked off three times during the National Finals, Wright finished the season with earnings of $226,886. He posted a score of 80.5 in the final round and tied for fourth.
That was just good enough.
"It ain't nothing like I thought it would feel because it ain't sinking in yet," Wright said. "But to know I finally won my first world title is awesome."
Asked about his narrrow margin of victory, he said, "I expected it to be close after the three times I hit the ground. But I'm glad I capitalized on the ones I did stay on. It panned out all right at the end."
Wright finished fifth in the world in 2010 and second last season, helping make the daylong wait for this year's decisive final round nerve-wracking.
"I had butterflies from sun-up to sun-down," he said.
In bareback, Feild finished first on the regular-season money list, thanks to a strong finish in a handful of late-season rodeos. He maintained the momentum at the National Finals.
"My main goal was to come to Vegas in first place and finish at the top," he said. "I'm just blessed the way it worked out."
Feild missed almost three weeks in the middle of the season while visiting U.S. military personnel around the world as part of the Wrangler Patriots Tour. He also took two weeks off in early August after getting married.
"This year, I didn't rodeo as much early in the summer," Feild said. "I had to turn it up in August and September and push myself really hard. ...
"I was in tip-top shape but, at the same time, riding takes a [toll] on your body. I really had to tough it out toward the end of summer and into fall."
Still, Feild entered the 10th round of the NFR with a commanding lead in the world standings. To wrap up the championship, he needed only to complete his eight-second round.
Feild did much more.
He posted a score of 85.5, which tied him for third place with Steven Peebles of Redmond, Ore., and Bobby Mote of Stephenville, Texas.
Feild ended up placing in eight of the 10 rounds. He earned $276,850 this season, enabling him to become the first bareback rider to repeat as champion since 2007.
"It was a little more work this year," Feild said. "I didn't draw quite as good. It was a long week. I had a little trouble midweek, but I just kept my mind right. ... I went out there and tried my guts out."
R Payson's Kaycee Feild wins his second consecutive world bareback championship.
• Jesse Wright of Milford captures his first world title in the saddle bronc.
• Wright's brothers, Cody and Jake, finish third and sixth in the world standings.
Utahns at NFR
How Utahns finished in this year's Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world championship standings:
1. Kaycee Feild (Payson, Utah), $276,850; 2. Will Lowe (Canyon, Texas), $220,269; 3. Bobby Mote (Stephenville, Texas), $200,288.
Also: 7. Caleb Bennett (Morgan, Utah), $127,989.
1. Luke Branquinho (Los Alamos, Calif.), $158,962; 2. Casey Martin (Sulpher, La.), $145,065; 3. Les Shepperson (Midwest, Wyo.), $143,826.
Also: 15. Tom Lewis (Lehi, Utah), $81,682.
1. Jesse Wright (Milford, Utah), $226,886; 2. Cody DeMoss (Heflin, La.), $226,089; 3. Cody Wright (Milford, Utah), $203,661.
Also: 6. Jake Wright (Milford, Utah), $125,839.
1. Tuf Cooper (Decatur, Texas), $232,884; 2. Justin Maass (Giddings, Texas), $197,594; 3. Cody Ohl (Hico, Texas), $177,276.
Also: 4. Clint Robinson (Spanish Fork, Utah), $169,729
1. Mary Walker (Ennis, Texas), $274,233; 2. Carlee Pierce (Stephenville, Texas), $204,321; 3. Brittany Pozzi (Victoria, Texas), $194,224.
Also: 10. Kelli Tolbert (Hooper, Utah), $109,324
1. Cody Teel (Kountze, Kansas), $201,978; 2. J.W. Harris (Mullin, Texas), $200,921; 3. Seth Glause (Cheyenne, Wyo.), $192,818.
Also: 13. Tag Elliott (Thatcher, Utah), $81,286