The National Finals Rodeo has been in Las Vegas for 30 years; here are some of our favorite moments of the past three decades.

In order of date(every one of these moments is awesome in their own right, and we just couldn’t bring ourselves to rank them)…

2008–Stran Smith

Long-time fan favorite Stran Smith—overcoming the loss of a friend, a stroke, and the death of his best horse—wins the tie-down roping world championship. An incredible redemption for someone who never gave up on their dream!

2003/2004–Billy Etbauer

In two consecutive years, saddle bronc rider Billy Etbauer scores an arena-record 93 points on Kesler Championship Rodeo’s Cool Alley. In 2004, he wins the world title too!

2001–Tom Reeves

After 17 years of qualifying for the NFR, saddle bronc rider Tom Reeves finally wins his first world title amid speechless tears.

2001–Cody Ohl

Tie-down roper Cody Ohl wins an unprecedented five rounds before blowing out his knee in round 9 of the NFR. Despite the injury, he ties his calf in 40.9 seconds and holds on to win the world title. 


Sammy Andrew’s bull, Bodacious, wreaks havoc on the bull riders. After shattering Tuff Hedeman’s face during the regular season, Hedeman drew the bull in the seventh round of the NFR. The cowboy held on to the back of the chute and let Bodacious run out from under him. Then, in the ninth round, Bodacious knocked Scott Breding out cold during the ride despite his donning a helmet. 

1993–Ty Murray

NFR Moment #22: (1993) With fourth place in the round wrapped up, Ty Murray forfeits a 65-point score to take a re-ride. He places second in the round and goes on to win the bull riding world title!

1989–Tuff Hedeman

In honor of Lane Frost, Tuff Hedeman rides and extra eight seconds on his final-round bull en route to the world title.

1988–Jim Sharp

Jim Sharp becomes the first cowboy to ride all 10 bulls at the NFR!

1987–Lane Frost

Lane Frost wins the bull riding world championship.

1985–Charmayne James

Charmayne James wins her second barrel racing world title in dramatic fashion as the bridle falls from the mouth of her famous horse, Scamper, During the run. 

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