Mitchell steps up in National Finals Rodeo
Less than five months after his team roping partner died in his sleep, Spencer Mitchell came up with the biggest performance of his career — tying for the lead in the fifth round of the team roping competition at the PRCA National Finals Rodeo on Monday in Las Vegas.
Mitchell teamed up with rookie Dakota Kirchenschlager, of Stephenville, Texas, for a time of 3.7 seconds. Right out the gate, Mitchell lassoed the horns, pulled the steer to the left and Kirchenschlager quickly caught the hind legs.
Their time was the fastest of the week until Brock Hanson and Ryan Motes matched it later in the round.
Mitchell, 24, lost long-time team roping partner Broc Cresta, of Santa Rosa, on July 28 at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo in Wyoming. Cresta died in his sleep in his trailer.
Mitchell and Cresta won back-to-back state high school championships in 2003 and 2004 while Mitchell attended Williams High and Cresta went to Santa Rosa High.
"This has been a whole different feeling here this year. I roped with Broc at every finals and major event I ever entered, from youth rodeos all the way to last year's NFR," Mitchell said.
"I'm just lucky to have Dakota with me. It helps to see another friend when I look over on the other side of the chute as we ride in."
Their performance in the fifth round was a vast improvement over their previous best time of 9.3 seconds in round three. Their average place through the first five days of the competition is 12th place.
"Now that Dakota and I have found our rhythm, the rest of the week is going to be fun," Mitchell said.
The 10-day National Finals Rodeo continues in Las Vegas until Saturday. Each round of the competition pays out $60,000. Mitchell and Kirchenschlager earned $16,343 for their performance on Monday.
Coverage of the rodeo begins with the highlights from the previous day at 3 p.m. and live coverage airs at 7 p.m. on the Great American Country network.