Denton roper Riley Webb saw a years' worth of work and competition come to satisfying end on Saturday when he captured the 13-and-under tie down roping title at the Junior National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.
Webb, making his fourth appearance at the Junior Nationals, had to rally from a sluggish start in the competition last Tuesday, then turned in the best time of the event on Thursday to earn a spot in the final day of competition on Saturday.
With five competitors earning a spot in the finals, Webb was the third young cowboy to rope and he turned in a time of 8.57 that put him in first with two ropers still to compete.
"I was the third person to rope, and I knew I had to beat a 8.9 time," Webb said Monday morning. "I posted my time to put me into first, then I had to wait on the next two ropers before I knew I won. It was a great feeling when those last two riders didn't beat me."
The week of competition didn't start well for Webb, but it didn't affect his confidence. The first two rounds were Tuesday, and he posted a 11.15 time in Round 1 and did not post a time in Round 2.
"I tripped getting off my horse in Round 1, and that affected my time," Webb recalled. "After the first two runs, I felt like I knew what the calves were going to do, and I knew I could do better."
His confidence showed during Thursday's third and fourth rounds when he posted the best time in the competition of the week with a 8.09 in Round 3 to win the round and then came back with a 9.78 time in Round 4.
"I think being in this competition before really helped me," said Webb. "I knew what I had to do and I just had to go out and do it."
Dylan Hancock, who was leading the competition throughout most of the week, finished second to Webb with a time of 8.98. Cole Carpenter was a distant third with a 12.47 time.
The victory was Webb's second at the Junior Nationals after he won the 13-and-younger tie down title in 2015.
Saturday's victory also qualifies Webb for The American semifinals at the Fort Worth Stock Show in February. A victory in Fort Worth would qualify him for The American Junior Championship at AT&T Stadium on Feb. 25.
Following The American semifinals and possibly finals, Webb will turn his attention to qualifying for the 2018 Junior Nationals, when he will move up into a new division.
FEATURED PHOTO: Denton roper Riley Webb dismounts from his horse during the championship round Saturday at the Junior National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. Webb recorded a time of 8.57 to win the 13 and under tie down roping event. (Courtesy Photo)