Martin places 11th at NFR

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

LAS VEGAS -- Former Missouri Valley College saddle bronc rider Cody Martin had an instructive first appearance this month in the National Finals Rodeo at Las Vegas.

Martin, 25, the 2002 College National Finals Rodeo champion as a Viking, entered the Dec. 5-14 meet in 11th place in the Jack Daniels World Standings. Although he had the 11th-best average score over 10 rounds, he emerged 13th on the money list.

Martin was thrown three times -- by Li'l Las Vegas Snuff in the third round, Smokeless Brownie in the sixth "go" and Breakdance on the night before the finals -- but otherwise posted consistent scores of between 76.5 and 84.5 points. His total of 570.5 points was 11th in the 15-cowboy field.

The main problem for Martin, an Arkansas native who now lives in rural Marshall, was that he only finished in the money -- which requires a top-six showing -- three times. He was fifth in the fourth round aboard Jumpin' Jack and fourth in the eighth and last gos while riding Smokeless Sam and Smokeless Pig Valley, respectively.

The three paydays totaled $15,722.62, but wins by Mike Outhier in the sixth round and Cody DeMoss in the eighth go allowed both to pass Martin on the season money list. Martin wound up with $75,221.01 for his first full season on the circuit, having spent parts of four years in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association -- winning "rookie of the year" among saddle bronc riders in 2000.

Rod A. Warren, 35, of Big Valley, Alberta, wasn't the best on any night of the event. But when the rodeo was over, he had the highest score at 805 -- the only cowboy to stay in the saddle all 10 rides. For the season, though, Dan Mortensen, 35, of Billings, Mont., claimed his record sixth world championship. His second-place showing in the NFR pushed his earnings to $2,038,582 -- the first roughstock cowboy to reach the $2 million plateau.

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