Although they compete in different events, Cody Ohl and Jason Miller rely on each other to help build a winning mindset.
Their teamwork paid off at the Justin Boots Championships at CenturyLink Center as each walked away a winner.
Steer wrestler Miller pulled off an upset as he pinned his steer in 3.7 seconds to best PRCA standings leader Casey Martin, who finished second at 4.0 seconds.
Ohl, with 2007 world champion Miller looking on and shouting instructions, scored a time of 7.3 seconds to nab the tie-down roping title.
Miller and Ohl said their relationship was all about surrounding themselves with winners.
After failing to qualify for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas last season by just $55, Miller said he's taking whatever help he can get to make it this year.
“Hanging around guys like Cody, the son of a gun is a mental giant,” Miller said. “I like to know what's going through Cody Ohl's mind. Those guys are so mentally tough.”
The win was the first outright this year for Miller, who is from Lance Creek, Wyo. He took home a co-championship from a minor rodeo in Wyoming this year.
But after coming so close to qualifying for the NFR last year, Miller said he now realizes that even the smaller events can make the difference between success and failure.
“I'm not getting any younger,” the 39-year-old Miller said. “You put in a full year and then get that close, you know, even if it was a dollar, it's bad business on my part.
“All throughout the whole (last) year there's different scenarios where I could have done better and won more money. Every single rodeo you go to matters.”
Miller, who entered the weekend in eighth place in the PRCA standings, is assured of being in the NFR in December after collecting $11,574 at the River City Rodeo.
Dean Gorsuch of Gering, Neb., had the home crowd roaring when he scored a time of 3.9 seconds in the steer wrestling semifinal. But officials assessed a 10-second penalty for breaking the barrier, or not allowing his steer enough of start, to knock his time down to 13.9 seconds, keeping him from the final round.
Ohl used Miller as a second set of eyes during his winning tie-down roping runs.
“He's just been everywhere we've been,” Ohl said. “You always feel like you have somebody on your team, somebody in your family, you know.
“The first four rounds, he stood in the box with me always checking. It always helps to have somebody reassure you, always having that second opinion right there.”
Ohl thought he fouled on his run in the final but heard Miller shout that he got out of the box cleanly.
“I thought I did break the barrier,” Ohl said, “and then I hear this voice out of nowhere scream, 'You're out' and I went ahead and kicked it back into gear again.”
Cort Scheer of Elsmere, Neb., brought the CenturyLink Center crowd of 11,745 to its feet after he placed first in the saddle bronc semifinal with a score of 84. But in the final he placed fourth with 76 points.
Chad Ferley of Oelrichs, S.D., the 2006 world champion, claimed the saddle bronc buckle with an 86-point ride and pocketed $14,386 over the weekend.
Bareback rider Steven Dent of Mullen, Neb., failed to advance out of the semifinal, finishing seventh out of eight riders.
Three-time world champion Will Lowe claimed the bareback riding title on the final ride of the night with a score of 83 points, besting the 82 by four-time world champion and current standings leader Bobby Mote.
J.W. Harris took home the bull riding buckle with a final-round score of 93 points, and Derrick Begay and Cesar De La Cruz took the team roping title with a final round time of 4.7 seconds. Michele Mcleod won barrel racing with a final round time of 13.82 seconds.