Dru Melvin of Hebron will compete in steer wrestling at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo this week.
According to their website, the WNFR is the “season-ending championship event for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association and is widely acknowledged to be the world’s premier rodeo.”
The Wrangler NFR includes ten rounds over ten days. Cowboys and barrel racers earn money by placing first through sixth in any round. Participants can earn more money by averaging first through eighth place cumulatively. At the end of each Wrangler NFR, there are two champions for every event
This year, the competition will be held on Dec. 4-13 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. The rodeo will showcase the very best cowboys, barrel racers and livestock in the world.
The last time Melvin competed in the WNFR was eight years ago and it was with an injured shoulder.
Melvin dislocated his shoulder nine times during that season including once at the WNFR.
Afterward, Melvin spent five months in rehab and had to have reconstructive surgery on his anterior ligament.
Despite his injuries, he took 44th place in the 2007 season and has come close to making the trip back to Las Vegas finishing in the top 25 on two other occasions.
This year, Melvin had several big wins that got him up to Las Vegas. His season had a big boost in July when he won $14,394 at the Ponoka (Alberta) Stampede and $8,001 at California Rodeo Salinas. That $22,395 allowed him to take 24th place for the season.
Melvin will enter this year’s WNFR with another shoulder injury – a torn tendon – that will require surgery.
injury slow him down.
Melvin played football and basketball in high school and graduated college with a Bachelor’s degree in parks and recreation management with rodeo scholarships.
He and his wife Brittany welcomed their first child, a son Jaxson, into the family a year ago in September.
Melvin’s traveling partners include Bray Armes and Casey Martin.
It will be a family reunion for all of them as they gather in Las Vegas this year.
Wrangler NFR will air live nightly from 10 p.m. till 1 a.m. ET from Dec. 4 to Dec. 13 on CBS Sports Network.