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It's that moment when you realize all of the preparation, all of the hours spent in the practice pen, all of the miles, the money, the time away from home, and the sacrifice you've made, was worth it. For nine professional rodeo competitors trying to make a living on the rodeo trail last year, that moment is when they were announced as the 2019 World Champions.
Relive each of their reactions to earning the highest title in professional rodeo at the 2018 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Hear The Quote Trevor Brazile Hopes He Has Lived By
3-Time World Champ Tim O'Connell: 'They Made Me Work For This One'
It truly came down the final eight seconds for the now three-time consecutive world champion bareback rider Tim O’Connell. It was the tightest race he's had to endure on the way to a world title, and one that physically exhausted many of the bareback riders with three tapping out before the final round due to injury.
It took everything he had, but O'Connell now enters the elite group of bareback riders who have won three titles in a row. Only two competitors have ever done better: Kaycee Feild (who won four titles in a row) and Joe Alexander (who earned five world titles back to back).
Two-Time World Champion Tyler Waguespack Knows He's Good Enough Now
Tyler Waguespack said he thought he "might" be good enough to win a world title after the first one, but he knows it now. Congratulations to the now two-time world champion steer wrestler Tyler Waguespack.
A Fight To The End For World Team Roping Champions Smith & Eaves
It was a tough fight right until the end for first-time world champion team ropers Clay Smith and Paul Eaves. The battle came down to the last steer in an extremely tight race between the top two teams with just over $15,000 separating the two after the final round.
Wade Sundell On The World Title Race: 'You Had To Keep Your Chin Down'
It was a long road to get here but after eight trips to the NFR, the "wild man" Wade Sundell finally collected a world title, giving 2018 a positive end after what had been a tough year.
Earlier that year, Sundell's home burnt to the ground, along with many of the awards he's won over his extremely successful career. He has a new house now, and a world champion buckle to put on the mantle.
(Sundell was injured in 2019, preventing him from qualifying for another National Finals Rodeo, read the story and learn how to support his recovery HERE.)
The Ever Elusive "Average" Helped Caleb Smidt Win His World Title
The average is one of the hardest titles to win at the 10-round Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, but it was what pushed Caleb Smidt over the edge to win his second world title.
Meet Your 2018 Barrel Racing World Champion: Hailey Kinsel
Last year it was the new arena record at 13.11 seconds, this year it was a new season earnings record - even before the final round of competition with $339,276.75 in earnings - and a world title clinched in round nine. Meet your 2018 barrel racing world champion: Hailey Kinsel.
Broken & Bruised, Sage Kimzey Wins Fifth World Title
The now five-time consecutive world champion bull rider Sage Kimzey looked like he had trouble simply standing to do this interview, but give him two weeks and he'll be right back at it. Injuries to his shoulder and ribs plagued him during the 10 days of competition, but the champion endured the pain to take home his fifth title in five attempts.