The 2006 National Finals Rodeo (NFR) world finals had its ups and downs for former world champion bull rider Dustin Elliott. The up part was winning the 6th and 8th go-rounds that put him on stage for the championship buckle presentations at the Gold Coast Hotel and Casino. Dustin also placed in the first and second rounds, riding the renown bull called Sports Machine in the second.
The down part was that it wasn't enough to win his second world title. B.J. Schmacher covered eight bulls to win his first world title. Dustin had nothing to be ashamed of, as he picked up his second consecutive fourth place World finish. He has finished in the top four in the world for three years in a row, winning the world title in 2004.
But for a couple of glitches things could have been different. Midway in the go-rounds, he was within one second of riding a bull that been deemed virtually un-ridable, and then in the tenth round, Smokless Wardance, the 2005 bull of the year, fell down and then turned around and slammed Dustin into the chute. Dustin felt that he would have ridden him. He got a re-ride on a bull called "Cooter", Dustin and "Cooter" have always had a hard time seeing "eye to eye", and this time didn't turn out well either.
It was really pretty exciting to walk into the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino and see pictures of Dustin scattered all over the building as promotions for the casino and the NFR finals. He then was featured during break time coverage, during the rodeo, that was televised nationally. Pretty heady stuff for a kid that had his roots in John Day, Oregon.
A highlight of the finals from a local standpoint happened at Elliott's first buckle presentation. The winners of the go-rounds are presented with their go-round championship buckles at a ceremony on stage at the Gold Coast Casino. This happens every night after the performances are finished. World famous rodeo announcer Bob Tallman is the master of ceremonies. Dustin never touched his buckle. Instead, when Dustin Elliott appeared on stage to receive his buckle, his dad Wayne Elliott was called before the packed house, and Tallman presented Dustin's buckle to him in appreciation of all the support and backing that his dad has given him through his rodeo career.
Definitely one of the ups of the NFR finals.