LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Coming back in the later rounds of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo at the Thomas and Mack Center, Grant County's own Trevor Knowles and former resident Dustin Elliott earned big money in the steer wrestling and bull riding as the annual event for the top cowboys and cowgirls in the nation came to a close on Dec. 11.

In the opening rounds, both Elliott and Knowles had their share of problems and failed to earn any NFR money.

After the first five rounds of competition, they and found themselves in fifth and 13th place in their respective events, but that all came to an abrupt end by the time the mid-week go-rounds started.

By Dec. 8 Elliott had pocketed $20,192.30, while Knowles put $20,949.52 in his account and vaulted into ninth place in steer wrestling.

The pair stayed hot and by Dec. 9, Elliott was third in bull riding with $32,560.09 in NFR winnings.

Knowles slipped a little falling into 10th place but still picked up some cash, upping his total to $24,230.77.

Unfortunately, that was the last money either of them would win and Elliott finished the season fourth overall in bull riding with total earnings of $159,211.95 for the year.

Knowles finished in 14th place among steer wrestlers in 2005 with winnings totaling $92,209.70.

Matt Austin set a new season record in earnings for bull riders while winning the championship gold buckle at the NFR. He picked up $320,765.91 in total prize money this year.

Lee Graves was the steer wrestling champion winning over $126,000 at the NFR and $206,415.23 overall.

The professional cowboys and cowgirls have a brief period over the Christmas holidays to regroup and spend a little time with the family before everything starts up once again just after New Year's in San Antonio, Texas.

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