Albany duo of Driggers, Culpepper win first place, $64,039 at roping nationals in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS — Kaleb Driggers and Brad Culpepper of Albany struck gold this past Saturday night during the third round of the $6 million Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.

The team of Albany ropers clocked the fastest time of the field of 15, catching their steer in 4.1 seconds to tie with Turtle Powell and Jhett Johnson for the $64,039 victory.

“These steers are young and don't know how to start very well,” Culpepper said. “As soon as he left the box, Kaleb had the steer roped. I had to slow down to get in time enough to catch.”

After the win, the pair are ranked 10th in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world standings, which determine world championships. But the duo can still catch the leaders with seven rounds remaining in Las Vegas.

Driggers, 22, is a Waycross native competing in his first Wrangler NFR after just two years of professional rodeo experience.

Culpepper, a 41-year-old veteran competing in his seventh Super Bowl of rodeo, won two straight aggregate championships at the Wrangler NFR more than a decade ago with Jimmy Tanner of Tifton.