NFR 2018: Ten-year-old Aiden Lane Treetop is headed to Las Vegas, where he’ll be the youngest enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to ever compete in the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, which kicks off Thursday.

A resident of Fort Yates, the Lakota cowboy advanced to the Junior NFR after securing first place in saddle bronc riding, ages 9 to 11, at the High Plains Youth Rodeo Circuit Finals, Fort Pierre, S.D., in September.

Aiden, who has never been to Vegas — for business or pleasure, says he’s excited for the competition.

“I’m going to bring that gold buckle back,” he said.

The fourth-grader credits his sister, Mercedes, for spurring his interest in rodeo, which entered his blood about seven years ago. He says she passed her love of horses — and being around them — on to him.

A bull- and bareback bronc rider, Aiden’s only been riding saddle bronc since June. He’s competed in numerous rodeos throughout the year, testing his skills in all three events.

While he did not succeed in covering his two bulls, Aiden said competing in the International Miniature Bullrider’s Association World Finals, Guthrie, Okla., in September was a highlight.

“He made some new friends, and it was a heck of an experience for him,” said Ardis Dog Skin, Aiden’s grandmother.

The young athlete qualified to compete in bareback, as well, at the High Plains Youth Rodeo Circuit Finals but, due to lack of funds, only participated in saddle bronc. The latter was his ticket to the Junior NFR.

Aiden’s family, friends, school and community are stepping up in full force to make sure his $4,000 trip to Vegas, in which he will be accompanied by a few family members, is covered.

“I’m happy with all the support I’m getting from the community,” Aiden said.

Since February, more than 7,000 entrants from 38 states and four countries have attempted to qualify for the Junior NFR, which runs concurrently with the National Finals Rodeo.

About 700 of these athletes made the cut and will compete for gold buckles in eight events, each with varying age groups.

Saddle bronc riders will begin battling it out Thursday at the Las Vegas Convention Center, with competitions each day leading up to Monday’s final.

Dog Skin says her grandson, who recently received his Lakota name — Wanbli A’na’ta’pi Hoksila — which loosely translated means “eagles watch over him boy,” has a “good chance” of winning that gold buckle.

“To make it to the NFR is a pretty amazing accomplishment. I’m happy he made it,” she said. “Anything he does down there is a bonus.”

She went on to say that Aiden is a “great kid,” overall.

“He does good in school, he’s active in sports and the community and he’s a hard worker,” she said. “He has good manners and is very helpful to anyone who needs help.”

NFR 2018

NFR 2018: The 60th annual National Finals Rodeo gets underway Thursday, meaning a total of 170,000 rodeo fans are expected to pack the Thomas & Mack over the 10-day event, with 40,000 of those being from out of state, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority said.

About 20 years ago, a long and lean athlete from a small town in Montana enjoyed college basketball success in Dillon and later found fame as a cowboy in Las Vegas.

Bridger Chambers is following in the footsteps of Brad Gleason, all right.

“Man it’s awesome, that’s the only way I can describe it,” said Chambers, a steer wrestler who Thursday night will compete at his first National Finals Rodeo. “It’s a dream come true and I’m trying to soak up every moment.”

In the mid-1990s, Gleason was a 6-5 forward from Ennis who starred on basketball teams at Western Montana College and in 1997 won a world championship in the bulldogging at the NFR. Chambers, who grew up in Stevensville and played basketball at what is now known as Montana Western, would sure like to follow Gleason’s example.

Erickson, Chambers among contenders at NFR

It turns out Chambers has been looking up to the former world champ for years.

“Brad played college basketball with my dad (Keith), who was the basketball coach at Stevensville for 23 years,” Chambers said. “My dad said Brad was one of the toughest guys he ever met and could stand flatfooted, jump up and dunk two basketballs.”

Chambers was no slouch on the hardwood himself.

“He was a very good basketball player,” said his coach at the time, now University of Providence coach Steve Keller. “He was hard-nosed, tough, could shoot the 3 or post up. A fierce competitor just as he is now. The stage down there will not be too big for Bridger. I expect him to be in the hunt, because I know he won’t be satisfied just by getting there.”

National Finals Rodeo 2018

National Finals Rodeo 2018: World Champion bull rider Sage Kimzey will be wearing two special items when he makes an appearance at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas tonight.

The PRCA National Finals Rodeo is always a big deal, but the 2018 edition marks the semi-retirement of one of the best cowboys in the sport. 23-time world champion Trevor Brazile is stepping back from the rodeo after this event, so it’s probably his last chance to go for No. 24.

Brazile finished in second place last year, losing out to his brother-in-law Tuf Cooper. This year will probably be his last year competing with NFR qualifying as the goal, so it’s also the last time we’ll see him on this stage.

Canadian Curtis Cassidy will also be a name to look out for. He finished sixth in the All-Around standings, so he’ll obviously seek to improve his status as well.

“I never want to count myself out, but with such a drastic change in the way I conduct my rodeo business, if I do ever make the Finals again it’ll be a bigger story than my retirement, because I’ll have gotten it done at just a handful of rodeos,” Brazile said, per “The good news is that this is my decision, and I’m not being forced out because I’m hurt or too old.”

Here’s how you can catch one of Brazile’s last ride — both the United States and abroad. comes with a $79.99 annual subscription with the promo code NFRDEAL20.

BRIDGER — Bridger Chambers’ list of goals for his 2018 rodeo season was not particularly long.

“The main goal was to run three good steers at the circuit finals,” explained the large cowboy of the Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit Finals held every January in Great Falls.

Chambers, formerly of Stevensville now living in Butte, did just that. He placed in all three rounds of steer wrestling, winning the first, and won the average for $6,900.

“I completed that goal,” Chambers said.

Little did he know that weekend would change his rodeo life.

“I wasn’t planning on going hard,” Chambers continued. “I wasn’t planning anything, mainly just staying around the region. I just wanted to make it to Florida.”

Winning the MPRC Finals was just the first steppingstone in what is shaping up as the best year of his professional rodeo career.

By winning in Montana, he qualified for the National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Kissimmee, Florida. He placed second overall in Florida, pocketing more than $17,000.

The money won in his home state also earned him a spot in San Antonio — only second to the National Finals Rodeo in payout — where he earned another $6,400.

After much discussion with his family, and the willingness of his father Keith to double his work load, Chambers finds himself on the road pursuing a long-held dream: Qualifying for the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.

Game Awards

Game Awards : The Game Awards 2018 is tonight and we expect plenty of exciting announcements, celebrity presenters, musical performances and, of course, recognition of the best games of the year.

There’s a tension in the air at most award shows — but the annual Game Awards are a bit different. Sure, there’s still a lot of anticipation over who is going to win game of the year, but the real excitement takes place between the awards: trailers, announcements and DLC reveals.

It’s like a mini-E3 with a red carpet, and it’s quickly becoming one of the biggest nights of the year in game announcements. It’s where we first saw games like Bayonetta 3 and SoulCalibur VI, and got one of our best early looks at Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding.

Here’s how to make sure you don’t miss the announcements or the awards.

The Game Awards start at 5:30 p.m. PT/8:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, Dec. 6. If you happen to live on the other side of the planet, the show will start on Friday morning sometime between 1:30 a.m. (GMT) and 11:30 a.m. (GMT+11).

New game announcements and trailers are easily half the draw for the awards show — and we already know a few big ones are coming. Ubisoft has already announced that it will be showing off something new from the Far Cry franchise at the event, and the official Game Awards Twitter account has said that it will be hosting an exclusive new look at Anthem during the show.

There’s also buzz on the web that we might see a Crash Team Racing remake, more details on Death Stranding and more. There’s even an off chance we might hear more about that open-world Harry Potter game that was allegedly leaked earlier this year.

On top of those promises, a handful of publishers have very directly hinted their own announcements. Nintendo has been talking up the Game Awards as a pre-game to the release of Super Smash Bros Ultimate, implying it may tease the game’s first DLC during the show. Similarly, Obsidian has made it clear that it’s gearing up to announce a new RPG, and Epic’s Donald Mustard will be on site with a mysterious Fortnite announcement.

According to Game Awards host Geoff Keighley, there will be at least 10 brand-new game reveals in all, not including new trailers for previously announced games or DLC announcements. That’s a lot of news to look forward to.

There are a ton of awards being handed out in a staggering array of categories — this list doesn’t include everything, but here are the biggest ones.

Game Awards 2018

Game Awards 2018: The Game Awards 2018 take place tonight, starting at 9 PM ET, and Mixer is giving gamers the opportunity to earn in-game rewards for Sea of Thieves. It’s been confirmed that 10 new titles will be announced during The Game Awards 2018.

Both companies are slashing prices on Rockstar Games’ “Red Dead Redemption 2.” The Special Edition is $69.59 on PSN and $71.99 on the Microsoft Store. Sony is also offering the Ultimate Edition for $90.

Some other recently released AAA titles are also on sale, including “Assassin’s Creed Odyssey,” which is down to $40.19 on both consoles. “Call of Duty: Black Ops 4” is $48, while “Shadow of the Tomb Raider” is $30, or 50% off.

There are some great indie games on sale right now as well. Motion Twin’s roguelike Metroidvania “Dead Cells” is 33% off on the Microsoft Store ($16.74) and 20% off on PSN ($20). The critically-acclaimed “Donut County” is 30% off on PSN. It’s received two The Game Awards nominations. Matt Thorson and Noel Berry’s platformer “Celeste” is also 30% off on PSN. It’s received four nominations, including game of the year.

Here are some of Variety’s picks from both sales. You can find the full list of discounts on the PlayStation and Xbox websites. Microsoft’s sale ends Dec. 9, while Sony’s ends Dec. 11.

The Game Awards begins at 8:30 p.m. EST. Fans can watch it online in a number of places, including Twitch, YouTube, Mixer, and right here at Variety.

Make sure to check out all of Variety’s Game Awards 2018 coverage, especially Thursday night as we cover the show live, from the red carpet and inside the awards themselves. You can read up on all of it here.

The Game Awards 2018

The Game Awards 2018 takes place Thursday, Dec. 6 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. To celebrate, Sony and Microsoft are currently offering discounts on some of the year’s biggest games.

The Game Awards are coming, promising not only a celebration of the last year in video games, but also a slew of new announcements for the coming year and beyond. The annual award show has become known for hosting game reveals, and this year’s event promises to be no different. Eager to get started, some studios have already begun teasing their impending news.

The festivities will begin today, December 6, at 8:30 PM ET / 5:30 PM PT / (Friday at 1:30 AM GMT / 12:30 PM AET). You can check out all of the games we are certain or expect to see below, or read about the games we know won’t be there.

The Game Awards 2018 is tonight and we expect plenty of exciting announcements, celebrity presenters, musical performances and, of course, recognition of the best games of the year. Even if you’re not tuning in to the ceremony, you can still get in on the fun; as in previous years, Game Awards 2018 nominees and a few past winners are discounted on multiple platforms in celebration of the best in gaming this year.

The PlayStation Store, Nintendo eShop, Steam and the Xbox Games Store are all running Game Awards sales highlighting the 2018 nominees, from AAA titles like Red Dead Redemption 2 to indie darlings like Celeste.

This is a great opportunity to catch up on the excellent games you may have missed this year, or buy your favorite 2018 game as a holiday gift. A selection of the Game Awards 2018 sales are listed below.