Unstoppable. Almost unbeatable. That’s been bareback rider Evan Betony in the last few months.
The multi-time RAM Turquoise Circuit Champion won no less than second in six of the final seven rodeos of his ProRodeo regular season to carry a lead of better than $5,000 into the RAM Turquoise Circuit Finals Rodeo in Camp Verde, Ariz., on Nov. 3.
But before he climbed aboard his first horse, Betony took care of business in Las Vegas during the Indian National Finals Rodeo (INFR), winning or sharing three round wins en route to his first world title.
Just one week later, the Navajo cowboy carried that momentum into the circuit finals, where he swept the competition, winning all three rounds and the average with 242.5 points. Betony earned $8,574.
Betony followed his father, uncle, and older brother into the rough and tumble world of bareback riding.
“Growing up, the people I looked up to were bareback riders and I just found a niche for it,” Betony, 24, said. His father Philbert took his boys, Wyatt, Evan, and Cauy, along with him on the ProRodeo trail.
“We’d go with him, and I guess it’s just monkey-see, monkey-do,” Betony joked. His own son, Huxtyn, is already following his dad behind the bucking chutes at just three years old, so the Betony bareback riding legacy may well go on.
But first, Hux’s dad is making his own mark, claiming his third Turquoise Circuit Finals Rodeo championship since 2019 in dominating fashion.
It all started on Friday night with a horse from Salt River Rodeo called Windy Whiskey, a horse with whom Betony had plenty of history.
“She was good, just had her normal trip like when I’ve gotten on her in Payson (Ariz.) a few times,” Betony said of the 81.5-point ride. “I guess I was on my game a little that day because we got the round win.”
The final day of the finals features two performances, a grueling day for bareback riders in particular. Betony’s matinee dancing partner, Divine Porcupine from Honeycutt Rodeo, did not make things easier for champion.
“She bucked,” Betony laughed. “I’m still feeling a little sore this evening.”
With a second-round win for a 79-point ride, Betony held a 7.5-point lead going into the final round on Saturday night.
“Tonight, I had Jim Kenney’s Ship Shape,” Betony said. “She’s kind of small but has a big heart. She was snappy and good and made me work.”
Betony sealed the sweep with 82 points, taking the average easily and his third-year end title. The win also sets up a chance for redemption at next summer’s NFR Open powered by RAM in Colorado Springs, Colo.
“I haven’t had luck up there in Colorado Springs in the past, but we’ll look to change that this year.”
While Betony continues to rack up the titles, he isn’t planning on hitting the road full time. Along with Huxtyn, Betony and Kaitlan James have a little girl, Keeley, who is just a year old.
“I want to (go harder) but I’m taking care of my family and they’re my main focus,” Betony said. “What I am able to do on the weekends just helps.
“Maybe if I start winning big, I will go more.”
Other winners at the $198,314 rodeo were all-around cowboy Erich Rogers ($8,394, team roping and steer roping); steer wrestler Rooster Yazzie (15.9 seconds on three head); team ropers Erich Rogers/Paul Eaves (15.5 seconds on three head); saddle bronc rider Slade Keith (244.5 points on three head); tie-down roper Seth Hall (29.2 seconds on three head); barrel racer Madison Bean (52.65 seconds on three runs); breakaway roper Kassidy Dennison (9.6 seconds on three head); steer roper Garrett Hale (33.8 seconds on three head); and bull rider Caelan Reynolds (171.5 points on two head).
Courtesy of PRCA