Bull rider Ruger Piva hopes to use ProRodeo Tour as jolt to make NFR debut

Bull rider Ruger Piva hopes ProRodeo

The heartbreak of barely missing the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo has become a common reality for bull rider Ruger Piva.

Piva finished 17th in the PRCA | RAM World Standings the past two seasons and had to put his Wrangler NFR debut on hold.

“Being so close twice has definitely pushed me a lot harder this year,” said Piva, 26. “It can either be a negative or a positive and I’m trying to make sure it will never happen again.”

Piva is doing his best to not have his NFR bubble burst in 2021, he is sitting 13th in the world standings with $43,028.

Piva’s also been making a point to compete in the ProRodeo Tour rodeos and that decision has paid off as he’s fourth in the ProRodeo Tour standings with 2056.93 points.

“Last year right after San Antonio (in February) I was right up there in the world standings, and I went to the doctor because my hip was hurting really bad,” Piva said. “I had to have reconstructive surgery on most of the muscles on my right hip. Right when COVID hit, it kind of worked out for me, but I came back a little too soon and I had the lowest riding percentage of my career, around 30 percent, and I still almost made the NFR.”

“This year, I’m feeling healthy, that has been part of it, and I’ve just been taking every bull serious, not overlooking anything.”

Piva finished second at the San Antonio Stock & Rodeo on Feb. 27, earning a season-best $12,800.

The ProRodeo Tour is the culmination of the most prestigious tour on the PRCA circuit. The Tour finale will take place at California Rodeo Salinas, Sept. 23-26 and will punch tickets to the Wrangler NFR for a majority of ProRodeo athletes.

Something not lost on Piva.

“I have made a point to go to the ProRodeo Tour rodeos,” Piva said. “There’s going to be a lot of money there in Salinas. It is also good money at the (ProRodeo Tour) rodeos as well so it is just a win-win.”

The Top 24 competitors in each event in the ProRodeo Tour Standings advance to the Tour Finale and will compete in the high-dollar rodeo on the season’s final weekend.

“With Salinas paying a lot of money it can be the difference of a guy being 30th in the world (standings) to qualifying for the NFR if he can win Salinas,” Piva said. “I would definitely like to win it or be in one of the top places in Salinas for sure this year.”

The Tour Finale will air on The Cowboy Channel and will stream on the PRCA on Cowboy Channel Plus App. For more information, visit cowboychannelplus.com.

The ProRodeo season ends Sept. 30. The Top 15 athletes in the PRCA | RAM World Standings in each event will qualify for the Wrangler NFR.

Source: ProRodeo

For more information for Wrangler NFR, please visit www.nfrexperience.com. and ProRodeo.com Check out our latest news at www.wranglernfrlive.com or through social media at /LasVegasNFR and use #WranglerNFR.

Christmas coming early for cowboys PRCA Fourth of July run

Christmas coming early for cowboys PRCA

Erich Rogers has been through plenty of Fourth of July runs.

The 2020 season’s Fourth run was one of the best for the 2017 team roping header world champion.

The team roping header has been a PRCA member since 2006. Last season, he and heeler Paden Bray used a Fourth of July run that garnered them $17,134 each to make a run to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

The duo then won the NFR average in Arlington, Texas, as Rogers finished third in the PRCA | RAM World Standings among headers with $175,503 and Bray second among heelers with the same amount.

Their 2020 Fourth run saw them earn more money than any other competitor regardless of event during that stretch and that was during an abbreviated version of the Fourth of July run because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was a good Fourth, we did get lucky and did well at some big ones,” Rogers. “We drew really good and placed at just about every one of them we went to. We drew really good steers and have good horses. Once you draw them and use those good ones, it makes life a little easier.”

The 2021 Cowboy Christmas is currently rolling full speed ahead

Rookie bareback rider Cole Franks is hoping to have a Fourth of July like Rogers and Bray.

Franks is leading the PRCA | Resistol Rookie Standings with $25,411 and is 13th in the World Standings with the same amount.

He also won’t have to figure out how to navigate a busy Fourth. Last year, as a permit holder, Franks got into a handful of rodeos. This season, he’s going to nearly a dozen. And he’s traveling with three-time World Champion Bareback Rider Tim O’Connell and reigning NFR average champion Jess Pope.

“I’m excited,” said Franks, 20. “It’s going to be very busy. I think we’re entered in 10-12 rodeos in four days.”

It’s a bit different from a year ago.

“Last year on my permit, it was kind of three or four (rodeos) in that week over the Fourth,” he said. “I got drawn out of stuff. This is the first time I’ve actually done it, made an actual Fourth of July run.”


Recent Fourth of July Runs

Recent winners
2020: Erich Rogers/Paden Bray, TR, $17,134 each*

2019: Stetson Wright, SB, BR, $35,757

2018: Tim O’Connell, BB, $31,014

* Payouts, rodeos affected by pandemic

Source: ProRodeo

For more information for Wrangler NFR, please visit www.nfrexperience.com. and ProRodeo.com Check out our latest news at www.wranglernfrlive.com or through social media at /LasVegasNFR and use #WranglerNFR.

Steer wrestler Hunter Cure captures fourth Reno crown

Steer wrestler Hunter Cure

RENO, Nev. – Hunter Cure and the Reno Rodeo are a great fit.

The Holliday, Texas cowboy won the prestigious rodeo for the fourth time in his career before a sold-out crowd of 9,000 at the Reno Rodeo arena Saturday night.

Cure won the average with a 13.1-second time on three head in the ProRodeo Tour stop.

Cure secured the win with a 4.3-second run in the short-go to edge out Tyler Pearson by two tenths of a second for the title. Cure has now won Reno in 2013, 2015, 2018 and 2020.

Cure, a PRCA World Champion in 2013 and 2015, has had a tough season, battling injuries all year long but he was all smiles Saturday night as he left town after earning $12,025.

“More than anything headed into the final round I knew that steer was great in the earlier rounds,” Cure said. “Tyler Pearson had a run with him first, mine wasn’t as clean of run as his by any means. He did a phenomenal job all week long, I just had a better steer tonight than he did.”

Coming into Reno, Cure was sitting 47th in the PRCA | RAM World Standings with $8,279. The Reno win added to the $2,745 he earned for splitting second at the Rodeo of the Ozarks in Springdale, Ark., which also concluded June 26, made it a $15,625 windfall for Cure.

“This (Reno win) has taken me from not even being able to get into the winter rodeos all the way to winning a gold buckle before,” Cure said. “So, I’ll look to try to and repeat what’s already been laid out ahead of me.”

Cure will be a busy man over the next couple of weeks, starting with the Greeley (Colo.) Stampede on Monday morning, but he says the performance at the Reno Rodeo will be one he remembers for quite some time.

“I feel like if a man was ever to leave a legacy or have a rodeo define his career it’s probably Reno for me,” Cure said. “Maybe this will put my stamp in the books here.”

Bull rider J.B. Mauney wins Reno for first time in career

There’s very little bull rider J.B. Mauney hasn’t accomplished in his career.

Now, the superstar has decided to make his mark in the PRCA.

Mauney left his stamp on the PRCA by winning the Reno Rodeo for the first time in his career Saturday night.

Mauney won the two-head average with 176 points.

“This is a big accomplishment,” said Mauney, 34. “I grew up watching Reno, and the NFR and Cheyenne and when I decided the first of this year, I was just going to strictly rodeo I wanted to come to the big ones and do good. This feels really good.”

Mauney, who was making his first appearance at the Reno Rodeo since 2009, had an 87-point ride on Bridwell Pro Rodeo’s C smoke in the short round.

“I had never seen that bull before and I didn’t know anything about him,” Mauney said. “They said he was good. That is all I knew. I do way better shooting from the hip.”

Mauney earned $20,920 for his Reno performance. He entered Reno 14th in the world standings with $35,713 and will move up near the top five after this effort.

Hooper collects bareback riding Reno championship

Tilden Hooper’s magical season continued at the Reno Rodeo.

After winning RFD-TV’s The American in March in Arlington, Texas and added a Reno win Saturday. Hooper won the average with 254.5 points on three head.

Hooper, who came into the short round as the leader, clinched the crown with his 84-point ride on Bridwell Pro Rodeo’s Ted. It was his second career Reno win.

“It was 2011 when I won it the first time and just to be able to be riding and competing at this level, I really feel thankful to do what I love.”

Hooper, who had dropped to second in the most recent world standings after holding the top spot for weeks, will move back into first with his $14,080 in Reno earnings.

Begay/Petska snare Reno title

Veteran team ropers Derrick Begay/Cory Petska teamed up a week before the Reno Rodeo.

On June 26, they walked away as the champions of the prestigious rodeo for their first time in their careers with a 16.5-second time on three head.

“We just got together,” said Begay, an eight-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier (2008-13, 2015, 2018). “Our first rodeo together was in Pleasant, Grove, Utah (June 16-19) and Reno was our fourth rodeo together. We picked a nice one to be our first win (together). This is a big accomplishment.”

They each earned $13,864 for the victory.

Begay, entered Reno 18th in the PRCA | RAM World Standings with $14,972, and will jump into the top 15. Petska, the 2017 PRCA World Champion heeler, competes on a limited basis and was thrilled to add the Reno win to his impressive resume.

“I won second three times here in over 20 years,” Petska said. “This (win) is really special, a dream come true. I have come here since I was a little kid watching my mom and dad and it is just amazing to win it. My career has been absolutely amazing. I have literally got to do everything I wanted to do, and I have won all the big dream rodeos, and my career has been amazing. This win seals the deal for me.”

Saddle bronc rider Tegan Smith takes Reno crown

Saddle bronc rider Tegan Smith is a rising star in the PRCA ranks and he showed why Saturday night.
Smith snared the coveted Reno Rodeo championship with 254.5 points on three head. He secured the crown with an 86-point ride on Rosser Rodeo’s California Dreamin.

“I knew that horse because my traveling partner Jake Finlay was 87 on her earlier this year and he told me she was the best feeling horse,” Smith said. “I waited all week to come back, knowing I needed that draw and it worked like a charm for me.”

The Winterset, Iowa cowboy came to Reno 13th in the world standings and will certainly move up the ladder after his big win where he earned $10,495.

Smith is trying to make the Wrangler NFR for the first time in his career.

Tie-down roper Justin Smith tops Reno field

Tie-down roper Justin Smith just missed making his Wrangler National Finals debut the past two years.

The Leesville, La., cowboy finished 17th and 18th in the world standings the past two seasons.

Smith took a big step to reaching the NFR Saturday night by winning the Reno Rodeo with a 26.7-second time on three head. He earned $13,484.

“This is the third time I have been to Reno, and I made the short round in 2019 and ended up breaking the barrier,” Smith said. “Tonight, I was just glad to get these spurs. This is definitely the biggest win of my career, and it couldn’t come at a better time starting off the summer and getting things rolling.”

Source: ProRodeo

For more information for Wrangler NFR, please visit www.nfrexperience.com. and ProRodeo.com Check out our latest news at www.wranglernfrlive.com or through social media at /LasVegasNFR and use #WranglerNFR.



NELSONVILLE, Ohio – Durango® Boots has been named the official boot of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association®’s (PRCA) Wrangler National Finals Rodeo® (Wrangler NFR), the richest and most prestigious rodeo in the world. The three-year partnership will elevate Durango®’s presence at the event with onsite activations including sales, promotions and giveaways.

“The Wrangler NFR draws rodeo fans from across the world to celebrate and enjoy the pinnacle of western sports,” said Mike Fuller, Durango® Vice President/General Manager. “Durango® remains committed to supporting the rodeo industry and athletes, not only through events like this, but also through our robust research and development to create and build boots that support athletes and fans alike. We are proud to be named the Official Boot of the Wrangler NFR and National Sponsor of ProRodeo.”

The 2021 event will return to the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas December 2–11, with Durango’s featured night being during round eight. Throughout the week, fans can interact with Durango® brand representatives and purchase Durango products at their various retail activations at Cowboy Channel Cowboy Christmas and Stetson Country Christmas.

“The PRCA is proud to welcome Durango Boots as the official boot of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo® and as a national sponsor of ProRodeo,” PRCA CEO George Taylor said. “Durango Boots has a long history with ProRodeo athletes. Now, the PRCA and Durango Boots are creating history together.”

In recent years, Durango® has built a stable of Team Durango® athletes including Lisa Lockhart, Luke Brown, Paul Eaves, Ty Erickson, Shane Hanchey, Kelsie Chace, Zeke Thurston, Orin Larsen, Jeff Askey, Stevi Hillman, Riley Webb and professional rodeo announcer Garrett Yerigan. In partnership with these athletes, the brand has launched a collection of performance-driven styles for men and women, including the comfortable and durable Rebel Pro™ and Lady Rebel Pro™ collections.

For more information on the Official Boot partnership, visit durangoboots.com. To purchase tickets to the 2021 Wrangler NFR, visit NFRexperience.com.

Source: ProRodeo

For more information for Wrangler NFR, please visit www.nfrexperience.com. and ProRodeo.com Check out our latest news at www.wranglernfrlive.com or through social media at /LasVegasNFR and use #WranglerNFR.

ProRodeo Tour, Finale offer lucrative opportunities for NFR push

ProRodeo lucrative opportunities for NFR push

The ProRodeo Tour is a lucrative venture for ProRodeo cowboys.

And cowboys like six-time PRCA World Champion Bull Rider Sage Kimzey and 2014 Tie-down Roping World Champion Tyson Durfey are well aware of that.

The combined amount of money to be paid out at this weekend’s Tour stops in Reno, Nev., Springdale, Ark., and Pecos, Texas, is expected to exceed $1 million, with the combined committee purses alone hitting $700,000. By the time the ProRodeo Tour Finale concludes in Salinas, Calif., Sept. 26, the Tour will have paid out approximately $11 million.

Some of the biggest ProRodeo Tour stops on the schedule ahead include the Calgary Stampede (July 9-18), Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days (July 24-Aug. 1) and the Pendleton (Ore.) Round-Up (Sept. 15-18). The ProRodeo Tour Finale is slated to take place at California Rodeo Salinas, Sept. 23-26, the final weekend of the 2021 regular season.

Cowboy Christmas follows on the heels of the big weekend. Over Cowboy Christmas (June 28-July 5), cowboys will make their way through six more Tour stops – the Greeley (Colo.) Stampede, the World’s Oldest Rodeo in Prescott, Ariz., the Cody (Wyo.) Stampede, the Livingston (Mont.) Roundup, the St. Paul (Ore.) Rodeo and the Oakley Independence Day Rodeo in Oakley City, Utah.


Kimzey, who won six consecutive PRCA world titles from 2014-19, understands the importance of the Tour. He finished fifth in the PRCA | RAM World Standings last year and is leading the standings now with $104,202. He’s second in the ProRodeo Tour standings behind Stetson Wright, the reigning bull riding and all-around world champion.

“The ProRodeo Tour is huge,” said Kimzey, 26. “The Tour rodeos are the rodeos I want to win. They are the majors of ProRodeo, and it’s one of those deals if a guy doesn’t do well at Tour rodeos, their season is pretty incomplete. I have always put the big rodeos that are Tour rodeos at the top of my list.”

Durfey knows how big a boost the ProRodeo Tour and Tour Finale can be. Last season, he won the Tour Finale in Rapid City, S.D., Sept. 26, to earn $8,740. That secured his 14th NFR qualification in the No. 12 position.


“Right now, the ProRodeo Tour is probably more important than ever,” said Durfey, who is outside the top 50 in the world standings. “It puts an even-bigger emphasis of doing well at rodeos like Reno and Cheyenne or Salinas to get that huge bump because it takes a huge bump like that to make the NFR. I really think the way to the Finals is through the big rodeos, and it is great to get to the Tour Finale because of the timing of that rodeo late in the (regular season).”

The Top 24 competitors in each event in the ProRodeo Tour Standings advance to the Tour Finale and will compete for their share of prize money at the high-dollar rodeo. The Tour Finale at California Rodeo Salinas will crown the ProRodeo Tour champions.

The Finale’s significant payout, which will be a record amount, will come on the season’s final weekend and will play a pivotal role in determining the Top 15 in the world standings to catapult athletes into the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

Source: ProRodeo

For more information for Wrangler NFR, please visit www.nfrexperience.com. and ProRodeo.com Check out our latest news at www.wranglernfrlive.com or through social media at /LasVegasNFR and use #WranglerNFR.

First-time dad’s excited for Father’s Day

First-time dad's excited for Father's Day

Bareback rider Tilden Hooper is leading the PRCA | RAM World Standings and searching for his first world title.

Dakota Eldridge is a six-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier and trying to make a seventh trip to the Finals, sitting 10th in the world standings as of June 15. He too is looking for his first gold buckle.

But both cowboys are experiencing a different kind of first on Sunday, June 19, a first Father’s Day as a dad.

Hooper and his wife, Melissa, will be celebrating with their son, Tell McLain, who was born in January.

“I don’t feel pressure to provide as much as I feel pressure to be a good father and husband,” Hooper told ProRodeo Sports News recently.

Eldridge and his wife, Quincy, will be getting ready to celebrate their daughter’s first birthday as the 2021 regular season winds up its final month. Sally Lou will be 1 in September, and Eldridge is finding it harder to leave his little girl.

“Everybody tells you how babies will soften you up and it gets harder to leave,” he said in an interview with PSN. “It wasn’t that big of a deal at first, but now she has a personality and is almost walking. She knows who you are now, so it is tough to take off.”

To read more about Hooper and Eldridge and Father’s Day, check out the June 11, 2021, edition of ProRodeo Sports News.

Source: ProRodeo

For more information for Wrangler NFR, please visit www.nfrexperience.com. and ProRodeo.com Check out our latest news at www.wranglernfrlive.com or through social media at /LasVegasNFR and use #WranglerNFR.

Cowboys ready for Reno Rodeo return

Cowboys Reno Rodeo Return

The Reno Rodeo is back and better than ever in 2021. Last year’s even was canceled due to the coronavirus but the Reno Livestock Event Center is ready to welcome back cowboys in full force this week.

The 10-day event begins June 17 with the Division 1 Xtreme Bulls event, with $54,000 added money. The Reno Rodeo Xtreme Bulls and the Reno Rodeo, which runs from June 18-26, will be broadcast live on The Cowboy Channel, and streamed on the PRCA on the Cowboy Channel Plus App at 10 p.m. (EDT).


Sage Kimzey, the 2019 Reno Xtreme Bulls and Reno Rodeo champ, is back to defend his titles.

“It’s always a great event and it kind of starts our whole summer run off,” said Kimzey, who will be up at the Reno Rodeo June 21. “So, everybody is always looking forward to Reno. If you can do good at Reno it sets you up, it fuels you to have a successful summer. “

Kimzey, a six-time world champion (2014-2019) currently sits atop the PRCA | RAM World Standings with $91,189.

“Reno always has good crowds, and they bring the energy from the very beginning of each performance,” Kimzey said. “So, we’re definitely excited for that.”

Kimzey won’t be the only former champ returning to the Silver State this week.

Bareback rider Clayton Biglow, who won Reno in 2016 and the world title in 2019, is thrilled to be back in Reno, which is three hours from his home in Clements, Calif.

“Reno has a special place in my heart, I grew up just right over the hill from Reno, I’ve been going there since I was a kid,” he said. “It’s not a hometown rodeo, but it sure does feel like one. I have a ton of friends and family who show up.”


Biglow sits third in the PRCA | RAM World Standings with $52,507, coming off a second-place finish at Riggin Rally Xtreme Broncs bareback riding event in Darby, Mont., June 6.

“I feel great coming into this week, I have a couple of good ones drawn there, so I’m definitely looking forward to it,” Biglow said.

Source: ProRodeo

For more information for Wrangler NFR, please visit www.nfrexperience.com. and ProRodeo.com Check out our latest news at www.wranglernfrlive.com or through social media at /LasVegasNFR and use #WranglerNFR.



Twenty-two-year-old, Coleman, Texas, cowboy Walt Arnold found himself in a groove over the weekend at the Gladewater (Texas) Round-Up Rodeo.
He clocked a 3.3-second run to earn the steer wrestling title, which also moved him into a tie for second for the fastest steer wrestling time in 2021. Denell Henderson also posted a 3.3 over the week, doing it at the Parker County Sheriff’s Posse Frontier Days and PRCA Rodeo June 8.
“I tell you what, I was pretty pumped after it, “Arnold said. “It looked like it could be pretty fast, I caught up to him in a really good spot to get the job done.”

RELATED: 2021 Leaderboard 
He took home $2,591 for the win, bumping him up to 32nd in the PRCA | RAM World Standings. The win moves his yearly total to $10,857. He hopes this run can jumpstart his season as he works towards qualifying for his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. 
“I’ve started riding Hunter Cure’s horses a little bit here before we leave for the summer, and it’s kind of nice to have a run like that,”Arnold said. “It definitely built my confidence and kind of got me fired up a little bit. We’re about to have a heck of a couple weeks, so it’s nice to get the ball rolling before we head out.”
He still has some work to do though to reach that Top 15. Riley Duvall is sitting in 15th with $17,619.
Below, are the other top times and rides for the week.

  • Seth Hardwick posted the highest bareback ride of the week, recording a 90-point ride on Macza Pro Rodeo’s Ols Tubs Stevie Knicks in Weatherford, Texas, June 11.


  • The team roping duo of Cash Duty and Boogie Ray wrapped up the Johnson County Sheriff’s Posse Rodeo in Cleburne, Texas, with a run of 3.9 June 9. But not to be outdone, Britt and Jake Smith recorded the exact time later that day.


  • Shorty Garrett put together another impressive performance last week. He won the Fallon County Xtreme Broncs in Baker, Mont., with a 90.5-point ride on Outlawbuckers Rodeo’s Magic Carpet June 10.


  • Shad Mayfield had the top tie-down roping time on the week, finishing with a time of 7.5 seconds  in Gladewater June 11.


  • Carlee Otero posted the best barrel racing time of the week, finishing with a time of 14.88 seconds to claim the Johnson County Sheriff’s Posse Rodeo title on June 10.


  • Martha Angelone continues to shine in the lady’s breakaway roping. Last week, she had a 1.9-second run to win the Cleburne Breakaway Roping.


  • J.B. Mauney scored a 90.5-point ride on United Pro Rodeo’s The Duke at the Parker County Sheriff’s Posse Frontier Days Xtreme Bulls event June 8. That was tied for the top score of the week when Sage Kimzey posted a 90.5-point ride a day later at the Gladewater Round-Up Xtreme Bulls.


  • Garrett Hale showed why he’s one of the top steer ropers in the world last week. The Texas native posted a time of 8.9 to win the Parker County Sheriff’s Posse Frontier Days and PRCA Rodeo on June 10.

Source: ProRodeo

For more information for Wrangler NFR, please visit www.nfrexperience.com. and ProRodeo.com Check out our latest news at www.wranglernfrlive.com or through social media at /LasVegasNFR and use #WranglerNFR.

World Champion Bull Rider Shane Proctor sidelined with injury

World Champion Bull Rider Shane

Shane Proctor’s charge to his sixth Wrangler National Finals Rodeo bid is on hold.

Proctor, the 2011 PRCA world champion bull rider, is sidelined after suffering a broken right fibula and damage to his right ankle after his 85.5-point ride on Andrews Rodeo’s Rapid Fire at the 101 Wild West Rodeo in Ponca City, Okla., June 11.

“I got off and then my right foot stuck in the ground, and my body kind of twisted with the momentum of the bull and it brought my body over the top of my leg” said Proctor, 36. “It was just a freak deal. (Injuries) are part of the game. This isn’t checkers.”

Proctor said he’s scheduled for surgery June 15 in Dallas.

“I’m hoping to only be out for six weeks,” Proctor said. “This is going to be my sixth surgery, but this is the first time I’ve ever broken my leg. I will have an outside shot to get to the NFR no matter what.”

Proctor, who qualified for the NFR in 2011-13 and 2015-16, is 19th in the PRCA | RAM World Standings with $24,763.

“I had a bad last month, but I had it figured back out and rode four of my last five bulls,” Proctor said. “I love what I do.”

Proctor did find a silver lining in his setback.

“I will get to spend more time with my family (wife, Haley, who is a PRCA specialty act performer, and daughter, Coulee, 6 months),” Proctor said. “Haley stays busy, and I get to be a part of it all.”

Source: ProRodeo

For more information for Wrangler NFR, please visit www.nfrexperience.com. and ProRodeo.com Check out our latest news at www.wranglernfrlive.com or through social media at /LasVegasNFR and use #WranglerNFR.

Ageless wonder Will Lowe wins bareback riding in Woodward

Ageless wonder Will Lowe bareback riding

Not many professional athletes can say they stayed at the top of their game for two decades. Bodies wear out and younger talent comes along to displace champions.

But Will Lowe has managed this rare feat in ProRodeo of all sports, thanks to his passion for riding bucking horses and living life to the fullest.

“It’s a challenge . . . you’ve got to test yourself,” Lowe said. “You might as well live while you’re here. Sometimes it gets hard to want to get into the fight, but I’m infected, I love doing it.”

The three-time PRCA world champion bareback rider (2003, 2005-06) continues to prove he’s one of the all-time greats by winning ProRodeos like the Woodward (Okla.) Elks Rodeo on June 12.

Lowe’s 87.5-point ride aboard Beutler & Sons Rodeo’s Table Top was three points better than his nearest competition and earned him $2,735.

It was the biggest of a string of checks on the second weekend of June for the Texas cowboy who has been to 15 Wrangler National Finals Rodeos, most recently in 2018.

“It went good, we started there at Woodward and got on a good, young horse of Beutler’s,” Lowe said. “That horse is five years old but with so many rodeos canceled last year, those young ones didn’t get to go to many rodeos.”

“He was snappy and really electric.”

Lowe picked up a check in Cleburne as well and is closing in on the top 15 and another possible NFR at 38.

“Dang sure want to get to the NFR, that’s in the sights,” Lowe said. “We’re sitting good heading into the summer.”

Lowe’s career earnings are pushing $3 million, a remarkable feat for anyone but particularly for someone whose specialty is the physically demanding event of bareback riding.

The danger of the sport was highlighted for Lowe in a spectacular buck-off back in April on another Beutler horse, the renowned Killer Bee, in San Angelo where he was kicked in mid-air but amazingly returned to the bucking chutes to watch the rest of the rodeo.

“You always know something can happen, it’s a dangerous sport,” Lowe said. “I’ve been fortunate. Some guys have had a lot worse things happen to them and have had to give it up. I’ve gotten to keep going.

“You just push it out of your mind. For me, knowing the good Lord takes care of me and even if something goes really bad, knowing you’re going to the right place, that’s how you do it.”

Since his rookie season in 2002, Lowe has witnessed the explosion of talent in his signature event.

“We don’t have a lot of numbers, but the quality is outstanding,” he said.

The growth of prize money available to rodeo athletes also is something Lowe appreciates.

“The committees have stepped up and the money they’re offering makes a big difference in cowboys’ lives,” Lowe said.

Lowe will push for another NFR this summer, with his sons Garret (12) and Levi (9) in tow over the busy Fourth of July.

“I’m entering the ones I want to go to,” he joked.

“I’ll have my boys, so we’ll camp and fish and rodeo. It’ll be a fun time.”

Other winners at the rodeo were steer wrestler Dakota Eldridge (3.4 seconds); team ropers Dustin Egusquiza/Travis Graves (4.7 seconds); saddle bronc rider Kirk Thomson (86 points on Beutler & Son Rodeo’s No Show Jones); tie-down roper Shane Hanchey (8.4 seconds); barrel racer (Kylee Scribner 17.01 seconds); steer roper Corey Ross (43.6 seconds on three head) and bull rider (Maverick Potter 86.5 points on Beutler & Son Rodeo’s Fake Friend).

Source: ProRodeo

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