Zach Hibler, a former College National Finals Rodeo qualifier from Wheeler, tied for first place in the bareback riding title race at the 2019 Snake River Stampede in Nampa, Idaho.

During the final round on Saturday night, Hibler turned in a solid score of 84.5 and finished the July 16-20 rodeo in the Boise, Idaho, area with a two-ride tally of 172.

Hibler, who also won the first round with an 87.5 on Cervi Championship Rodeo’s Vitalix Dream Machine, earned $10,016 throughout the renowned Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association show.

Hibler, 22, said his victory in Nampa was encouraging. 

“It’s the biggest I’ve had in my career,” he said. “I’m going to build on that for the rest of the year. I’m going to try to capitalize on it and make the big show [the December Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas].” 

Hibler tied for first in the average/aggregate race with three-time National Finals qualifier Tanner Aus who also finished with a 172 on after making a first round and a final round ride. Aus turned in a Nampa rodeo record bareback riding score of 91 points on Flying U Rodeo’s Lil Red Hawk. Aus’ 91 broke the previous record of 90, which was in 1982 by former world champion Bruce Ford, according to prorodeo.com.

In steer wrestling, two-time world champion Hunter Cure of Holliday finished No. 1 in the title race with a three-run time of 12.0. Two-time world champion Caleb Smidt of Bellville clinched the tie-down roping title with a three-run time of 25.0. Four-time world champion Tuf Cooper, who has homes in Weatherford and Decatur, finished third in the tie-down roping second round with a 7.6 and earned $2,663. 

According to the PRCA, the other Nampa rodeo champions were team ropers Nelson Wyatt and Levi Lord (15.1 seconds on three head); barrel racer Terri Wood Gates (31.86 seconds on two head); bull rider Foster McCraw (178 points on two head) and saddle bronc rider Colt Gordon (174 points on two head). Gordon’s 174 tied the Nampa saddle bronc riding record two-ride aggregate score.

The 2019 Nampa rodeo offered competitors $410,502, a record purse at the traditional Idaho rodeo.

 

Texas Tech alums

Four former Texas Tech competitors have filled their saddle bags with prize money during this busy month on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association circuit.

They are steer wrestler Hunter Cure, tie-down roper Adam Gray, team roper Wesley Thorp and steer roper Vin Fisher Jr.

Cure, 35, who snared PRCA steer wrestling world titles in 2013 and 2015, clinched the steer wrestling title at the July 16-20 Snake River Stampede in Nampa, Idaho, and earned $8,727. When the title was at stake in the Saturday night final round, Cure, a four-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier, turned in a time of 3.8 seconds, which helped him clinch the average title with a three-run aggregate time of 12.0. 

Cure was ranked second in the PRCA’s 2019 steer wrestling world title race with $80,095 in the PRCA world standings released on Monday, July 22. 

Cure was a star competitor at Texas Tech. In 2004, he clinched the 2004 National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association steer wrestling title at the College National Finals in Casper, Wyoming, while competing for the Red Raiders. 

Gray, 35, a four-time National Finals qualifier from Seymour, earned $3,211 for finishing second in the tie-down roping at the July 18-21 California Rodeo Salinas, in Salinas, Calif. Gray also pocketed $11,472 as the result of winning the July 10-13 Pikes Peak of Bust Rodeo in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Gray was ranked 10th in the PRCA’s 2019 tie-down roping world title race with $60,298 in the July 22 standings. If he finishes in the top 15 in the standings when the regular season concludes on Sept. 30, he will advance to the Dec. 5-14 National Finals in Las Vegas. Gray qualified for the NFR in 2009, 2011-12 and 2014.

Thorp, 23, who is from Throckmorton and has qualified for the National Finals the past three years, tied for first in the team roping heeling title race at the July 3-6 Oakley Stampede in Oakley City, Utah. Thorp and his partner, former WNFR qualifier Cody Snow, each earned $3,176. Snow and Thorp also pocketed $1,728 for a third place finish in the fourth round at the Salinas rodeo. Thorp was ranked No. 9 in the PRCA’s 2019 team roping heeling world title race with $53,919 in the July 22 standings.

In 2017, Thorp clinched the team roping heeling title at the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyoming, with help from his partner Cole Wheeler. He and Wheeler competed for Texas Tech at the 2017 CNFR. 

Fisher, 38, a 15-time National Finals Steer Roping qualifier from Andrews, earned $3,176 as the result of clinching the steer roping title at the July 1-7 World’s Oldest Rodeo in Prescott, Ariz. He was ranked No. 2 in the 2019 steer roping world title race with $44,787 in the July 22 standings. Roping superstar Trevor Brazile, who lives in Decatur, was ranked No. 1 with $48,055 in the July 22 standings. 

 

Stetson Wright thriving

Stetson Wright, a PRCA rookie from Milford, Utah, clinched the bull riding title at the July 18-21 California Rodeo Salinas in Salinas, Calif., and earned $5,395. Wright clinched the title with a two-ride aggregate score of 172.5. He also won the final (short) round with an 89 aboard Bridwell Pro Rodeos’ 100x Helmet Boothill on his way to winning the average/aggregate title.

According to prorodeo.com, the other winners at the $453,680 Salinas rodeo were all-around cowboy C.J. DeForest Jr., ($7,025, tie-down and team roping); bareback rider Clint Laye (174 points on two head); team ropers Brooks Dahozy and Walt Woodard (50.3 on five head); saddle bronc rider Ryder Wright (168.5 points on two head); tie-down roper John Douch (35.7 on three head); barrel racer Shelley Morgan (64.76 seconds on four runs); and steer wrestler Josh Clark (21.5 seconds on three head). 

Stetson Wright was ranked No. 1 in the PRCA’s 2019 world all-around race with $128,413 in the world standings that were released on July 22. Tuf Cooper, the 2017 world all-around champion, was ranked No. 4 with $86,710. 

 

Lane Frost remembered

The 30th anniversary of the death of 1987 PRCA bull riding world champion Lane Frost is July 30. Frost was killed on July 30, 1989, by a bull that he had ridden for prize money during the final round of the 1989 Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo in Wyoming. Frost was living in Quanah when he died in Cheyenne at age 25. The movie “8 Seconds” is about Frost’s illustrious career. The late Luke Perry played Frost in the 1994 film. Kellie Macy, who grew up in Quanah, was Frost’s wife at the time of his death. She currently is from Post and she is married to two-time National Finals team roping competitor Mike Macy of Post. Their son, Aaron Macy, is a prize winning PRCA team roper. 

 

Brett Hoffman, a Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame member, has reported on rodeos and horse shows for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for more than three decades. Email him at bchoffman777@earthlink.net.