Three members of the famous Wright family put on a saddle bronc riding clinic at the Calgary Stampede.
Of the four competitors who reached the July 14 Sunday afternoon final round, three were Wrights.
When the dust settled, Rusty Wright, a three-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier, clinched the title with a lofty score of 92. His brother, Ryder Wright, the 2017 Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world champion, tied for second with an 87. His uncle, Spencer Wright, the 2014 world champion, finished fourth with an 86.5.
Rusty Wright, who is from Milford, Utah, turned in the 92 aboard Get Smart, a former Wrangler National Finals Rodeo bronc that’s owned by the Canada-based Northcott Macza stock contracting company.
“I was really nervous when I drew Get Smart,” he said. “I’d seen him buck lots of guys off and some guys have trouble with him. But I knew at the same time he was a good one to have. He really bucks and you can be some points on him. I didn’t let my nerves get to me. I thought I rode the horse pretty good. There were a couple of things I could have done better, but for the most part I was pleased.”
Rusty Wright and each of the other single event champions at the Calgary rodeo each received $100,000 (Canadian). Caleb Smidt, the 2015 and 2018 PRCA world champion from Bellville, clinched the tie-down roping title. The other champions at the renowned rodeo in Calgary, Alberta, were bareback rider Tanner Aus, steer wrestler Kyle Irwin, barrel racer Lisa Lockhart and bull rider Sage Kimzey.
The Sunday July 14 performance began with 10 competitors in each event who competed in a semifinal round. The top four advanced to the final round where in each event winner received $100,000.
Tuf Cooper, who has homes in Weatherford and Decatur, advanced to the July 14 semifinal round. But he was eliminated during the semifinal when he turned in a no-time.
Brazile roping tough
Trevor Brazile, a 24-time PRCA world champion from Decatur, clinched the steer roping title at the July 10-13 Sheridan WYO Rodeo in Sheridan, Wyo., and earned $5,215. Brazile, a former Vernon College star, is ranked No. 1 in the PRCA’s 2019 steer roping world title race with $47,012 (in the standings released on July 15). Vin Fisher, a former Texas Tech competitor who is from Andrews, is ranked No. 2 with $44,787. Tuf Cooper is ranked No. 3 with $33,447. Brazile entered into semiretirement after competing in the December NFR in Las Vegas.
Cowboy Christmas winners
Bronc and bull rider Stetson Wright of Milford, Utah, pocketed $35,757 during Cowboy Christmas, which the highest amount of earnings among all PRCA competitors during the traditional, fast-paced July 4 run, according to ProRodeo Sports News. Cowboy Christmas is the time of the regular season when there are an abundance of higher-paying rodeos either near or on July 4. According to the PRCA, Wright’s biggest hit during the 2019 Cowboy Christmas run was $16,806 in total earnings at the St. Paul Rodeo in St. Paul, Oregon, where he finished second in bull riding and runner-up in the saddle bronc riding title race.
Wright is ranked No. 1 in the world all-around title race with $121,755 (in the July 15 standings). Caleb Smidt is ranked No. 2 with $110,863. Tuf Cooper, the 2017 world all-around champion, is ranked No. 4 with $84,068.
Wright also was applauded for finishing as the biggest money winner among roughstock riders during Cowboy Christmas with $35,757. Reese Riemer of Stinnett was the biggest winner among timed event competitors. He earned $27,019 from June 30 through July 9. Riemer’s biggest hit was $13,208 in earnings at the Ponoka Stampede in Ponoka, Alberta.
Weekly rodeo update
Former National Finals qualifier Evan Jayne clinched the bareback riding title last weekend at two PRCA rodeos that are running each Friday and Saturday night this month in the DFW Metroplex. Jayne, a native of France, finished No. 1 in the bareback riding at the July 12-13 Mesquite Championship Rodeo in Mesquite after turning in an 84 aboard a bronc named Scar, which is owned by New Star Pro Rodeo. Jayne also clinched the title at the July 12-13 Stockyards Championship Rodeo in Fort Worth with a 75 on a bronc named Black Bunny, which is owned by Stockyards ProRodeo.
Gary Ray passes
Gary Ray, 67, a former Paducah (Texas) area resident who was a pro cutting horse trainer from Throckmorton, passed away on July 11. Ray and the horses he trained and rode qualified for some the National Cutting Horse Association’s larger aged events such as the NCHA Futurity in Fort Worth. When Ray attended Paducah High School in the late 1960s, he was nicknamed “Cowboy Ray.” He was a star on Paducah’s boy’s basketball team that played in the post-season. His funeral was Monday, July 15, at the First Baptist Church in Throckmorton. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations in Gary Ray’s name to Horseman for Christ: PO Box 728, Archer City, Texas, 76351. Online condolences can be shared with the family at www.smithfamilyfh.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.