Stephenville has a long and storied history of attracting world-class rodeo cowboys.
It’s the home of seven-time world all-around champion Ty Murray. It’s also the home of 2011 world team roping champion Turtle Powell and numerous National Finals Rodeo qualifiers.
A year ago, four-time world bareback riding champion Bobby Mote moved to Stephenville from his native Oregon. Mote also is an avid team roper, and the Stephenville area has become a hotbed for the event. Another reason for moving was so his children could attend school in Huckabay, which means Mote can stay close to his family while working high-profile rodeos like the Fort Worth Stock Show.
Competing at the Fort Worth rodeo Saturday afternoon, Mote turned in an impressive bareback riding score of 81 during a sold-out performance at Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum.
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Mote also turned in a 76 during the morning performance and an 80 in the evening show.
After all that, he is tied for second in the bareback riding title race with a three-ride score of 237, which should be high enough to advance to the Feb. 12 finals.
Mote is a native of Portland, Ore. He lived in Redmond, Ore., when he won a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association bareback riding title in 2002, and lived in Culver, Ore., when he won gold buckles in 2007, 2009 and 2010.
With four world bareback championships, Mote is one shy of the world record of five, which is shared by Joe Alexander and Bruce Ford.
However, winning No. 5 at present will be a big challenge. The bareback riding title race has been dominated by Kaycee Feild for the past three years. And another perennial contender, three-time world champion Will Lowe of Canyon, finished second in last year’s world title race.
“The good thing about those guys doing so good is it pushes me to keep improving,” Mote said.
At last month’s Wrangler National Finals in Las Vegas, Mote entered ranked No. 1 in bareback riding and Feild was No. 2. During the 10-day rodeo, Mote earned $36,608 and dropped to fourth in the world rankings after finishing the year with $162,795. Feild earned $119,090 at the NFR and finished 2013 with $239,465.
“I was healthy and I started out not drawing very good [mounts],” Mote said of competing at the NFR. “Honestly, I didn’t draw good throughout the whole rodeo, but I feel like I could have ridden better, too. I kind of got caught up in my drawing deal, and lost focus a little bit on my job.”
Defending world all-around champion Trevor Brazile of Decatur led the tie-down roping field during the Fort Worth rodeo’s Saturday afternoon show with a time of 8.6 seconds.
In team roping, Brazile roped with his new partner, Travis Graves. A week ago, they won the National Western Stock Show Rodeo in Denver. Saturday in Fort Worth, the duo turned in penalty-marked times of 11.6 and 19.6 in the morning and afternoon shows.
“You always want to do good at Fort Worth because a lot of hometown people come and watch,” Brazile said. “But, like always, your hometown rodeo is the hardest to win.”