February 8, 2014

Father bests son for Fort Worth saddle bronc title

Fort Worth Stock Show Cody Wright defeats his son Rusty, 18.

Like father, like son.

When the saddle bronc riding title was at stake at the Fort Worth Stock Show Rodeo finals on Saturday night, it was a showdown between two-time world champion Cody Wright, 36, and his 18-year-old son, Rusty.

The younger Wright was the first to ride and he turned in a score of 83 aboard a bronc named War Admiral (owned by the Rafter G Rodeo Co). A few minutes later, the elder Wright, who is from Milford, Utah, posted an 81 aboard a nasty, uneven jumping, bucking horse named Shady Cat (J Bar J) during a sold-out performance at Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum.

But at this renowned Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association show, the title is decided by an aggregate score. When the dust settled, Cody Wright, who entered the finals ranked No. l, finished as the champion with a three-ride tally of 243. Rusty Wright was the runner-up with a 240.

Cody Wright, who earned $11,088 after winning the 16-day, 29-performance rodeo, said it was a special moment.

“It’s just like winning first twice,” Wright said riding against his son. “I couldn’t be prouder of him.”

Rusty Wright said it was one amazing experience.

“I’ve been dreaming about it since I started riding bucking horses,” he said. “It went better than expected.”

The final round featured the top 12 in each event following 28 preliminary performances.

In team roping, Drew Horner of Plano, and his partner, Buddy Hawkins II, a Columbus, Kan., cowboy, clinched the title with a three-run time of 15.9, two-tenths of a second faster than second-place finishers Spencer Mitchell and Russell Cardoza.

Horner, who competed in the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas for the first time last year, said he and Hawkins roped with lots of determination.

“It’s like you’re back in the box and you want to win first so bad,” Horner said. “For me, it’s kind of a hometown rodeo. I’ve always wanted to win this rodeo.”

Shelly Anzick of Livingston, Mont., clinched the barrel racing title after turning in a swift finals time of 16.53. She pocketed $15,126, the highest of all contestants.

Other champions were: Steven Peebles, Redmond, Ore. bareback riding; Chant DeForest, Wheatland, Calif., tie-down roping; Seth Brockman, Wheatland, Wyo., steer wrestling; and Joe Frost, Randlett, Utah, bull riding.

In tie-down roping, DeForest, a former national collegiate champion, finished first in both the final round and the aggregate race. During the final, he paced the field with an 8.4 seconds. He clinched the title with a three-run time of 26.6, four-tenths of a second ahead of former National Finals Rodeo qualifier Adam Gray.

Gray, who lives in Seymour, entered the finals with a commanding lead of eight-tenths of a second. But in the final, he turned in a 9.6 and dropped to second overall.

In bareback riding, Peebles entered the finals with a four-point lead and he protected it with a lofty score of 87 aboard a bronc named Lil Devil, clinching the title with a four-ride score of 328. Peebles, a former NFR qualifier, also won the Fort Worth rodeo in 2011.

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