While his other family members were winning big bucks at last month’s Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Rusty Wright had to sit back and watch.
He watched his 19-year-old brother, Ryder, clinch the world title. He also watched his uncles CoBurn Bradshaw, Jake Wright and Jesse Wright bust bronc after bronc throughout the 10-day rodeo.
Wright missed qualifying for the NFR after sitting out a good part of the season while nursing a broken arm (his right free arm). The injury occurred on July 28 inside the bucking chutes at a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association show in Rock Springs, Wyo. The bronc reared, which caused Wright’s arm to hit the chutes, causing a bad break.
Wright, from Milford, Utah, returned to the circuit in November and began working on his attempt to earn a third National Finals berth. During the past weekend at the Fort Worth Stock Show Rodeo in Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum, Wright made a couple of attention-grabbing rides that could make a difference.
In the Saturday night performance, Wright turned in a lofty score of 87 aboard a bronc named Tiger Lily, which is owned by the Frontier Rodeo Co. In the Sunday matinee show, he spurred for a solid score of 81 aboard a bucking horse named Tickled Pink, which is owned by the J Bar J Rodeo Co.
After all that, Wright, 22, is ranked No. 2 in the Fort Worth Stock Show’s saddle bronc riding title race with a two-ride tally of 168. Brody Cress, a Tarleton State student who last year finished second in the saddle bronc riding world title race, is ranked No. 1 with 170.5.
With an impressive two-ride score of 168, Wright is expected to advance to the Stock Show Rodeo’s final round, which is scheduled for Saturday.
When he rode his second round bronc on Sunday afternoon, Wright said he was well aware a final round berth was at stake, which caused him to aggressively spur throughout the bone-jarring 8-second ride.
“I knew I wasn’t going to win anything just hanging on, so, I figured I needed to go for either money or mud,” Wright said. “You need to get in the short [final] round to make money. So, I nodded my head and then let it all hang out.”
A look at other title races:
▪ Barrel racing: Two-time National Finals qualifier Amberleigh Moore is ranked No. 1 in the first round with a 16.35. Kylie Weast, who competed in the Sunday night show, is ranked No. 2 with a 16.39.
▪ Tie-down roping: Eight-time National Finals qualifier Scott Kormos leads the title race with a two-run time of 16.7. Decatur cowboy Clif Cooper, another former NFR qualifier, is in second place with an 18.1.
▪ Steer wrestling: Defending world champion Tyler Pearson is ranked No. 1 with an 8.5 on two runs. Tanner Bruner is second with a 9.0.
▪ Bareback riding: Mason Clements, a 2017 National Finals qualifier, is ranked No. 1 with a three-ride score of 254. Three-time NFR qualifier Ty Breuer is ranked second with a 251.5.
▪ Bull riding: Tyler Bingham has the lead with a two-ride score of 166.5. Colby Demo is in second place with a 161.5.
▪ Team roping: Brandon Beers and Daniel Braman IV, Cody Snow and Wesley Thorp, and Tyler Wojciechowski and Ross Ashford are tied for first. Each of the three teams have turned in 10.7s on two runs.