The week of July 4 traditionally is called “Cowboy Christmas” because of the abundance of lucrative pro rodeos that are conducted across North America.
The past week also was a Cowboy Christmas. The biggest show was RFD-TV’s The American on Sunday at Arlington’s AT&T Stadium, which offered competitors $2 million, a record payoff for a single-performance rodeo. And there was the Professional Bull Riders Iron Cowboy VI on Saturday, also at AT&T Stadium, which offered a $250,000 purse, up $100,000 from last year.
On the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association circuit, there was the San Antonio Stock Show Rodeo, the San Angelo Stock Show Rodeo and the Tucson Rodeo.
The biggest news of the weekend was bareback rider Taylor Price of Huntsville and Reese Riemer of Stinnett each pocketing $600,000 after winning their events at The American.
Steer wrestler K.C. Jones and bull rider Silvano Alves, both from Decatur, each earned $100,000 checks after winning titles at The American.
Another big story was Joao Ricardo Vieira, a Brazilian who lives in Decatur, earning $194,833 after finishing No. 1 at the Iron Cowboy, defending his title in the event from last year.
At the San Antonio Stock Show Rodeo’s Xtreme Bulls show on Saturday, Tanner Learmont of Cleburne clinched the title and earned $20,022, and at the same rodeo’s PRCA performance on Saturday night, Travis Woodard of Stephenville and his partner, Kaleb Driggers, clinched the team roping title to earn each cowboy $21,034.
The San Antonio Stock Show’s 2015 PRCA rodeo offered competitors $1,480,500. It probably will finish as the PRCA’s highest-paying regular season show that helps riders qualify for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in December in Las Vegas.
At the San Angelo Stock Show Rodeo, six-time National Finals qualifier Wade Sundell clinched the saddle bronc riding title after turning in an arena record score of 91 during the final round on Friday aboard a bronc named Manhattan Moon, which is owned by Pete Carr of Dallas. Two days later, Sundell clinched his second consecutive saddle bronc riding title at The American after turning in a final-round score of 90.75.
Trevor Brazile of Decatur clinched the all-around title at the PRCA’s Wrangler Champions Challenge on Thursday in Scottsdale before winning the all-around crown at The American.
And at the La Fiesta De Los Vaqueros Rodeo on Sunday in Tucson, former National Finals qualifier Clint Robinson clinched the all-around title.
Out of retirement
Cody Custer, the 1992 bull riding world champion who was among 20 cowboys who helped found the PBR, is among eight credentialed cowboys who will come out of retirement and ride in a competition called “Ring of Honor — Unfinished Business” on May 30 in Decatur.
The competition will be held in conjunction with the J.W. Hart Challenge, a PBR tour stop that traditionally features the sport’s elite.
Each cowboy is a member of the PBR’s Ring of Honor, the association’s equivalent of a hall of fame.
The other competitors are Mike White, Tater Porter, Ross Coleman, Michael Gaffney, Justin McBride, Chris Shivers and J.W. Hart.