Joe Frost, a cousin of the legendary late world champion bull rider Lane Frost, clinched the title at the 25th Tuff Hedeman Championship Challenge at Cowtown Coliseum in the Stockyards.
When the title was at stake in the four-man final round during the Saturday night performance, Frost, a Utah cowboy, turned in a lofty score of 91 aboard a bull named Cowbanger, which is owned by Championship Pro Rodeo Co.
Frost, a three-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, earned the $9,125 prize.
“It felt great to win this because I had been home for two weeks and my riding had not been going well before that,” Frost said. “So, I’ve been prepared for this one and it was great to come and do what I had been planning on doing.”
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Frost had faced Cowbanger at the 2016 National Finals in Las Vegas. He finished third in the second round after turning in an 87.
At the Hedeman event, Cowbanger first spun to the right, but then reversed and spun to the left at the end of the eight seconds ride.
“He was way harder to ride today [at the Hedeman event] than the first time I rode him [at the NFR],” Frost said. “You have to keep hustling on him because he’s really fast. For a little bull, he’s got a lot of power.”
Frost is a second cousin to Lane Frost who won the PRCA world bull riding title in 1987 and was killed at the Cheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming in 1989 by a bull he had ridden in the finals for prize money. Joe Frost said he’s watched many Lane Frost rides.
“I do things a little bit different,” Joe Frost said. “But I do watch a lot of videos of him. He had a really good riding style and rode a lot of bulls, and that’s why I’ve wanted to emulate a lot of stuff that he did.”
At the Hedeman event, three of the four riders who qualified for the final round stayed on for the eight-seconds count. The other two were second-place finisher Eli Vastbinder, who turned in a 90.5, and Caleb Sanderson, who received an 89.
The Hedeman event is a Championship Bull Riding tour stop. The show helps riders qualify for the CBR’s finals in July in Cheyenne, Wyo.
In its early years, the Hedeman event was a Professional Bull Riders show. Hedeman’s traveling partner, Cody Lambert, won the first edition in 1993 at Cowtown Coliseum in the Fort Worth Stockyards. Over the years, the Hedeman has been won by legendary cowboys such as two-time PRCA world champion Jim Sharp and two-time world champion J.B. Mauney. Hedeman, a four-time world champion, shared the title in 1998.
The Hedemen event was one of the PBR’s early success stories in terms of bull riding becoming a stand-alone pro sport that drew a crowd in a sizable city. Hedeman was among 20 cowboys who founded the PBR in the early 1990s and he played a huge role in helping the PBR become the world’s biggest circuit for rodeo’s most dangerous event. Hedeman was the PBR’s president in its early years. In recent years, Hedeman has led the CBR.
“I never got tired of riding,” said Hedeman, 54, who won PRCA world bull riding titles in 1986, 1989 and 1991 and snared a PBR gold buckle in 1995. “I rode for 15 years, and I think more people break down mentally rather than physically. But I never got tired of it and I never get tired of this [working in administration]. I like producing events.”
Cutting horse update
At the National Cutting Horse Association Super Stakes this weekend, veteran Ronnie Rice had to rally in the second round in order to earn an aggregate score high enough to earn a trip to the open division semifinal.
Rice, a former NCHA Futurity champion rider, turned in a so-so score of 214 in the first round aboard SB Fuzzie Cat. He entered a second-round performance knowing if they turned in an identical score, they would fail to advance to the semifinal.
Saturday at Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum, however, the duo turned in an impressive 222. Their two-ride aggregate score of 436 should easily advance to the semifinal.
The second round concludes Sunday. The semifinal is Friday. The final, which is the second jewel of the sport’s Triple Crown Series, follows on Saturday.
When Rice and SB Fuzzie Cat competed Saturday, they were 10th to work in the second bunch of cattle. That’s usually not a good draw because the good cattle usually have been worked. But Rice found exceptional cattle.
“We drew really deep, but we had good cows,” Rice said.
Cooper roping tough
Tuf Cooper has become a serious contender for pro rodeo’s most prestigious title, the world all-around buckle.
In past years, he’s qualified for the PRCA’s National Finals only in tie-down roping. He’s a three-time world champion tie-down roper.
But this year, Cooper, who lives in Weatherford, is on pace to earn a National Finals berth in both tie-down roping and steer roping events.
Cooper lassoed the all-around title at the April 1 Walker County Fair Rodeo in Huntsville. Cooper pocketed $2,574 as the result of finishing fourth in tie-down roping and placing in a couple of rounds of steer roping.
After all that, Cooper was ranked No. 1 in last week’s PRCA world all-around standings with $55,636 in 2017 regular season earnings. Caleb Smidt was No. 2 with $50,328.
Cooper also was ranked No. 5 in the PRCA’s tie-down roping world title race with $37,124. He’s also ranked fifth in the PRCA’s steer roping world standings with $21,070.