When fans buy a ticket to a small-town Texas pro rodeo in the spring, they often have the privilege of watching big-time riders.
Though the purses are smaller, many of the sport’s elite enter spring rodeos in the Lone Star State because it’s a slower time of the year on the national circuit and the shows are close to home. That was the case last weekend at the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association shows in in Bridgeport and Mineral Wells.
At the Butterfield Stage Days Rodeo in Bridgeport, for example, Richmond Champion, a former Tarleton State star who is from The Woodlands, clinched the bareback riding title after turning in a score of 82 points on a bronc named Sorrel Top, which is owned by Pete Carr of Dallas.
Last year, Champion finished third in the PRCA’s world bareback riding title race after competing at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.
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Will Lowe of Canyon finished second with an 81. Lowe is a three-time world champion who has earned 13 NFR berths.
Isaac Diaz, who lives in Desdemona, tied for third in saddle bronc riding after turning in a 79, and his wife Britany tied for second with a time of 15.77 seconds. Both are former National Finals qualifiers.
At the Mineral Wells Rodeo last weekend, Jacobs Crawley of Stephenville, another former National Finals qualifier, clinched the saddle bronc riding title after turning in an 88 on a bronc named Exposure, which is owned by the Rafter G Rodeo Co.
Crawley’s brother, Sterling, another former NFR qualifier who also lives in Stephenville, finished second with an 81.
Hunter Herrin, an Apache, Okla., cowboy who also has competed at the NFR, clinched the tie-down roping title after turning in a 9.1. Herrin also won the Bridgeport rodeo with a 7.8.
Ryon Roping scheduled
The 42nd Windy Ryon Memorial Roping is scheduled for May 22-24 in Fort Worth.
Marty Yates, a Stephenville cowboy who qualified for his first National Finals Rodeo last year, is scheduled to compete in the May 23 tie-down roping match against Justin Maass, another former NFR qualifier.
During the weekend, Yates tied for third at the Bridgeport PRCA rodeo after turning in an 8.9. For more information, visit windyryon.org.
High school update
The North Texas High School Rodeo Association Finals is Friday through Sunday at Will Rogers Coliseum.
The finale will feature the top 15 in each event from the 2014-15 regular season. For more information, visit nthsra.org or call 817-232-2855.
Some of the Professional Bull Riders’ Ring of Honor members are coming out of retirement to ride in a competition called “Unfinished Business” on May 30 in Decatur. The winner will receive $160,000.
J.W. Hart, Chris Shivers and Michael Gaffney are among the field of competitors. The competition will be held in conjunction with the traditional PBR BlueDEF Velocity Tour show, which features current world-class riders.