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Wright family legacy shines bright at Tuff Hedeman Challenge

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It's time for bull riding at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. Star-Telegram videos by Paul Moseley
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It's time for bull riding at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. Star-Telegram videos by Paul Moseley

In the world of pro rodeo, Utah’s Wright family is famous for busting saddle broncs in dramatic fashion.

A Wright family member has won five of the past 11 world saddle bronc riding titles on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association circuit. Cody Wright finished No. 1 in 2008 and 2010. His younger brothers, Jesse and Spencer, claimed world championships in 2012 and 2014. Cody Wright’s son, Ryder, finished No. 1 in the world race at age 19 in 2017.

But there’s a member of the Wright family who can compete well professionally in bull riding in addition to saddle bronc riding. That’s Stetson Wright, a son of Cody Wright and a brother of Ryder Wright.

During the past weekend, Stetson Wright, 19, clinched the South Point Tuff Hedeman Challenge title at Fort Worth’s Cowtown Coliseum in the Fort Worth Stockyards and earned $12,325.

Wright, who is from Milford, Utah, turned in scores of 86 (on Barker Rodeo’s Stix) in the first round, a 92 (on JQH Bucking Bulls Blame It On Whiskey) in the second round, and a 90.5 (Richardson’s Land and Cattle’s Lil Willard) in the final round.

Wright said his second and final round bulls gave him his biggest challenges.

“That second bull and the last one really tested me on how hard I can try,” he said. “My first bull [Stix], he was just nice, then my second one [Blame It On Whiskey] came in and that one really bucked. That third one [Lil Willard], he started just awesome and he got better as the ride went on. When I heard that buzzer, it was the best sound ever.”

Hedeman said he was very impressed with Wright’s second round ride.

“You’re not going to go anywhere and see anything much better than his second bull [ride],” Hedeman said. “It was just a phenomenal effort.”

The 27th annual Hedeman event on Saturday was produced by four-time gold buckle winner Tuff Hedeman of Morgan Mill. Hedeman won the PRCA’s bull riding championships in 1986, 1989 and 1991. He won the Professional Bull Riders buckle in 1995.

Wright also is thriving as a rookie on the PRCA circuit. He was ranked ninth in the bull riding title race in the April 7 standings. But he also had an impressive win in saddle bronc riding when he clinched the title at the March 16-30 Rodeo Austin in Austin and earned $9,935.

That sends a message that Wright just might become a serious world all-around title contender because he can fare well in both saddle bronc riding and bull riding on the PRCA circuit. He currently is ranked No. 4 in the world all-around standings.

“It’s awesome because I’m off on my own deal—people know me as the one who does two [events] that’s going to try win the all-around in the world,” Wright said. “I’ve done it since junior high and now I’m trying to make my dream a reality.”

Wright said he began riding steers with a bull riding rigging at 10 and then mounted his first steer with saddle bronc riding equipment at 12.

“Ever since then, it’s been something I’ve done every weekend,” he said.

Wright said his other brothers also rode bulls and saddle broncs at youth rodeos.

“Not many people know, they all rode bulls through high school and then they just stopped,” he said. “They didn’t do it in the pros. But I just decided that if I was riding good enough, I’d give it a try and it’s been going really good.”

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