TUCSON, Ariz. – Less has meant more for bareback rider Caleb Bennett during the winter rodeo season.
Bennett has only competed in five rodeos, but the reduced schedule paid off, thanks to his big win at the La Fiesta de los Vaqueros (Feb. 21-22, 26-March 1) in Tucson, Ariz.
Bennett swept the rodeo – first round, second round and average – to collect a $9,738 check at the Tucson Rodeo Grounds.
“This is a comforting feeling,” Bennett said after he capped his stellar Tucson performance March 1. “This is probably the least amount of rodeos I’ve gone to by this time of year and probably the most amount money I’ve ever won. It is nice that I have a little bit of money toward the standings.”
Bennett was 36th in the Feb. 23 Windham Weaponry High Performance PRCA World Standings with $2,733 and obviously will rocket up near the top 10 after Tucson and a run to the finals at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo that brought him checks totaling $10,508.
Bennett won the average at Tucson with 171 points on two rides.
The Tremonton, Utah cowboy was tops in the first round with an 85-point ride on Beutler & Son Rodeo’s High Motion and he followed that up with an 86-point ride on Beutler & Son Rodeo’s Choctaw Ridge.
“Tucson is a rodeo I’ve always wanted to win, especially after last year when I went head-to-head with (World Champion) Kaycee Feild and took second to him,” said Bennett, 26. “I’m really tickled to come back here and win it this year. I had never been on either one of those horses and I didn’t really know either one of them. I was going by the spur of the moment and feel of the motion.”
Bennett has qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo each of the last three years, but he acknowledged he wouldn’t be competing at all right now without the help of the on-location Justin SportsMedicine Team.
“I’m battling a broken (right) thumb and a strained rotator cuff on my free (left) arm,” Bennett said. “I hurt my thumb at Fort Worth (Texas) at the end of January, and I injured my rotator cuff at the Finals (in December). I wanted to enter a few of these bigger rodeos in the winter and hopefully do well at them and let my body heal before the busy part of the season gets going. That’s why I’ve been seeing the Justin SportsMedicine Team every chance I get and I’ve been entering rodeos that have the JustinSports Medicine guys there so they can keep me going. Without them, I wouldn’t even be able to ride. I would be sitting at home not making money.”
According to Bennett, Rick Foster, program director for the Justin SportsMedicine Team, designed a modified cast for his thumb.
“I have a plastic cast-type deal that Rick and the Justin SportsMedicine Team shaped and molded to my thumb,” Bennett said. “It’s molded as if I was in my riding position and it helps a lot. It has made it a lot easier to be able to squeeze stuff. It’s still pretty tender, but they (Justin SportsMedicine Team) take care of me and make it work.”
Other winners at the $306,843 rodeo were all-around cowboy Clint Robinson, ($9,271, tie-down roping and team roping), steer wrestler Cody Cabral (19.5 seconds on three head), team ropers Bubba Buckaloo and Russell Cardoza (20.7 seconds on three head), saddle bronc rider Zeke Thurston (168 points on two head), tie-down roper Seth Hopper (33.4 seconds on three head), barrel racer Danna Whitford (52.37 seconds on three runs), and bull rider Beau Hill (171 points on two head).
Courtesy of PRCA