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Bright Takes Bareback Riding Lead in Claremore

by Jim Bainbridge | May 23, 2014
CLAREMORE, Okla. – Last May, the pain in Matt Bright’s right elbow was intense. In fact, the Texas bareback rider did not feel up to competing at the annual Will Rogers Stampede.

Things have changed over the last 12 months.

“This rodeo has been good to me my whole career,” said Bright, a three-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier from Stafford, Texas. “The first year I came here was the only time I didn’t win a check here.”

Bright is well on his way to another Oklahoma paycheck after riding Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Powerade for 80 points to lead the rodeo at the Will Rogers Round-Up Club Arena. He’s ranked 32nd in the world standings and moving up, which is a big change from a season ago.

You see, Bright missed a big part of the 2013 season because of his injured elbow, which required surgery last summer.

“It took a few months to knock all the rust off and get in some kind of good shape,” he said, noting the rugged nature of bareback riding is just tough on a cowboy’s body. “The last few weeks, I feel like I’ve stepped it back up to the level I was before I got hurt.

“I feel like I’ve been riding about as good as I did when I left off. I’m going to try to go to the same rodeos I did before. Hopefully I can make up some ground that I missed at the beginning of the year. My goal is to make it back to the finals and have a shot at the world title. I’m just barely out of the top 30 right now, so it shouldn’t take too much for me to get back in there where I need to be.”

Only the top 15 contestants in each event at the conclusion of the regular season qualify for the NFR, ProRodeo’s grand championship that takes place each December in Las Vegas. Injuries kept the cowboy away from Sin City last year, but he’s hoping it’s just a small hiccup in his career.

Of course, he needs good dance partners when the time comes, which is what he got from Powerade.

“I had that horse at Big Spring (Texas) a couple years ago, and I placed good on him there,” Bright said. “He’s a really nice horse, and he let me show off a little bit. I just tried to get as many points out of him as I could.”

Courtesy of PRCA