ESTES PARK, Colo. – Bareback rider Jake Brown has qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo each of the past two seasons.
He credits his success to just one philosophy: Have fun.
“If I take care of business and ride like I know how, I think I have a chance to win the gold buckle,” he said of the trophy awarded to world champions. “Don’t overthink anything. I just need to go out and ride bareback horses, have fun every time and see how the cards fall.”
It’s been a pretty solid formula since 2015. He sits fourth in the world standings with more than $71,000 in earnings so far this season, and he’s looking to add to it at Rooftop Rodeo. He took the bareback riding lead Saturday night after riding Cervi Rodeo’s Rose Puff for 84.5 points.
“She’s been around a long time,” said Brown, 27, of Cleveland, Texas. “I got on that horse in 2010, and I knew she was good. She’s proven herself for 15 years. I expected a good horse, and that’s exactly what she was.”
That’s the kind of rides he needs if he wants to continue to climb the standings ladder. He is about $45,000 behind the bareback riding leader, reigning world champion Tim O’Connell. Having success in Estes Park can go a long way: The winner can expect a payout in excess of $6,000.
“I’d say the biggest difference in my riding the last few years is I’ve gotten a lot more confident,” Brown said. “I’m staying calm and riding the horse they give me, not trying to overdo anything. I just want to relax and have fun every time.”
Two more performances remain at Rooftop Rodeo, so Brown will have to wait until it concludes Monday to see how he finishes. Still, that kind of score should put the Texan in position to cash a big check.
“This is awesome weather,” he said, referring to the cool mountain temperatures in Estes Park. “I like it when you don’t sweat very much, and up here it’s great. They have a great crowd, a great rodeo. It’s hard to beat this.”
He’s certainly going to try while competing in the most physically demanding event in rodeo.
“I guess I’ll keep doing it until I’m not winning anymore,” Brown said with a laugh. “The main thing is I love it. If I’m having fun, I just want to keep doing it. Right now, I’m having a blast.”
Estes Park, Colo.
July 5-10, 2017
Leaders through third performance
Bareback riding: 1. Jake Brown, 84.5 points on Cervi Championship Rodeo’s Rose Puff; 2. Steven Dent, 873; 3. (tie) Buck Lunak and Orin Larsen, 81.5; 5. (tie) Dantan Bertsch, Seth Hardwick and Zach Hibler, 81.
Steer wrestling: First round: 1. Billy Bugenig, 3.8 seconds, $1,573; 2. Cody Doescher, 3.9, $1,302; 3. Wade Sumpter, 4.0, $1,031; 4. Blaine Jones, 4.1, $760; 5. (tie) Justice Johnson and Errol Frain, 4.4, $380 each. Second round leaders: 1. Blaine Jones, 3.5 seconds; 2. Blare Romsa, 3.7; 3. Cody Cabral, 3.9; 4. (tie) Cody Pratt, Cameron Morman and Billy Bugenig, 4.0; 7. (tie) Baylor Roche and Hunter Cure, 4.1. Average leaders: 1. Blaine Jones, 7.6 seconds on two runs; 2. Billy Bugenig, 7.8; 3. Cody Cabral, 8.6; 4. (tie) Cody Pratt and Hunter Cure, 8.7; 6. Baylor Roche, 8.8.
Team roping: 1. Kaleb Driggers/Junior Nogueira, 4.7 seconds; 2. Lane Ivy/Buddy Hawkins, 5.1; 3. Matt Sherwood/Walt Woodard, 5.2; 4. Ty Blasingame/Tanner Luttrell, 5.3; 5. (tie) Marcus Theriot/Cody Doescher and Joshua Torres/Jonathan Torres, 5.4.
Saddle bronc riding: 1. Layton Green, 84.5 points on Cervi Rodeo’s Payback; 2. Hardy Braden, 84; 3. (tie) Tanner Lockhart and Brody Cress, 83.5; 5. (tie) Colt Gordon and Roper Kiesner, 82.
Tie-down roping: First round: 1. Cooper Martin, 7.8 seconds; 2. Westyn Hughes, 8.0, $1,314; 3. (tie) Tim Pharr, Jake Pratt and Tuf Cooper, 8.1, $767 each; 6. (tie) Tyler Prcin and Lane Livingston, 8.2, $137 each. Second round leaders: 1. Taylor Santos, 7.5 seconds; 2. (tie) Blane Cox and Westyn Hughes, 7.8; 4. (tie) Justin Smith, Scott Kormos, Cimarron Boardman and Caleb Smidt, 7.9. Average leaders: 1. Westyn Hughes, 15.8 seconds on two runs; 2. Caleb Smidt, 16.5; 3. Jake Pratt, 16.8; 4. Sterling Smith, 17.6; 5. Robert Mathis, 17.9; 6. Blane Cox, 18.0.
Barrel racing: 1. Taci Bettis, 17.36 seconds; 2. Kelley Schnaufer, 17.48; 3. Christine Laughlin, 17.51; 4. Tammy Fischer, 17.56; 5. Sidney Forrest, 17.58; 6. Ashley Shafer, 17.59; 8. (tie) Shelby Janssen and Kaylee Burnett, 17.66; 10. Ari-Anna Flynn, 17.68.
Bull riding: 1. Scottie Knapp, 87 points on Cervi Brothers’ Po-Boy; 2. Remi Wildeman, 83; 3. (tie) Tyler Ray Viers and Hawk Whitt, 81; 5. Trevor Reiste, 79; 6. Garrett Uptain, 77.