ODESSA, Texas – There’s a long line of cowboys competing in the bareback riding who want to overtake the current king of the event, Kaycee Feild, and Austin Foss wants to be at the front of that line.
The 22-year-old from Terrebonne, Ore., finished second in the 2014 world standings after a successful Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, which saw him win two rounds and finish fifth in the average.
Foss continued that momentum when he won the first big rodeo of 2015, taking the title at the SandHills Stock Show Rodeo in Odessa, Texas.
“My body feels great entering the new year, and coming out and winning one of the bigger rodeos of the winter was really nice,” said Foss. “It just shows you that you can come out and keep it rolling. I want to be able to say that I won every major rodeo at some point in my career, so this adds to the list.”
Foss rode on Jan. 7, and then played the waiting game as many great riders tried to top his score over the next three nights at the Ector County Coliseum. His 84-point effort on Beutler & Son Rodeo’s Sox was good enough for a $3,373 check, and held off such names as Will Lowe, Ty Breuer and traveling partner Clint Cannon.
“I had never had Sox before, and he wasn’t a very big horse, but his heart was big,” Foss said. “He went out there about one or two strides and got in the air and stalled out and was really kicking hard. It was a fun ride.”
Foss’ career trajectory has been going in the right direction since he broke into the PRCA in 2012, winning the Resistol PRCA Bareback Riding Rookie of the Year and finishing 21st in the world standings.
He would qualify for his first WNFR in 2013, finishing 12th in the world, before breaking out to be the second-best rider of 2014 – behind Feild.
Foss desperately wants to be the man to break Feild’s streak of four-straight world and WNFR average titles.
“That’s the plan, because I sure want mine,” Foss said of the gold and average buckles. “I think I’m definitely that guy who can do it. I want to win first as much as I can, and stay consistent all season.”
Foss says traveling with a veteran like Cannon has taught him a few things that he’ll try to implement in 2015, as he tries to take the next step and capture a world title.
“The main things I’ve learned in my first three years is to not rodeo too hard, and to rodeo smarter and healthier,” Foss said. “I’m trying to take care of my body more. I’m always working on my riding style and my equipment, and want to just keep climbing the ladder.”
The other winners at the $249,100 rodeo were steer wrestlers Straws Milan and Hunter Cure (4.0 seconds each), team ropers Erich Rogers and Cory Petska (9.3 seconds on two head), saddle bronc rider Taos Muncy (82 points on Beutler & Son Rodeo’s Money Maker), tie-down ropers Hunter Herrin, Jesse Clark and Jeremy Kempker (8.2 seconds each), steer roper Jason Evans (49.4 seconds on four head), barrel racer Kelly Tovar (15.20 seconds) and bull rider Brennon Eldred (86 points on D & H Cattle’s No. 1114).
Courtesy of PRCA