Harris in top form to start 2014
RAPID CITY, S.D. – J.W. Harris isn’t messing around in 2014, and he made that very clear Feb. 1 at Rushmore Plaza.
The defending – and four-time – bull riding world champion topped a field of 70 men at the first PRCA Xtreme Bulls Tour event of the 2014 season with a score of 181 points on two head.
Harris first rode Summit ProRodeo’s White Lie for 92 points to win the long go, and then put up another big ride with an 89-point effort on Sutton Rodeo’s Crystal Springs Peach in the finals.
“I feel good; this is the first bull riding event of the year, and it couldn’t have gone better,” Harris said. “I liked my short round ride better because that bull (Crystal Springs Peach) threw me the only other time I got on him at Cheyenne (Wyo.) two years ago, and now I got some revenge.”
Harris finished off his dominant 2013 season by winning his fourth world title in six years in Las Vegas in December. He says getting a good jump start on No. 5 was important to him.
“It’s a big win; I’m trying to defend something that’s mine and I don’t want anybody else to take it from me,” Harris said. “I’m going to do everything I can to make sure I keep it, and starting like this is big.”
At 27 years old – when a lot of bull riders start to slow down – Harris looks to be getting even better by the year.
Harris finished second in the world in 2011 and 2012, and he says that, coupled with winning No. 4 last season, has made him want success more than ever.
“I’m probably hungrier than I’ve ever been, and people are going to see a different J.W. this year,” he said. “I’m going to ride with more of a fire in my belly. I got a little lazy rodeoing those two years and thought it was expected that I was going to win the world and I didn’t leave everything out there. That’s going to change.”
Coming into the final round Saturday night, Harris knew if he put up a decent score he would be taking home the hardware. But there’s no such thing as pressure for the Mullin, Texas, cowboy.
“It was just another bull and another day,” Harris said. “I don’t get caught up in the pressure of knowing I have to stay on to win, and I know how to handle any situation.”
He finished 10 points ahead Corey Maier and Tanner Bothwell, who tied for second place with 171 points apiece, and ended up with total earnings of $15,102. The big payday allowed Harris to jump from 11th to first place in the Windham Weaponry High Performance World Standings with $21,787.
How was he going to celebrate his big win to start off 2014?
“I’m going to sign autographs and go to bed; it’s too cold to do anything up here,” Harris said.
Rapid City, S.D., Jan.31-Feb. 1
Bull riding: First round: 1. J.W. Harris, 92 points on Summit Pro Rodeo’s White Lie, $4,442; 2. Ty Wallace, 89, $3,405; 3. Bobby Welsh, 88, $2,517; 4. Garrett Green, 87, $1,629; 5. (tie) Jordan Spears and Cody Campbell, 86, $888 each; 7. Paul Coppini, 85, $592; 8. Ardie Maier, 84, $444. Finals: 1. J.W. Harris, 89 points on Sutton Rodeos’ Crystal Springs Peach, $3,257; 2. (tie) Corey Maier and Tanner Bothwell, 88, $2,122 each; 4. Clayton Foltyn, 87, $1,184; 5. Josh Koschel, 83, $691; 6. Tag Elliott, 82, $494. Average: 1. J.W. Harris, 181 points on two head, $7,403; 2. (tie) Corey Maier and Tanner Bothwell, 171, $4,935 each; 4. Clayton Foltyn, 170, $2,714; 5. Garrett Green, 168, $1,727; 6. Josh Koschel, 166, $1,234; 7. Tag Elliott, 161, $987; 8. Ty Wallace, 89, $740.
Total payoff: $49,350. Stock contractors: Sutton Rodeos. Sub-contractors: C5 Rodeo Company, Summit Pro Rodeo, Southwick’s Rocky Mountain Rodeo Company, New Frontier Rodeo and New West Rodeo Productions. Rodeo secretary: Jackie Higlin. Officials: Harry Rose, Mike Steiger and Wade Berry. Timers: Kim Sutton and Amy Sutton Muller. Announcer: Justin McKee. Specialty act: Tomas Garcilazo. Bullfighters: Josh Rivinius and Colin LaMont and Loyd Ketchum. Clown/barrelman: Keith Isley. Flankman: Steve Sutton. Chute boss: Steven Muller. Pickup men: Brent Sutton and Mike Greenleaf. Photographer: Peggy Gander and Nic Ford.