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Stratton Hopes Wins Will Jumpstart Season

Saddle bronc rider Nat Stratton, 20, celebrates in the arena after his 85-point ride on Pete Carr’s The Darkness allowed him to win the May 22-24 Will Rogers Stampede in Claremore, Okla. Stratton also won the Crown Motors RAM Regional Rodeo in Park Hills, Mo., over the weekend, to move from ninth to sixth in the Resistol rookie standings.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Oklahoma Panhandle State University in Goodwell has a reputation for churning out elite saddle bronc riders, and Nat Stratton is hoping he’s next.

The 20-year-old spent two years competing for OPSU, and is now a rookie hoping for big things on the pro circuit.

His wins at the Will Rogers Stampede in Claremore, Okla., and the Crown Motors RAM Regional Rodeo in Park Hills, Mo., were just what the doctor ordered.

“This was really great, because I had a slow, bumpy winter,” Stratton said. “It was a long winter, but now I’m traveling fulltime with some good guys and I’m ready to rodeo hard this summer.”

Stratton rode for 85 points on Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s The Darkness to win in Claremore. It was déjà vu for Stratton, who split the win at Claremore in 2014 with Isaac Diaz – on the exact same horse.

“I was pretty pumped to see that I had drawn that horse again at Claremore,” said Stratton, who rode for 82 points on The Darkness in 2014. “It was a big shot of confidence.”

After two seasons rodeoing at OPSU, Stratton says coaches Craig Latham and Robert and Dan Etbauer have prepared him well for the leap to ProRodeo.

“I learned a lot from my time there,” he said. “Everything from the basics of bronc riding to how to go up and down the road and the ins and outs of rodeo. That’s about as good of a coaching staff as you can ask for as a college bronc rider.”

There are three saddle bronc riders in the top 11 of the May 26 Windham Weaponry High Performance PRCA World Standings who rodeoed at OPSU – Taos Muncy, Cort Scheer and 2014 World Champion Spencer Wright. Will Stratton be joining them soon?

“I sure hope so – that’s the goal,” he said.

  • Cody DeMoss, the saddle bronc riding world standings leader, widened out his focus when he went back home to Louisiana this past weekend to compete in the Ringgold Round-Up, nine miles from his front porch. He won the all-around title there by winning the team roping (heeling for Wes Kent) and finishing third in the saddle bronc riding, while also competing in tie-down roping and steer wrestling.
  • Twin wins: Identical twins Jesse and Jake Wright each took a turn in reaching the winner’s circle over the weekend, with Jesse capturing the Pony Express Rodeo title in Eagle Mountain, Utah, while Jake, who finished third in Eagle Mountain, won the Marysville (Calif.) Stampede. Both are in the top 20 of the May 26 Windham Weaponry High Performance PRCA World Standings, joining younger brother (and reigning world champion), Spencer, who is second, and nephew, Rusty, who is fourth. Elder brother, Cody, tied for third in Eagle Mountain and is making progress in his quest for a third world title after missing 3½ months due to injury; he is 28th in the world.
  • Bareback rider Winn Ratliff kept himself on pace for a third Wrangler NFR berth in four years by winning the Ringgold (La.) Round-Up and earning an additional check at the Will Rogers Stampede in Claremore, Okla.
  • Quitman, Ark., steer wrestler Tooter Silver moved himself into the top 50 over the weekend by winning the Crown Motors RAM Regional Rodeo in Park Hills, Mo., and tying for third place at the Will Rogers Stampede in Claremore, Okla.

Courtesy of PRCA