Teenager Wright Rides into the Lead

Ryder Wright rides Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Pendleton Whisky Django for 81 points Saturday night to take the early lead in saddle bronc riding at the San Angelo Stock Show & Rodeo. (RIC ANDERSEN PHOTO)

SAN ANGELO, Texas – Ryder Wright finished last season as the fourth-ranked saddle bronc rider in ProRodeo, but he didn’t compete at the San Angelo Stock Show & Rodeo.

He wasn’t old enough.

The second-generation Wrangler National Finals Rodeo cowboy didn’t turn 18 until March, so he wasn’t for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. Once he was of age, he didn’t turn back, pocketing nearly $71,000 in six and a half months to earn his first NFR bid, where he put on a masterful performance.

On Saturday night, Wright made the most of his first experience inside San Angelo Coliseum with an 81-point ride on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Pendleton Whisky Django. That pushed him into the bronc riding lead after three performances.

“I’d never seen that horse before, but I talked with (2015 world champion) Jacobs Crawley about him, and he said the horse was pretty good,” said Wright, the son of two-time world champion Cody Wright. “I just went at him like he was another horse. He was bucking good, and I rode good, so it worked out.”

Yes, it did, but that’s been the case for the young bronc buster from Milford, Utah. In Las Vegas this past December, won the first four go-rounds, then earned another on the ninth night of the 10-round championship. In all, he won $141,154 in Sin City and tripled his season earnings, finishing the campaign with $211,758.

That’s not bad for a cowboy who a season ago was still in high school.

“I have more confidence in my riding after getting on the best horses in the world for 10 days in a row,” said Wright, who was one of six members of his family competing at the NFR, where he was joined by his dad, Cody; a brother, Rusty; two uncles, Jake and Jesse; and an uncle-in-law, CoBurn Bradshaw. “It went good for five rounds, and the other five rounds wasn’t so good.”

That is the nature of bronc riding. Great rides can turn in to no-scores in the blink of an eye. Many cowboys wish they had as much fortune as he had in the Nevada desert.

Since then, though, things haven’t quite gone his way. He’s earned just $6,821 so far in the 2017 season. Still, he’s 20th in the world standings and has seven full months remaining.

“I haven’t won near as much as I’d like to,” Wright said, explaining that the new season actually began Oct. 1, 2016. “I got off to a slow start last fall. I won a little bit in Denver (in January), but not as much as I’d like. I’m just trying to get the ball rolling again.”

Ryder Wright

Once it starts, there may be no stopping it. The short-term goal is to return to San Angelo Coliseum for the final round on Friday, Feb. 17, where champions will be crowned.

“This is a cool rodeo with great fans,” he said. “I was excited to come here. It was packed, and it’s really loud and awesome.

“Fans are what makes rodeo, and they have some good ones here.”

San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo
Feb. 3-5, Feb. 10-12, Feb. 15-17

Bareback riding leaders: 1. Jamie Howlett, 80 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Ragin Angel; 2. (tie) Justin McDaniel, Joel Schlegel and Luke Creasy, 79 each; 5. Shon Gibson, 76; 6. Tilden Hooper, 75; 7. Grant Denny, 74; 8. Clint Cannon, 72.

Steer wrestling: First round leaders: 1. (tie) Tyler Waguespack and Dakota Eldridge, 3.3 seconds each; 3. (tie) Ty Erickson and Blake Knowles, 3.5 each; 5. Baylor Roche, 3.7; 6. (tie) Kyle Whitaker, Jacob Talley and Jacob Shofner, 3.8 each. Second round leaders: 1. (tie) Baylor Roche, Dirk Tavenner and Josh Peek, 3.5 each; 4. (tie) Trevor Knowles and Blake Knowles, 4.2 each; 6. Josh Garner, 4.5; 7. Dakota Eldridge, 4.7; 8. Jacob Shofner, 5.6. Average leaders: 1. Baylor Roche, 7.2 seconds on two runs; 2. (tie) Josh Peek and Blake Knowles, 7.7 each; 4. Dakota Eldridge, 8.0; 5. Dirk Tavenner, 8.1; 6. Trevor Knowles, 8.2; 7. Josh Garner, 8.8; 8. Jacob Shofner, 9.4.

Team roping: First round leaders: 1. Dustin Egusquiza/Kory Koontz, 4.6 seconds; 2. (tie) Cory Clark/Clint Summers and Jake Cooper/Brady Norman, 5.5 each; 4. Aaron Macy/Evan Arnold, 6.1; 5. Billy Bob Brown/Logan Medlin, 9.2; 6. Caleb Smidt/B.J. Dugger, 9.3; 7. Kory Kidd/Tyler Worley, 14.6; no other qualified times. Second round leaders: 1. (tie) Caleb Smidt/B.J. Dugger and Matt Sherwood/Joel Bach, 4.1 seconds each; 3. Zac Small/Will Woodfin, 4.5; no other qualified times. Average leaders: 1. Caleb Smidt/B.J. Dugger, 13.4 seconds on two runs; 2. Matt Sherwood/Joel Bach, 4.1 seconds on one run; 3. Zac Small/Will Woodfin, 4.5; 4. (tie) Cory Clark/Clint Summers and Jake Cooper/Brady Norman, 5.5 each; 6. Aaron Macy/Evan Arnold, 6.1; 7. Billy Bob Brown/Logan Medlin, 9.2; no other qualified times.

Saddle bronc riding leaders: 1. Ryder Wright, 81 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Pendleton Whisky Django; 2. (tie) Magin Lane Montoya and Dalton Davis, 80 each; 4. Rusty Wright, 75.5; 5. Clint Hopping, 75; 6. (tie) Audy Reed, Luke Butterfield and Nat Stratton, 74 each.

Tie-down roping: First round leaders: 1. Michael Otero, 7.0 seconds; 2. Cody Quaney, 7.8; 3. Ryle Smith, 7.9; 4. Shank Edwards, 8.2; 5. Cory Solomon, 8.6; 6. Josh Peek, 8.7; 7. Timber Moore, 8.9; 8. Sterling Smith, 9.5; 4. (tie) Randall Carlisle and Matt Shiozawa, 10.9 each; 6. Blane Cox, 11.1; 7. Caleb Smidt, 14.2; no other qualified times. Second round leaders: 1. Cody Quaney, 7.0 seconds; 2. Scott Kormos, 7.3; 3. Chant DeForest, 7.6; 4. Chase Williams, 7.7; 5. Riley Pruitt, 8.1; 6. Josh Peek, 8.3; 7. Shank Edwards. 8.9; 8. Timber Moore, 13.8. Average leaders: 1. Cody Quaney, 14.8 seconds on two runs; 2. Josh Peek, 17.0; 3. Shank Edwards, 17.1; 4. Riley Pruitt, 18.9; 5. Timber Moore, 22.7; 6. Chant DeForest, 23.7; 7. Michael Otero, 7.0 seconds on one run; 8; Scott Kormos, 7.3.

Barrel racing: Second round leaders: 1. Laura Kennedy, 14.24 seconds; 2. Lindsay Sears, 14.24; 4. Carmel Wright, 14.39; 4. Brooke Jeter, 14.42; 5. Morgan Breaux, 14.43; 6. Rozlyn Reeves, 14.54; 7. Margo Crowther, 14.60; 8. Fallon Jordan, 14.63; 9. Molly Powell, 14.66; 10. J.J. Baldwin, 14.70. Average leaders: 1. Carmel Wright, 30.23 seconds on two runs; 2. Morgan Breaux, 30.44; 3. Laura Kennedy, 30.80; 4. Lindsay Sears, 30.83; 5. Fallon Jordan, 30.95; 6. Brooke Jeter, 31.00; 7. Kimmi Byler, 31.09; 8. Molly Powell, 31.10; 9. (tie) Rozlyn Reeves and Margo Crowther, 31.15 each; 11. Brogan Macy, 31.16; 12. Madeline Dickens, 31.20.

Bull riding leaders: 1. Trey Benton III, 88.5 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Red Rocket; 2. Brennon Eldred, 87.5; 3. (tie) Tanner Learmont and John Pitts, 83 each; 5. (tie) Luke Gee and Josh Frost, 82 each; 7. (tie) Kyle Zeigler and Diego Benedetti, 80 each.

Courtesy of