Trey Benton III and Williams/Freeman/Pepper
TREY BENTON III
It may not have been TB3’s intent to qualify for the CBR World Finals in 2017, but after riding five of the six bulls he got on in CBR competition, TB3 sits in the number 19 position on the CBR World Finals roster after competing in just two Road to Cheyenne events this season.
“I am excited to be competing for $50,000 at the CBR World Finals in the middle of the summer and I am trying to get as many as I can rode to get ready,” said Benton from the road, somewhere in Nevada.
During 2017, it appears Benton has been focused on quality not quantity of bulls, picking and choosing very carefully where he chooses to enter.
Trey Benton, III is no stranger to CBR competition. Qualifying six times, this will be Benton’s fifth trip to Cheyenne. He qualified in 2016 but was injured prior to the competition and unable to ride at the Daddy of ‘Em All. His best CBR finish was second, just three bulls behind Sage Kimzey in 2014.
Benton is currently enjoying the highest riding percentage of his seven years as a pro bull rider and currently inside the top ten of the PRCA’s World Standings. Although not riding in as many events as in previous years, he is riding 68% of the bulls he attempts including winning the Reno Extreme Bull competition earlier this month. In addition to qualifying and riding at an all-time high, highlights of his year include riding three of four bulls in RFD-TV’s the “American’ competition in Arlington, Texas.
Entering his first CBR event on the 2016-17 calendar, he rode two and qualified for the final four Shoot Out Round at the Silver Anniversary of Tuff Hedeman’s bull riding in Fort Worth in April. Benton, a former Fort Worth bull riding and steer riding champion, fell short in the final Shoot Out round, but felt good about his CBR comeback event.
He decided to enter the George Paul Memorial Bull Riding, an event he had won twice before and emerged the champion, for the third time after riding three including a 93 point Shoot Out round show on Rhon Brown’s Dirty Blonde.
Benton, a three time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier has won four rodeo titles this year including All-Around Cowboy at Kileen and Mineral Wells.
Benton started riding calves and sheep at five years old, then graduated to bareback horses and breakaway roping when he was nine. He can rope both ends in the team competition, but he let bulls guide even his young career including a second place finish at the Junior High School National Finals.
He is a cowboy through and through working on his father’s ranch whenever he has some spare time.
In 2014, Benton placed in three rounds of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, including a second-place result in Round 3. That same year he finished 3rd in the PRCA world standings with $164,471.
In 2013, he won Round 5 of the Wrangler NFR with a 90.5-point ride on Andrews Rodeo’s Gun and Juice; finished 13th in the world standings with $91,959.
In 2012, he placed in two rounds of his Wrangler National Finals Rodeo debut and finished ninth in the world standings and was the PRCA Resistol Bull Riding Rookie of the Year.
Benton is a native of Rock Island, Texas, a graduate of Sam Houston State University, single, and currently resides in Huntsville, Texas. Benton has been plagued with injuries including a double knee replacement, but refuses to let the injuries define him as an athlete and manages unbelievable comebacks after any and all setbacks.
#19 CBR Bull Team Challenge Qualifier – Williams/Freeman/Pepper
In 2016 legendary stock contractor Terry Williams took in two young partners, who describe themselves as “working guys who punch a clock and run a few cattle”, in on his CBR bull team franchise and after missing the 2016 CBR World Finals by half a point, the team of Terry Williams, Colby Pepper, and Justin Freeman have qualified this year as team number 19.
“There is a lot more to the strategy of winning in the CBR Bull team competition than we originally thought,” said twenty-eight year old Colby Pepper from Hurley, Mississippi.
Meeting Williams by chance on a trip to Carthage to look at Panola College with former CBR bull rider Friday Wright, Pepper became fast friends with the man known in the industry as a bull guru.
“This year we let Terry put the Jackson bulls together and in Lufkin, and had one bad bull out in Lufkin, but felt we needed to make a change to win and qualify for the finals, so we got Scott Burrus to help us for Vegas,” continued Pepper.
“We drew great on riders in Las Vegas and we bought Kolby Radley and our team in the Calcutta because we were both long shots and probably the biggest underdog in Vegas,” laughed Pepper.
The Williams/Freeman/Pepper bull team qualified for the CBR World Finals in the 19th position sealed their World Finals invitation by winning second place in Las Vegas at the South Point Bull Team Challenge competition. Bucking three completely different bulls than in the first two of their required events, the team used 723 Hex, 151 Arkansas Flash, and 714 Bonanza. Two 89 point rides by Tyler Taylor and Koby Radley in round one set the team up for a strong finish. Eli Vastbinder was paired with 714 in the semifinal round and rode 5.82 seconds which was a strong ride time to add to his 86 point bull score. The team finished Vegas with 284.32 points, just 1.43 points behind the number one team TDS. Bull didn’t feel good and that one trip cost us.
Williams/Freeman/Pepper began their 2017 season in Jackson, Tennessee and finished eighth with one qualified ride on 003 Sports Page.
Changing their semifinal bull earned the team a sixth place in Lufkin with three qualified rides, two from Eli Vastbinder. It seemed they were destined to win the Lufkin title, but their semifinal bull 816 underperformed with a 79 point bull score which hurt the overall score despite being the only team to have three covered.
Williams/Freeman/and Pepper drives into Cheyenne as number 19, but in the CBR bull team competition all scores are dropped at the finals and it’s a clean slate in chutes on the sands of Cheyenne and no one on the CBR bull team roster knows success on the big stage bigger than Terry Williams of Carthage, Texas.
Terry Williams, five time PBR Stock Contractor and two times CBR Stock Contractor of the Year is a familiar name in CBR circles. The 2002 and 2004 CBR Stock Contractor of the Year, is the Horizon Series founder and it’s first managing director, and was the principal founder of Championship Bull Riding in 2002.
Williams, the owner of legendary bucking bulls such as Promised Land, Panhandle Slim, Baby Face, Moody Blues, Locomotive Breath and Red Wolf, is from the piney woods around the east Texas town of Carthage. He is also favorably known behind the chutes as the guy who discovered three time CBR Bull Fighter of the Year Brandon Loden. Loden, while honing his bull riding skills at Williams’s ranch, was asked to fight bulls one day in a pinch, and the rest is CBR history.
In 1990, it is said that Williams had a premonition that the stock contractor’s future was in stand-alone bull riding competitions. So he bypassed the rodeo events and concentrated on single bull riding only events.
“I’ve been around stock all my life,” he said. “I was raising bulls and I needed to do something with them. That’s when I started doing stand-alone bull ridings. In 1993, the PBR came along and they had the good sponsorship and TNN televised its events.”
In the later portion of the 1990’s, Williams began investing even more in his bucking business.
In 1997 he paid $30,000 for Panhandle Slim. At that time it was a record for the highest price ever paid for a bucking bull. As far as bulls go, Panhandle Slim was not very big (1,300 pounds). But he had so much speed and so many direction changes that made up for his lack of size.
Considered a rank bull guru among professionals, Williams said it can be a gamble when purchasing a bull. “You can get the right type,” he said. “It’s like a person. You can look at a person and they look physically fit. But you don’t know if they have the stamina and want-to.”
In the early days of stand-alone bull riding, his well-renowned stock, and long standing friendship with CBR Chute Boss Tuff Hedeman, propelled Williams to leave Carthage with his bulls and haul them to Washington, D.C., Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Nashville, Tenn., and Charlotte, N.C. to Las Vegas all in the course of just one year.
But while Williams will no doubt travel some and be in the stands watching occasionally, his passion has turned to raising and developing young bucking bulls. But you can be sure if bulls are unloading within a day’s drive of Carthage, the infectious smile and personality of Terry Williams is near.
Courtesy of CBR