By Johna Cravens
FORT WORTH, Texas — A new era of rodeo began Friday at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo (FWSSR) with the inaugural performance of the FWSSR ProRodeo Tournament. The event features 56 of the top rodeo athletes in North America each of eight events competing for more than $1 million dollars prize money.
In each event, seven groups of eight athletes will compete in two rodeo performances. The top two money winners from each group qualify for one of two semifinal rounds.
The third-highest money winner in each set will qualify for a berth in the wild card round. The other four competitors go into a non-qualifiers pool and the highest remaining money winner in each event also gets to move to the wild card round. The winner of that second-chance round moves on to the semifinals as well. Then, the top four from each semifinal move on to the finals on Saturday, February 8 when the champions will be crowned.
Jake Brown, who grew up in nearby Hillsboro and now lives in Cleveland, Texas, got a good start on a semifinal qualification when he won the bareback riding. The five-time National Finals Rodeo (NFR) qualifier scored 89 points on his Pickett Pro Rodeo’s horse Hell Made. He earned $1,760 which should put him into a semifinal.
Since returning home from the NFR in December, Brown has been staying close to home – and for good reason. He and his wife Nicole are proud new parents of a baby boy named Wacey who was born on December 18.
“I’ve just been enjoying staying home with him,” Brown said, as he held the five-week-old boy. “They grow so fast,” Nicole Brown added.
Along with the new tournament format, the FWSSR rodeo committee added women’s breakaway roping to the event lineup. The Women’s Pro Rodeo Association (WPRA) event has been exploding in popularity during the past year. While breakaway roping had been part of the horse show arena action in Fort Worth for several years, Friday night marked its debut as part of the rodeo.
Wyoming native Shai Schaefer, who now lives in Lake Creek, Texas, won the first round of breakaway with a time of 2.3 seconds, edging Kelsie Chace of Cherokee, Okla., who clocked a time of 2.5.
Other winners of the initial round of tournament rodeo at Dickies Arena were steer wrestler Cody Cabral of Hilo, Hawaii; reigning world champion saddle bronc rider Zeke Thurston of Big Valley, Alberta; tie-down roper Cory Solomon of Prairie View, Texas; team ropers Dawson Graham of Wainwright, Alberta and Coleby Payne of Lipan, Texas; barrel racer Amanda Harris of Spearfish, S.D., and bull rider Maverick Potter of Waxahatchie, Texas.
The same group of cowboys and cowgirls compete again at 2 p.m. Saturday. A new group begins their two-performance set Saturday night at 7:30 p.m.
The following are unofficial results from the FWSSR ProRodeo Tournament at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, Friday, January 24, 2020.
Bareback riding: 1, Jake Brown, Cleveland, Texas, 89 points on Pickett Rodeo’s Hell Made, $1,760. 2, Mason Clements, Draper, Utah, 86.5, $1,320. 3, Chad Rutherford, Lake Charles, Lousiana, 86, $880. 4, Will Martin, Goodwell, Okla. 83, $440.
Steer Wrestling: 1, Cody Cabral, Hilo, Hawaii, 4.2 seconds, $1,760. 2, Ty Erickson, Helena, MT. 4.6, $1,320. 3, Jule Hazen, Ashland, Kansas, 5.0, $880. 4, Cody Devers, Balko, Okla. 8.8, $440.
Team Roping: 1, Dawson Graham, Wainwright, Alberta, and Coleby Payne, Lipan, Texas, 4.8 seconds, $1,760 each. 2, Jeff Flenniken, Caldwell, Idaho, and Tyler Worley, Berryville, Ark. 5.3, $1,320 each. 3, Nick Sartain, Bandera, Texas, and Austin Rogers, Crescent, Okla. 10.1, $880 each. 4, Radley Day and Taylor Williams, Volborg, Mont., 10.7, $440 each.
Saddle Bronc Riding: 1, Zeke Thurston, Big Valley, Alberta, 84 points on Pickett Rodeo’s Hell Capped, $1,760. 2, Jesse Wright, Milford, Utah, 83.5, $1,320. 3, Tanner Butner, Daniel, Wyo., 81.5, $880. 4, Houston Garrett Brown, Miles City, Mont., 78, $440.
Tiedown Roping: 1, Cory Solomon, Prairie View, Texas. 8.2 seconds, $1,760. 2, Michael Otero, Weatherford, Texas, 8.3, $1,320. 3, Jason Minor, Ellensburg, Wash. 9.6, $880. 4, Seth Cooke, Millsap, Texas, 9.7, $440.
Breakaway Roping: 1. Shai Schaefer, Torrington, Wyo, 2.3 seconds, $1,760, Kelsie Chace, Cherokee, Okla. 2.5, $1,320. 3, Brandy Gilbert, Springtown, Texas, 3.0, $880. 4, Hope Thompson, Abilene, Texas, 3.4, $440.
Barrel Racing: 1, Amanda Harris, Spearfish, S.D., 16.69 seconds, $1,760. 2, Cheyenne Allan, Mabton, Wash. 16.91, $1,320. 3, Michelle Darling, Medford, Okla., 17.16, $880. 4, Kathryn Hawkins, Morrilton, Ark., 17.77, $440.
Bull Riding: (two rides) 1, Maverick Potter, Waxahachie, Texas, 78 points on Rafter G Rodeo’s Frosty, $2,420, 2, Ruger Piva, Challis, Idaho, 75.5, $1,980.