SAN ANTONIO – Bull rider J.W. Harris wants to go out with a bang.
The four-time PRCA world champion bull rider has decided 2020 will be his final season of ProRodeo competition.
Thanks to a strong start at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo, Harris, the defending San Antonio champion, is on track to make his final season a memorable one after qualifying for the San Antonio semifinals.
Last year, the Texas cowboy won San Antonio with a 92.5-point ride on Powder River Rodeo’s SweetPro’s Bruiser and took home $25,250. That single win pushed him from 130th to seventh in the 2019 PRCA | RAM World Standings.
“It’s easy to get excited for a rodeo like San Antonio because you know you’ll get on good animals,” said Harris, who won titles in 2008-10 and 2013. “That’s one thing they work hard at, they make sure to have the best quality of bulls, and the better the quality of bull the harder you’re going to try.”
In addition to his 2019 San Antonio win, Harris was co-champion at the San Antonio rodeo in 2009.
“I’ve always done pretty good every time I go down there,” Harris said. “I always leave with a pile of money and it’s been a good spot for me early in the year to get the season started. It’s an important rodeo because we’re early, but it’s a long way to December and a lot of things can happen between now and then. But it gets the winter rolling and sets you up for the spring and gets some confidence going.”
Fans can catch the San Antonio rodeo action live on The Cowboy Channel Feb. 10-13 at 8 p.m. (ET) and Feb. 15-16 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. (ET). The remainder of the rodeo (Feb. 17-22) will air at 8 p.m. (ET). The San Antonio Xtreme Bulls will air at 2 p.m., Feb. 22.
Harris ended the 2018 season on the bubble, ranked 16th in the world with $93,769. The 2019 season didn’t end in his favor due to an injury sustained at the Reno (Nev.) Rodeo in June. Harris suffered a bone bruise and needed stitches when a bull’s horn hit him in the leg.
“I just never gave myself time to heal up and I kept pushing it and pushing it and I couldn’t get a hold with my left leg, and everything just didn’t go my way,” Harris said. “That was a year to forget.”
Harris continued to compete through the Dodge City (Kan.) Roundup Rodeo that ran July 31 through Aug. 4. Three months after the injury, his cut finally healed in September.
Now fully recovered, Harris is coming in hot at the San Antonio rodeo with a win in Round 2 of Bracket 1 with an 87-point ride on Beutler & Son’s Evac Man and a third-place ride in Round 3 for $4,750 won so far.
“I feel good and dang sure feel better than I did last summer, so we have to keep going,” Harris said.
The nine-time qualifier for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (2006-14) will celebrate his 34th birthday in July and hopes to round off his career with a 10th qualification.
“I’m pretty hungry,” Harris said. “As of right now it’ll be my last year, so we’ll try to go out on a good note. My body is getting tired of it. I still have the want to ride and I still love it just as much as when I first started. But it’s hard to get the motor running to get on, and I have two kids at home busy with sports and every dadgum thing you can think of. It’s hard to leave home.”
Courtesy of PRCA