Everything was different at the 2021 San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo. The event was moved to Freeman Coliseum, the temperature plummeted to below freezing — a rare occurrence for that part of the Lone Star State — and the top bareback ride on Feb. 13 was taken on the top saddle bronc of the 2020 season.
Bareback rider Garrett Shadbolt reveled in the change.
“It felt like a heat wave to me, it’s really, really cold back home,” the Nebraska cowboy laughed. “The arena is nice, too. It’s small, and the horses seem to buck better in small arenas.”
Shadbolt booked a spot in the semifinals following his 85.5-point ride on The Cervi Brothers’ Womanizer, Feb. 13, winning the round.
Womanizer was the 2020 Pendleton Whisky “Let ‘er Buck” Saddle Bronc of the Year, but this was her first time in a ProRodeo event for bareback riding.
“I think it made a big difference,” said Shadbolt, 24. “She was pushing her nose ahead looking for the halter, and it wasn’t there. It changed the way she bucked and made her leap forward with her nose out.”
A lot can happen in eight seconds, including losing a riding spur, as Shadbolt experienced. But, he didn’t let the setback faze him.
“She gave me a lot of time in the air and she was all there and trying me, but she was also really fun,” Shadbolt said. “The bareback riding was good, and honestly it was us against the horses. They were a really rank pen of horses. Benny Beutler brought his best.”
The night before Shadbolt’s ride on Womanizer, he tied for third in the first perf of Bracket 1 with an 80-point ride. That ride and the one with Womanizer were worth a collective $2,200 boost in the PRCA | RAM World Standings. It also put him into the semifinals later this month.
“I was winning the world standings for the first three months of the season and recently dropped to No. 2,” Shadbolt said. “I’m after a world title, so I want to be in that No. 1 spot.”
Shadbolt kicked off the 2021 season with a clean sweep at the RAM Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo in October. A month later he won the Brawley (Calif.) Cattle Call Rodeo with an 88-point ride on Flying U Rodeo’s Misplaced Insanity.
“I am lucky to get an early lead on the season and I don’t want to let it go,” Shadbolt said. “It was a really hot start, and I want to keep it going and keep that momentum up.”
Mother Nature had other plans, forcing Shadbolt to cool his jets due to a canceled flight to the Dixie National Rodeo in Jackson, Miss., more than 600 miles northeast of San Antonio.
Shadbolt will head home for a short break before hitting the road for the 146th Silver Spurs Rodeo in Kissimmee, Fla., Feb. 19-21, and then return to San Antonio.
Fans can catch all the action on The Cowboy Channel and PRCA on Cowboy Channel Plus App. (See broadcast schedule)
Check with ProRodeo.com in the coming weeks for updates on how one of the biggest events of the year impacts the race for the 2021 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
Courtesy of PRCA