Winners usually share the common trait of a very short-term memory over bad runs inside the arena.
Two-time PRCA World Champion Steer Wrestler Hunter Cure certainly has the intellectual force needed to win at the highest level but his lack of memory of the early part of the 2021 rodeo season can’t be attributed entirely to mental toughness.
In late January, Cure was hazing a steer at a qualifying event for The American Rodeo when the steer suddenly cut underneath his horse. The horse lost his balance, rolling over the top of Cure, who was knocked unconscious and stayed that way for 20 minutes.
Suffering a severe concussion, Cure was out of competition for several weeks.
“I don’t really remember February,” Cure joked. “But I feel like I’m gaining ground now.”
After blistering a run of 3.4 seconds during the second performance of the Southeastern Livestock Show and Exposition in Montgomery, Ala. to take the win of the ProRodeo Tour stop, Cure seems right back on track.
“They’d placed on that steer in Arcadia and then were splitting second there in Montgomery on him, so he was a great steer,” Cure said. “He lets off and lets you catch him fast and then handles fast on the ground.”
Cure was on his young horse Player and had Clayton Hass pinch hitting as hazer when Cure’s regular hazer, Gary Gilbert had to head home for the birth of his first child.
The Montgomery win was worth $3,438 and valuable ProRodeo Tour points for Cure who is left playing catch-up a bit after the accident. Prior to the Montgomery win, his 2021 earnings had all come from the Texas Circuit Finals Rodeo in early January.
“We’ll go to the circuit rodeos around Texas and maybe out to California, if they’re going to go,” Cure stated of his immediate rodeo plans but beyond that, he said it just depends on the rodeo season.
The 2013 and 2015 World Champion, Cure finished 23rd in the 2020 PRCA | RAM World standings but like many cowboys, found the strange COVID altered year to be a challenge.
“Last year was no better than deficit spending,” he said. “I had most of February to sit back and think about my life and career. I’d made a promise to my family that I had one to three more years of rodeoing. If I am thinking about making this my last year, I’d like to have more certainty that the rodeos will be there.”
Cure has two children, Halli, 8, and Hayes, 6. The entire Cure family was in person for win, having spent a week on the beach between Arcadia and Montgomery.
For the short term, Cure joked about beating out friend and fellow World Champ Luke Branquinho for the win in Alabama.
“It always makes me feel good to get ahead of Luke for once,” he joked. “Actually, he rode with me in the ambulance when I got hurt so he’s played another role in my life.”
“But I don’t mind taking his money in the arena now.”
Two-time Wrangler NFR cowboy Ryle Smith set a tie-down roping SLE Rodeo record with a 6.9-second run. The previous record was 7.3 seconds which was set in consecutive years by Ricky Hyde (2003) and Tyson Durfey (2004).
The total payout of $176,220 for the 2021 SLE Rodeo also set a record, besting the previous mark of $160,612 set back in 2002.
Other winners at the rodeo were all-around cowboy Stetson Wright ($7,555, saddle bronc and bull riding); bareback rider Clayton Biglow (88 points on Championship Pro Rodeo’s Meat Cracker); team ropers Lightning Aguilera and Evan Arnold, Clint Summers and Ross Ashford, and Tate Kirchenschlager and Cole Davison (4.1 seconds each); saddle bronc rider Wyatt Casper (87 points on Championship Pro Rodeo’s Pow Wow Nights); barrel racer Cassidy Kruse Deen (15.11 seconds); and bull riders Laramie Mosley and Stetson Wright (90.5 points each on Frontier Rodeo’s County Jail and Frontier Rodeo’s Easy Day, respectively).
Courtesy of PRCA