RAPID CITY, S.D. – Reigning All-Around World Champion Stetson Wright may have secured his second event qualification for the 2020 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo by winning the saddle bronc riding at the Gold Buckle Beer Tour Finale for the second year in a row.
In 2020, the Tour Finale was moved to Rapid City, S.D., due to the COVID-19 pandemic but the results remained the same for the 21-year-old cowboy as Wright came out on top in the saddle bronc riding on Sept. 26.
“I feel like I just won a go round at the NFR,” said Wright, who is a safe bet to make the NFR in bull riding. “And, heading into the NFR I don’t care if I’m starting out in 15th or first place, but first is where I want to end at the NFR – at the end of the rodeo I will be No. 1.”
The Top 24 cowboys for each event in the Tour Standings where trimmed down to an eight-man semifinals over the course of the week, and from there it was a sudden death four-man finals.
Only two saddle bronc riders covered their ride in the finals and Wright edged Shorty Garrett by a half-point with a 90-point ride on Burch Rodeo’s Lunatic From Hell to earn a $7,974 boost in the saddle bronc riding world standings.
Going into the Tour Finale, Wright was 18th in the PRCA | RAM World Standings for saddle bronc riding and jumped five spots to 13th in the world with $45,851.
“It all hung on today for me and from where I was sitting it was either go down spurring or come out on top so I told my dad (Cody) I would spur regardless of what happens,” Wright said.
A year ago, the Utah rookie won the Tour Finale when he set the saddle bronc riding record with a 93.5-point ride on Calgary Stampede’s Yesterday’s Delivery in Puyallup, Wash.
Meanwhile, Wright earned $4,049 in bull riding and all-around world standings by winning the first round with an 87-point ride on Delta Rodeo’s Quid Pro Quo and then he claimed the average with the highest scored ride since no bull riders covered more than one bull during the Tour Finale’s first two rounds. Wright is currently eighth in the bull riding world standings with $60,646.
Wright also captured the Tour Finale’s all-around cowboy honor by earning $11,525.
Wright scooted up to second in the all-around world standings, $9,049 behind leader Tuf Cooper.
“From where I’m sitting at in the world standings, it feels pretty good,” Wright said.
Of course, nothing is official until the world standings have been thoroughly audited after the season concludes Sept. 30. The Gold Buckle Knockout bronc match in Stoneham, Colo., Sept. 30, could throw a curveball in the bareback and saddle bronc riding world standings.
“I feel good about going there and have some confidence rolling,” Wright said. “It has been a long road and I need to finish strong.”
Other winners at the $290,616 rodeo were bareback rider Jesse Pope (90 points on J Bar J’s Straight Moonshine); steer wrestler Jacob Talley (3.6 seconds); team ropers Riley Minor/Brady Minor (4.1 seconds); tie-down roper Tyler Milligan (7.7 seconds); barrel racer Ryann Pedone (15.97 seconds) and bull rider Jeff Askey (82 points on Dakota Rodeo’s Sitting Bull).
For more coverage of the Gold Buckle Beer ProRodeo Tour Finale, check out the Oct. 2 edition of ProRodeo Sports News.
Courtesy of PRCA