The road has been long, but saddle bronc rider Wade Sundell hasn’t lost his passion for rodeoing.
“I don’t know anything else,” Sundell laughed. “I don’t want to do anything else; I would do this the rest of my life if I could.
“So, I guess I’ll just get as much done now while I still can.”
Sundell claimed his first victory of the 2021 ProRodeo season with an 89-point ride aboard Dakota Rodeo’s Jimmy at the Guymon (Okla.) Pioneer Days Rodeo on April 30.
The victory was worth $3,638 along with ProRodeo Tour points but it represents so much more to Sundell, who knows better than many about the fleeting nature of a career riding bucking horses.
After claiming his first PRCA world championship in 2018, Sundell was on his way back to the National Finals Rodeo to defend his title in 2019 when a horse smashed him in the chutes in August at San Juan Capistrano, Calif.
Sundell suffered internal injuries including a lacerated liver. Doctors told him later he was within centimeters of severing an artery and bleeding out. Instead, the resilient champion spent two weeks in a medically induced coma before returning to his home in Oklahoma to begin the long journey back.
It was nearly a year to the date but Sundell returned in late July 2020 as though time had never passed, winning his first rodeo back in Sidney, Iowa, and making a late season push to finish 45th in the PRCA | RAM World Standings.
Now 36, Sundell has his eyes focused on a ninth NFR bid and another gold buckle.
“Guymon was my first win of the year and I’m glad to get things started,” Sundell said. “The Tour points are a big incentive as well. You darn sure need ’em, there’s a ton of money to be won right at the end of the year (at the ProRodeo Tour Finale).
“So, we’ll keep entering the Tour rodeos and get to the Finale and then the Finals. Then we can go win the big money.”
Sundell was thrilled with his draw in Guymon, a horse recently purchased by Dakota Rodeo.
“They hadn’t gotten to buck him yet (at ProRodeos), but I watched him at Pawhuska at a ranch rodeo recently,” Sundell said. “I asked them, ‘When are we gonna get a dose of that one?’
“He’s an outstanding horse.”
Sundell earned his second Guymon championship. The first came in 2019.
After riding April 30 in Guymon, Sundell made his way back to his ranch on the opposite end of the state where he was out working cattle on Sunday when he learned he held on for the win.
Along with a check from Des Moines, Iowa, over the weekend, Sundell will improve greatly upon his current position of 30th in the world standings.
Sundell returns to action at the Daily Record Xtreme Bares and Broncs event in Ellensburg, Wash., May 14-15.
“I’m still getting drawn out of rodeos,” he noted wryly of lingering effects of a missed year in the saddle. “But it will start picking up and we’ll get to rocking and rolling as summer hits.”
Other winners at the $333,267 rodeo were all-around cowboy Ryan Jarrett ($9,518 in tie down and team roping); bareback rider Caleb Bennett (87 points on Pickett Pro Rodeo’s Freckled Frog); steer wrestler Dalton Massey (12.2 seconds on three head); team ropers Nelson Wyatt/Levi Lord (21.3 seconds on three head); tie-down roper Shane Hanchey (27.6 seconds on three head); barrel racers Hailey Kinsel and Jordan Briggs (34.65 seconds each on two runs); steer roper Darin Suit (47.1 seconds on four head); and bull rider Laramie Mosley (91 points on Frontier Rodeo’s County Jail).
Courtesy of PRCA