Zeke Thurston Advances to Fort Worth Finals with 92-Point Ride

FORT WORTH, Texas – Zeke Thurston added his fourth PRCA World Championship this past December in Las Vegas and has shown no signs of slowing down as the 2024 ProRodeo season picks up steam.

The Big Valley, Alberta, saddle bronc rider put on a show for the sold-out crowd at Dickies Arena on Friday night in the semifinal round of the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo. Thurston matched up with Calgary Stampede’s rising star in Exotic Warrior. The duo combined for 92 points and the round win.

“That is a super good little horse that just turned seven this year,” said Thurston, 29. “That thing is batting a thousand so far this year. They won a round on her at the Canadian Finals, both rounds that she was out at the NFR they won on her and then today obviously. I think that horse is going to be a staple of the Calgary Stampede herd going forward. She’s just an amazing little animal.”

The FWSSR is Thurston’s first outing of the 2024 season. He advanced to the semifinals by winning the second round of Bracket 1 with an 85.5-point ride on Brookman Rodeo’s Flirtatious to earn $2,000. Thurston said even though bronc riding may look easy to him at times, it’s far from it and he just hopes the momentum will continue to roll.

“It’s never a gimme or a layup anytime you nod your head. You are always continuing to work at it and trying to improve and get better,” Thurston said. “I have just been drawing great horses and feeling good. Everything is working out really well right now, so hopefully we can just keep riding this wave through the winter and into the spring and summer. Then hopefully head back to Vegas (for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo) in a good spot.”

Winning the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo would be a good start. Thurston is seeking his first title at the historic rodeo. It’ll be a simple approach for the veteran of the sport when the gate swings open on Saturday night.

“We are just going to see what we draw and go out there and try to do our job the best we can (Saturday) night,” he said. “We will see where we land after that.”

Other semifinal No. 2 winners were bareback rider Keenan Hayes (91 points on Macza Pro Rodeo’s Sideshow); steer wrestler Gavin Soileau (3.8 seconds); team ropers Jake Clay/Trey Yates (5.7 seconds); tie-down roper Shad Mayfield (7.5 seconds); breakaway roper Maddy Deerman (2.7 seconds); barrel racer Sara Winkelman (16.26 seconds); and bull rider Brody Yeary (87 points on Rafter G Rodeo’s Battle Creek).

Courtesy of PRCA

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