Hunter Cure – Holliday, Texas ($104,568)
5-time WNFR qualifier
2013 & 2015 World Champion
A big part of Hunter Cure’s success this year can be attributed to one of the most important equine partners that he has ever had.
In 2013 and 2015, Cure rode a steer wrestling horse he calls Charlie to world championships. He made his first trip to Las Vegas to compete at rodeo’s championships in 2009. He was there also in 2018 and is making his fifth trip this year.
In 2016 Charlie cut his foot. That injury was not just threatening Charlie’s career, it nearly took his life. The Cures did everything they could just to keep him comfortable and let him live out his days in the luxury of a pasture.
But Charlie, who has a heart as big as the state of Texas where Hunter grew up, had other ideas. Trying to keep the horse sound, Hunter sent him to Copper Spring Ranch in Bozeman, Montana for ranch manager and farrier Brian Anderson to do some corrective shoeing. It worked and Charlie was back in the arena and as sound as ever.
Hunter earned $104,568 during the regular season this year and starts the NFR in second place. Charlie as well as other horses took him to several wins, but one of the biggest came during the final weeks of the season. Hunter and Charlie won the Washington State Fair Rodeo and nearly $10,000. Hunter has also qualified for the Canadian Finals Rodeo, part of that coming from a second-place finish at the Ponoka (Alberta) Stampede, also on Charlie.
While he is figuring out what horse to ride, which rodeos to go to and how to get there, Hunter is also balancing things at home. He has a ranch and cattle to take care of, some of which are steers that he leases to rodeo committees in the winter.
He and his wife, Bristi, have a seven-year-old daughter and five-year-old son. Hunter and Bristi met in high school, both got rodeo scholarships and got their bachelor’s degrees from Texas Tech University. Bristi went on to get her master’s and is now director of renewable development at Invenergy.
While their lives are very full, they have managed to keep work in perspective and make their family a priority. Bristi and the kids went to Calgary this year. While she was there, she finished a 10k run with her friend Savanah Reeves who is married to fellow steer wrestler Matt Reeves. After the run, they hurried over to the rodeo arena to watch their husbands compete.
At last year’s NFR, Hunter wasn’t as successful as he had hoped. So, as he was getting ready for the seventh round, he saw his old work boots in the trailer. Just to change things up a bit, he put on those old boots and ended up splitting the round with Tyler Pearson.
He crossed the $1 million mark in career earnings earlier this year and has more goals to achieve. But no matter how much drive and determination he shows in the arena trying to reach those goals, his family will always be come first.
And one of the best things about the NFR is for 10 days of all of them will be in the same place.