RODEO INSIDER: Brett Hoffman
- By Brett Hoffman Rodeo Writer
Tuf Cooper has become a serious contender for pro rodeo’s most prestigious title, the world all-around buckle.
In past years, he’s qualified for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s National Finals only in tie-down roping. He’s a three-time world champion tie-down roper.
But this year, Cooper, who lives in the North Texas city of Weatherford, is on pace to earn a National Finals berth in both the tie-down roping and steer roping events.
During the past weekend, Cooper lassoed the all-around title at the Walker County Fair Rodeo in Huntsville. Cooper pocketed $2,574 as the result of finishing fourth in tie-down roping and placing in a couple of rounds of steer roping.
After all that, Cooper is ranked No. 1 in this week’s PRCA world all-around standings with $55,636 in 2017 regular season earnings. Caleb Smidt is No. 2 with $50,328.
Cooper also is ranked fifth in the PRCA’s tie-down roping world title race with $37,124. He’s also ranked fifth in the PRCA’s steer roping world standings with $21,070.
In other action at the Huntsville rodeo, former Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier Jake Brown of Cleveland clinched the bareback riding title after turning in a score of 85.5 points aboard a bronc named Black Friday, owned by the Smith, Harper & Morgan Rodeo Co. In bull riding, three-time PRCA champion Sage Kimzey clinched the title with a score of 84 points atop Stace Smith Pro Rodeos' Wind Bag, $1,269. The bovine was owned by Stace Smith of Athens, an 11-time PRCA Stock Contractor of the Year.
Other champions were steer wrestler Josh Peek (4.1 seconds), team ropers Marcus Theriot/Cody Doescher (3.9 seconds), saddle bronc rider Jacobs Crawley (84 points on Smith, Harper & Morgan's Almost Heaven), tie-down roper Weldon Watson (7.3 seconds) steer roper J. Tom Fisher (33.3 seconds on three runs) and barrel racer Stevi Hillman (16.64 seconds).
National Circuit Finals
Thirty years ago, the PRCA conducted the inaugural National Finals Rodeo. The inaugural Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo was conducted in March of 1987 in Pocatello, Idaho.
Today, it’s called the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo and it’s held in Kissimmee, Florida, in the Orlando area. The 2017 edition is this weekend at the Silver Spurs Arena.
The National Circuit Finals features single event champions from each of 12 geographic regions. The Texas Circuit is among the 12 regions.
Bill Tutor of Huntsville, who won the bareback riding title at the Texas Circuit Finals in Waco in early January, is scheduled to compete at this weekend’s Kissimmee championships. Colby Lovell, a Huntsville native who lives in Madisonville, is on the card in the team roping event.
College rodeo update
With only one rodeo remaining during the regular season on the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Southern Region circuit, both Sam Houston’s men’s and women’s team are ranked No. 1 in the regional team title race.
Sam Houston’s men’s team leads the regional race with 4,364.5 points. Hill College is ranked No. 2 with 3,979.5.
Sam Houston’s women’s team is ranked No. 1 with 2,757.32 points. Texas A&M is ranked No. 2 with 2,459.75.
Both Sam Houston’s men’s squad and women’s posse clinched team titles at the March 23-25 Hill College Rodeo. The next competition for Sam Houston is the April 21-22 Wharton County Junior College Rodeo, which is the 10th regional show of the 2016-2017 regular season.
Cutting horse update
Beau Galyean, an accomplished rider from Fort Worth, and a stallion named Metallic Rebel clinched the National Cutting Horse Association Super Stakes Classic/Challenge open division title with a lofty score of 229 on Saturday night at Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum in Fort Worth.
The victory earned Metallic Rebel’s owner, Thomas Guinn, the $28,608 prize.
Metallic Rebel was sired by Metallic Cat, a famous stallion that’s owned by Alvin, Becky, Colton and Cade Fults of Amarillo.
Galyean, 37, who has more than $2.9 million in NCHA career earnings, said Metallic Rebel has the all the elements of a great horse.
“He’s a special horse to be around when you haven’t even saddled him,” Galyean said. “But when you put a saddle on him and work him, you say, ‘What an amazing animal. Wow.’”
Galyean and Metallic Rebel won the title for 5- and 6-year-old horses in dramatic fashion. Their 229 was five points higher than second-place finisher John Mitchell and CR Tuff Lucy.
The Super Stakes runs through April 15.
Hall of Fame class
Cody Custer, the 1992 PRCA world champion bull rider, is among five world champions who will be inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame.
The induction is scheduled for Aug. 5 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Custer earned eight trips to the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas and won a gold buckle in 1992. He joined the PRCA in 1985 and went on to qualify for the NFR from 1987-92, and again in 1998-99. He remained an active competitor through 2002.
The other world champions are the late Buck Rutherford (all-around, 1954), Enoch Walker (saddle bronc riding, 1960), Tommy Puryear (steer wrestling, 1974) and Mike Beers (team roping, 1984). They will be enshrined with rodeo notable Bob Ragsdale, a 22-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier in three events (steer wrestling, team roping and tie-down roping).
Randy Corley, an 11-time PRCA Announcer of the Year, also will be inducted. Also voted in by the selection committee were four-time Bareback Horse of the Year, Christensen Bros.’ Smith & Velvet, and Ogden (Utah) Pioneer Days Rodeo organizing committee.
For the first time in the history of the ProRodeo Hall of Fame, barrel racers from the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) will be among the class of inductees. Their inaugural class will be Wanda Harper Bush, Charmayne James and a joint PRCA/WPRA equine inductee, Star Plaudit “Red.”
On the Professional Bull Riders’ circuit, Matt Triplett clinched the title at last weekend’s tour stop in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, after earning 625 points throughout the three-day show that concluded Sunday. After clinching the title, Nance is ranked ninth in the world title race with 1,260 points.
Eduardo Aparecido is ranked No. 1 in the world standings with 2,895. Jess Lockwood is No. 2 with 1,767.5. Chase Outlaw is No. 3 with 1764.16.
This weekend, the tour stops in Billings, Montana. The World Finals is Nov. 1-5 in Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena.
The 25th annual Tuff Hedeman Championship Challenge is 8 p.m. Saturday at Cowtown Coliseum in Fort Worth. The show is a Championship Bull Riders tour stop, which is produced by Hedeman, a four-time world champion. In its early years, it was a PBR show. In fact, the Hedemen event was one of the PBR’s early success stories in terms of bull riding becoming a stand-alone pro sport that could draw a crowd in a sizable city. Today, the Hedeman event helps riders qualify for the CBR’s finals competition in July in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Defending PRCA champion Sage Kimzey is among the field of competitors who is entered in this weekend’s Hedeman event in the Fort Worth Stockyards.
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Brett Hoffman, a Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame member, has written a rodeo column for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram over the past quarter-century. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.