Pro Rodeo Weekend News Roundup - June 1-4

Frey wins Fort Smith with fast finish

FORT SMITH, Ark. – Steer wrestler Shane Frey is on a mission to become the third man in his family to compete under the bright lights of Las Vegas. His performance at the Old Fort Days Rodeo will help that mission.

The 25-year-old from Duncan, Okla., won the second round Saturday night at the rodeo’s final performance with a time of 3.9 seconds, which also propelled him to the average title with a two-head time of 9.2 seconds.

Frey, who entered the weekend 27th in the WEATHER GUARD® PRCA World Standings, earned a total of $3,700. He’s hoping to reach the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo presented by Polaris RANGER for the first time, which would put him in the same company as his father, Shawn, and uncle, Winston.

“Making it to the NFR would be a dream come true,” Frey said. “I want to become the third member of my family to make it there. From the time I was a little kid, I wanted to be a bulldogger. My parents told me from the time I was 2 years old that I wanted to bulldog. I got a little too big to ride bucking horses anyways, so it ended up working out.”

Frey, who checks in at 6-1 and 225 pounds, is definitely too big to ride bareback horses as his father did while making NFR appearances from 1988-90. 

His uncle made it to Las Vegas as a steer wrestler in 1993, and Frey’s grandfather, Warren, competed in both bareback riding and steer wrestling, as well as bull riding.

Just two years ago, Shane making to the WNFR seemed like a pipe dream. He finished 133rd in the world in 2015, but since then, has been on an upward trajectory.

“I got a new horse (12-year-old Ruger) about three years ago, and it’s taken some time for us to get on the same page, but he’s been working great this year,” Frey said. “A lot of my success is about my mindset – I changed my practice schedule and my work ethic, and have been working a lot harder at it. My traveling partner, Riley Duvall, has been a big help as well.”

Frey finished a career-best 29th in the world last season, and should move into the Top 25 on the strength of his Fort Smith win.

After a 5.3-second run in the first round, which didn’t earn a check, Frey stayed focused and clocked a blazing-fast 3.9 in the final round to take the title.

“I was just planning on coming back and being solid with my second run,” he said. “I showed up and liked my steer, and some of the guys who had luck in the first round fell out of the average. I was as sharp as I could be, and it went my way.”

Frey edged Blair Jones by a tenth of a second for the average title, and was four tenths faster than traveling partner Duvall, who finished third.

“I tried to carry that same mentality from last year into this year, and I’ve been trying to keep a positive head when things aren’t going so good,” Frey said. “I’ve had a good start to this season, and I’m having a lot of fun.

“I’m very happy with the position I’ve put myself in, and feel like I’ve given myself a good shot coming into the summer, and that’s what I wanted to do.”

Other winners at the $121,415 rodeo were all-around cowboy Marcus Theriot ($4,400 in tie-down roping, steer wrestling and team roping), bareback rider Tim O’Connell (85.5 points on Andrews Rodeo’s Fire Water), team ropers Theriot/Cody Doescher (4.1 seconds), saddle bronc riders Joe Lufkin (87 points on Stace Smith Pro Rodeos’ Midnight Cowboy) and Brody Cress (87 points on Andrews Rodeo’s Lock And Load), tie-down roper Shane Hanchey (17.3 seconds on two head), barrel racer Taylor Carver (16.47 seconds) and bull riders Guthrie Murray (88 points on Andrews Rodeo’s Rawhide Jacket) and Trevor Kastner (88 points on Andrews Rodeo’s Mellow Yellow).

For more coverage of the Old Fort Days Rodeo, check out the June 23 issue of the ProRodeo Sports News.

Cody Wright wins Spanish Fork WCC two days after son

SPANISH FORK, Utah – It’s all Wright now in the saddle bronc riding world as Cody Wright won the Wrangler Champions Challenge presented by Justin Boots at Spanish Fork just two days after his son, Ryder Wright, won the WCC in Santa Maria, Calif.  

Cody Wright’s 88-point ride on Powder River Rodeo’s Look Again raked in $3,944 – more than enough to burst the bubble and get him back into the Top 15 of the WEATHER GUARD® PRCA World Standings. 

“That’s good news for me – it’s always good to be moving up the ladder,” Wright said. 

Prior to Spanish Fork, the Utah cowboy was sitting at No. 16 with $23,454, a mere $334 away from joining Ryder, Jesse and Jake Wright in the Top 15. Although it’s still anyone’s game as far as qualifying for the 2017 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo presented by Polaris RANGER, Cody Wright has his hopes up that this year’s Finals will be a family affair. 

“There’s a lot of rodeo season left, but if everyone keeps up with what they’re doing and getting better, we should be in good shape,” Wright said. “The more the merrier, if you ask me.” 

Competition was tight for the saddle bronc riding, but Wright represented Team Coors well as his bronc turned out of the chute and provided plenty of buck and kick to keep Wright ahead of the pack. 

“It seemed like she just got better and better,” Wright said while describing his ride. “It’s an awesome rodeo – close to home and has good money, good horses, good cowboys and good competition. It’s always nice to win with all of them factored in there.”

Spanish Fork is the 35th WCC event since the series began in 2013 and it’s the fifth event of this 2017 season – the others were Rapid City, S.D. (Feb. 1), Grand Island, Neb. (March 3), Redding, Calif. (May 20) and Santa Maria, Calif. (June 1). 

“They had a bunch of good horses out and they all made good rides, and it was nice to sneak out of there with that win,” Wright said. 

Although the Spanish Fork WCC was only three hours from his home, most of his family was watching one of the youngest Wrights, Stetson, compete at the Utah State High School Finals Rodeo in Heber City, where he won the saddle bronc riding and placed second in bull riding. 

“He’s been doing really good and I’m proud of him,” Wright said, adding that Rusty placed fourth and Spencer Wright placed fifth at the Fort Herriman PRCA Rodeo in Herriman, Utah, on Saturday night. “I’m just excited for everyone that they’ve been able to do so well and stay in there.”

Up next, Wright is heading to Delta, Utah, for the Days of the Old West Rodeo on June 8, and then the Cedar City (Utah) PRCA Championship Rodeo immediately after that; then he’s off to the Eagle (Idaho) Rodeo. 

Other winners at the $92,800 WCC event were bareback rider Orin Larsen of Team Coors (86 points on Bar T Rodeo’s Rubies Girl), steer wrestler Nick Guy of Team Las Vegas (4.6 seconds), team ropers Coleman Proctor/Billie Jack Saebens of Team RAM (5.2 seconds), tie-down roper J.C. Malone of Team Ream’s Western Outfitters (7.5 seconds), barrel racer Stevi Hillman of Team Resistol (16.84 seconds) and bull rider Scottie Knapp of Team Ream’s Western Outfitters (90 points on D&H Cattle’s Brandy’s Bad Boy). 

For more coverage of the Wrangler Champions Challenge presented by Justin Boots at Spanish Fork, check out the June 23 issue of the ProRodeo Sports News.

Ryder Wright claims WCC win in Santa Maria


SANTA MARIA, Calif. – Twice this season, Rosser Rodeo's Colt 45 saddle bronc horse was too much for Ryder Wright to handle.

The third meeting was a different story.

Wright was ready for the challenge of Colt 45 – and he won the battle.

The Milford, Utah, cowboy had an 84.5-point ride on Rosser Rodeo’s Colt 45 to win the Wrangler Champions Challenge presented by Justin Boots at the Elks Unocal Event Center.

“That horse just bucks and is difficult to ride,” Wright said. “This time I gave the horse a little bit more rein so I could I stay back and lift better. The first time I got on (Colt 45) I sat on my feet and the second time I think my rein was a little too short. It’s awesome to get this win, and get a good check.”

This was the first career WCC event victory for Wright, 19, who was competing for Team RAM. He earned $3,944 for his performance. Ryder edged his father, Cody and Hardy Braden, who tied for second with 84-point rides. Ryder and his dad left Milford at 6 a.m. Thursday and made the 9½-hour trip to Santa Maria.

“I didn’t know if my score would hold because there were a lot of good horses and good riders left to go after I made my ride,” Ryder said. “You’re always hoping for the best, but you never know. This win helps my confidence. It always helps when you can get on a good horse like that and win.”

The WCC events began in 2013 and this was the 34th event held and the first at Santa Maria. This was the fourth WCC event this season – the others were Rapid City, S.D. (Feb. 1), Grand Island, Neb. (March 3), and Redding, Calif. (May 20). Ryder had earned $1,856 at WCC events this season and all that came at Redding.

Ryder was 11th in the May 30 WEATHER GUARD® PRCA World Standings with $27,440. He made a spectacular debut at the 2016 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo presented by Polaris RANGER, winning Rounds 1 through 4 and Round 9, and he left Vegas after earning $141,154. He finished fourth in the final world standings.

“I just want to keep my momentum going,” Ryder said.

He’s competing at the Santa Maria Elks Rodeo June 2 and then will try to make it two WCC event wins in a row when he rides at Spanish Fork, Utah, June 3.

Other winners at the $92,800 rodeo were bareback rider Evan Jayne of B&W Trailer Hitches (85.5 points on Rosser Rodeo's Flood Tide), steer wrestler Dakota Eldridge of B&W Trailer Hitches (5.2 seconds), team ropers Coleman Proctor/Billie Jack Saebens of Team RAM and Dustin Bird/Russell Cardoza of Team Coors (6.0 seconds each), tie-down roper Hunter Herrin of Boot Barn (7.6 seconds), barrel racer Lisa Lockhart of B&W Trailer Hitches (17.13 seconds) and bull rider Shane Proctor of Team Coors (88 points on Flying U Rodeo's Reindiction).

For more coverage of the Wrangler Champions Challenge presented by Justin Boots at Santa Maria, check out the June 23 issue of the ProRodeo Sports News.