Rusty Wright. PRCA Photo by Dan Hubbell
CLOVIS, Calif. – There were many impressive performances during the second day of the Clovis Rodeo, but Rusty Wright stole the show.
The 20-year-old vaulted to the saddle bronc riding lead at the April 22-24 rodeo with an 88-point ride on Burch Rodeo’s Lunatic From Hell.
“I had been on him two other times,” Wright said. “The first time, he bucked me off, and the second time I was 86 on him to win (the Wrangler Champions Challenge) in Rapid City (S.D.). So I knew exactly what I was getting today.”
On a day when six Wrights competed in the saddle bronc riding – including Rusty’s dad, Cody, a two-time world champion – the youngest member of the rig ended up with the top score.
In addition to his father, Rusty bested four of his uncles – Alex, Jake, Jesse and Spencer – as well as his brother-in-law, CoBurn Bradshaw.
“You could say it’s a friendly rivalry between all of us,” said Rusty, who’s currently sixth in the world. “It really depends on the day and the horse each guy gets as to who’s going to have the best score. We all ride well, but I’m happy it went my way today, and I hope that score holds up.”
Wright will have to wait until Sunday evening to find out if his 88 will stand up as the top score of the one-head saddle bronc riding competition.
While the young guy has been drawing well so far in 2016, his dad says that’s only half the formula for winning.
“He’s been drawing the good ones, but he’s also been riding them really well every time,” Cody Wright said of his son. “I’m always happy to see him have success.”
On the timed-event side, Adam Gray has continued his recent hot streak in the tie-down roping.
Gray, who sat 10th in the world entering the weekend, is fresh off a big win in Logandale, Nev., two weeks ago.
After three rounds in Clovis, the Seymour, Texas, cowboy has put himself in a good position to win the four-head average title. He placed second in the third round Saturday with an 8.3-second run, and leads the average race with a time of 27.9 seconds on three head.
“I finished one spot out of the money in the first two rounds, so to be able to win some money today was important,” Gray said. “I flew out here and have been here all week, so I needed to draw blood and win some.”
Gray didn’t haul any of his horses from the Lone Star State, and after riding three different horses in the first three rounds, he found one that worked well.
“I’ve been mounting out, so it was kind of like horse musical chairs,” he said. “I rode Russell Cardoza’s today, and I’ll be on that same little mare tomorrow.”
While the roughstock events are a one-header decided over three days, the timed-events will be decided with a 12-man final round Sunday. Gray is the leader of the pack, but he’s not going to worry about that.
“I try not to put too much extra thought into it, and I want to keep tying them down like I did the first three,” Gray said. “I’ve stayed with some great friends out here and have enjoyed my time here in Clovis. This is a great rodeo, and the fans here are incredible.”
The final performance of the Clovis Rodeo is set for 2 p.m. Sunday. For in-progress results, click here http://goo.gl/Y6vv3d.
For complete coverage from Clovis, check out the May 6 issue of the ProRodeo Sports News