SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Stock Show Rodeo offers one of the largest prize pools in the sport. For cowboys who make their living in rodeo, it’s an important stop to their season.
The brightest stars in the game make magic happen in the Alamo City each February, and this year was no different. Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifiers J.R. Vezain and Tyler Corrington proved that with impressive runs, culminated by wild rides to
claim the 2013 San Antonio championships.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Corrington, a saddle bronc rider from Hastings, Minn., who rode Classic Pro Rodeo’s Big Tex for 85 points to win the final go-round Saturday night, earning $12,445 on that ride alone – he finished the rodeo with $16,293.
More importantly, he left San Antonio with a title everyone in the sport covets.
“It’s one of the best buckles going, and it’s one of the best rodeos in the sport,” said Corrington, who pushed his 2013 earnings to $30,024, good enough for second in the world standings. “It’s one of the top rodeos for everybody to win.”
It was the first trip for Big Tex under owner Pete Carr, who purchased Classic Pro Rodeo last week. The 13-year-old bay gelding is just three years removed from being named the PRCA’s Bareback Horse of the Year and has since been bucking in saddle bronc riding most of the time since.
“He’s just always been a great horse,” said Corrington, who qualified for the 2011 NFR. “He’s one of the few bareback horses I knew before he became a bronc, because he was just so outstanding. We were all pretty excited when he got moved over to broncs. He’s done nothing but be awesome.
“I knew ahead of time that I’d drawn pretty good, but it’s a pretty good sign when you’re sitting in the hospitality are and all your buddies are jealous of you because of what you’ve drawn.”
Bareback riders felt the same way about Vezain, a 2012 NFR qualifier from Cowley, Wyo. Vezain matched moves with Carr Pro Rodeo’s Dirty Jacket for 88 points, tying two-time reigning world champion Kaycee Feild for the short-round win, yet outlasting Feild by just $1 to claim the San Antonio rodeo’s top prize.
“He had a great big rare out of the chute,” Vezain said of the 9-year-old bay gelding. “He sent my feet, and everything got rolling from there. I felt like I was eating him up.
“That is on the list of the top five bareback rides I have ever made.”
It worked pretty well. Vezain and Feild earned $10,889 each for sharing the final-round win. That was a big percentage of the earnings for Vezain, the 2012 Canadian bareback riding champion who earned an event best $17,030 inside the AT&T Center. The money moved him to No. 3 in the PRCA world standings with $20,315. He knew even before he arrived in San Antonio he had a good chance to win the title.
“The day we got the stock list for the short round, I wanted to have Dirty Jacket bad,” he said, explaining that the animals and cowboys are matched together through a random draw. “I couldn’t hardly sleep that night when I found out I’d plucked him. I knew I had a chance to be 90 points, and that’s the best feeling going into the short round.
“That was a true blessing to have that big bucking horse in the short round.”