OKLAHOMA CITY – Saddle bronc riding is considered the classic event in rodeo.
It’s the first thing most folks think about when they hear the word “rodeo” – it brings out the image of breaking a wild horse. There’s a reason why it stands as a symbol and why it’s prominent in the logo of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.
The men who do it well showcase true athleticism, and they’ll put on quite a show during the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo, set for 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 4; 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 5; and 1 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 6, at State Fair Arena in Oklahoma City.
“We’ll have good horses there, and it’s going to be a lot of fun,” said Taos Muncy, a two-time world champion from Corona, N.M. “I’d really like to win it someday. I’ve been second there three times, so winning it is one of my goals.”
It’s admirable. Muncy has reached the pinnacle in his chosen event, the first time in 2007 just six months after he won the collegiate bronc riding title while studying at Oklahoma Panhandle State University. He won his second championship in 2011. Now he’s ready to stake claim on ProRodeo’s National Championship.
“It’s always a tough event,” Muncy said of the RNCFR. “You’ve got guys that are going down the road full time, but there are some guys in there that don’t go as hard, but they can dang sure beat you any time.”
Jesse James Kirby has yet to qualify for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, but this marks the third time he’s competed at the national circuit finals.
“You get to compete against the top guys and get on some of the best bucking horses,” said Kirby, the year-end Prairie Circuit champion from Dodge City, Kan. “You get a shot for the bonus of a ($20,000) voucher for a Ram truck, and you can win some good money to help you through the rest of the spring.
“When you get on top-notch horses that go to the NFR every year, it just makes you that much better and gives you a taste of what it’s like throughout the year. It’s a good one to have on your resume.”