OKLAHOMA CITY – Many special things that happened to Trey Benton III in 2012.
He qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo for the first time. He was named the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s Bull Riding Rookie of the Year. He won the year-end title in the Texas Circuit.
It was the latter that earned him the right to compete at the 2013 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.
“I had an awesome rookie year, and this is awesome to be able to compete at this event,” said Benton, 21, of Rock Island, Texas. “I had a great year in Texas; I won close to $30,000 just in Texas.
“Now we’ve just got to get that national title.”
Now he’s part of the 24-man field that will test their mettle against the toughest bulls in in the business as they battle to earn ProRodeo’s National Championship. And for his part, Benton has already proven to be one of the elite cowboys in the game.
Benton earned $117,400 last season, winning 10 rodeos; two of those were in his home circuit, in Mercedes, Texas, and Seguin, Texas. But he also earned good money at rodeos in San Angelo, Texas, and Austin, Texas. Those were big moves that helped him qualify for Oklahoma City.
He suffered a torn ACL toward the end of last season but still competed at the NFR. This year, he’s down the money list, partly due to missing six weeks of competition after surgery to repair broken bones in his face.
“I was itching to go and ready to go by the time I was cleared to ride,” he said. “As soon as I got back, one of my traveling partners got hurt, but other than that, I’ve been gunning to go hard.
Now Benton hopes his outstanding rookie season rolls in an amazing sophomore campaign. He has a chance to make a significant point when he rides in Oklahoma City next week.
“I know it’s going to be as competitive as any other,” he said. “There are always going to be great guys rodeoing. Professional rodeo is as good as it gets.”