Over the last five years, I’ve watched bareback rider Steven Peebles develop. Even as a young man, he was one of the very best at his craft.
He keeps getting better. A couple of gnarly injuries the past two seasons have slowed the Oregon bronc buster down a tad, but he continues to be an overpowering talent. He proved it over the last few weeks at the Fort Worth Stock Show Rodeo.
On Saturday night, he rode Four Star Rodeo’s Lil’ Devil for 87 points for a three-way tie for first place in the championship round inside Will Rogers Coliseum, matching young-gun Bill Tutor and three-time reigning world champion Kaycee Feild.
But Peebles held the advantage heading into the final performance of 30 in Fort Worth, so he walked away with the average championship, scoring a cumulative total of 328 points on four rides. That was four points better than Feild, and Peebles finished with nearly $11,000 in earnings.
The big-money winner was barrel racer Shelly Anzick of Livingston, Mont., who gathered $15,126 in Fort Worth.
The story, though, may have been the father-son tandem of Cody and Rusty Wright. Cody won the championship and earned $11,088 in the process, but Rusty, an 18-year-old superstar in the making, shared the short-round title three ways with an 83 – he tied Sterling Crawley and Sam Spreadborough.
Rusty Wright also finished second in the average. Overall, the younger Utah cowboy pocketed $9,124.
Those are amazing stories. Other winners were steer wrestler Seth Brockman, team ropers Drew Horner and Buddy Hawkins, tie-down roper Chant DeForest and bull rider Joe Frost.