GUTHRIE, Okla. – Wesley Silcox and Cody Teel are about as different as two bull riders can be.
Silcox, 28, is from Utah and is now in his 11th season competing in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association; he is 5-foot-8 and has qualified to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo six times in his career. Teel is a 21-year-old, 6-foot-tall Texan who has competed at the NFR each of the last two years; this is just his third season in ProRodeo.
But they share something spectacular: the gold buckles awarded annually to world champions. Silcox won his in 2007, while Teel earned his in his first trip to Las Vegas in 2012. They’re two of the top bull riders in the game that will be part of ProRodeo’s National Championship, the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo, scheduled for 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 10; 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 11; and 1 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 12, at the Lazy E Arena near Guthrie.
They are joined by a number of the top bull riders in the game, including NFR qualifiers Brett Stall, Bobby Welsh, Steve Woolsey and Oklahoman Trevor Kastner. Welsh is the elder statesman of the group. When the competition begins, he will be 30 years old; he also has qualified for the NFR seven times, matched only by Woolsey.
Who holds the advantage inside the Lazy E? It’s tough to tell, because there are so many variables in bull riding, but Welsh is the only one of who has earned the RNCFR title, doing so in 2012.
Can he do it again? The bulls will have something to say about it, and so will rodeo’s best.