postheadericon Wright at the top of his game

Cody Wright rides Korkow Rodeo's Painted Chip for 83 points to lead the second round at the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo. His two-ride cumulative score of 166 points leads the average race heading into the final day. (PRCA PHOTO BY JAMES PHIFER)

Cody Wright rides Korkow Rodeo’s Painted Chip for 83 points to lead the second round at the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo. His two-ride cumulative score of 166 points leads the average race heading into the final day. (PRCA PHOTO BY JAMES PHIFER)

GUTHRIE, Okla. – In all his years of competing in professional rodeo, saddle bronc rider Cody Wright had never been to the storied Lazy E Arena before this week’s Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo.

He may have found a second home.

Cody Wright

Cody Wright

On Friday night, Wright rodeo Korkow Rodeo’s Painted Chip for 83 points to take the second-round lead at ProRodeo’s national championship. It’s great timing, coming just 24 hours after his first-round winning, 83-point ride Thursday.

“It’s a great start,” said Wright, a two-time world champion from Milford, Utah. “To win the first round and to be winning the second round … is a good thing.”

Of course, Painted Chip had quite a bit to do with. The South Dakota-raised horse is known for being solid.

“He just turned out of there really good and jumped and kicked,” Wright said. “He felt like he was hanging in the air and giving me time to set my feet and make a ride the judges are looking for.”

The Utah cowboy knows what it takes to ride broncs. He has qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo 11 straight years. He earned rodeo gold in 2008 and 2010. This weekend’s festivities mark the eighth time he has qualified for the RNCFR. Now he’s leader in the average with a two-ride cumulative total of 166 points. He owns a three-point advantage of the No. 2 cowboy, Brandon Biebelle of San Lorenzo, N.M.

It’s important to be at the top of the pack, especially in this format, which features 24 contestants in each discipline. When the second round wraps after the performance that begins at 1 p.m. Saturday, only the top eight in each event advance to the semifinals, which begins at 7:30 p.m. The scores are then erased, and only the top four from that round move on to the finals. The contestants in each event with the best score or fastest time in the final round will be crowned national champions.

“I’ve done the best I could with what I had,” said Wright, whose brother, Jesse, is a two-time RNCFR bronc riding champion. “I’m not trying to compare myself with him. He’s way better than I am. I just try to be the best I can and win where I can.”

He’ll get another chance on the final night to see how it all plays out.

Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo

April 10-12, Guthrie, Okla.
Second round leaders

Bareback riding: 1. (tie) Caleb Bennett, on Korkow Rodeo’s Bambino Vold, and Tyrel Nelson, on Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Sadies Gal, 83 points; 3. Jared Smith, 82; 4. (toe) Shon Gibson, and Seth Hardwick, 81; 6. Caine Riddle, 79. Average leaders: 1. Caine Riddle, 162 points on two rides; 2. (tie) Tyrel Nelson and Seth Hardwick, 161; 4. Caleb Bennett, 158; 5. (tie) Shon Gibson and Jared Smith, 157; 7. Jessy Davis, 152; 8. Austin Foss, 151.

Steer wrestling: 1. Stockton Graves, 4.0 seconds; 2. Beau Franzen, 4.3; 3. (tie) Dirk Tavenner, Justin Morehouse and Olin Hannum, 4.4; 6. Wade Sumpter, 4.8. Average leaders: 1. Beau Franzen, 9.3 seconds on two runs; 2. Wade Sumpter, 9.7; 3. Ryle Smith, 10.10; 4. Joe Brown, 20.4; 5. Stockton Graves, 4.0 on one run; 6. Will Lummus, 4.1; 7. (tie) Nick Guy and Trevor Knowles, 4.2

Tie-down roping: 1. (tie) Adam Gray, and Cameron Elston, 8.9 seconds; 3. J.C. Malone, 9.1; 4. Josh Peek, 10.4; 5. Seth Opper, 11.2; 6. Jason Schaffer, 11.4. Average leaders: 1. Adam Gray, 18.1 seconds on two runs; 2. Josh Peek, 18.5; 3. J.C. Malone, 18.9; 4. Jerome Schneeberger, 20.6; 5. Jason Schaffer, 24.3; 6. Justin Thigpen, 31.6; 7. Cameron Elston, 33.7; 8. Chad Johnson, 47.0.

Saddle bronc riding: 1. Cody Wright, 83 points on Korkow Rodeo’s Painted Chip; 2. (tie) Brandon Biebelle, Jacobs Crawley and Heith DeMoss, 82; 5. (tie) Josh Reynolds, Lyle Welling and Ty Thompson, 73. Average leaders: 1. Cody Wright, 166 points on two rides; 2. Brandon Biebelle, 163; 3. Jacobs Crawley, 156; 4. Heith DeMoss, 155; 5. Josh Reynolds, 153; 6. Lyle Welling, 149; 7. Joaquin Real, 145; 8. Ty Thompson, 143.

Team roping: 1. Paul David Tierney/Jared Bilby, 4.6 seconds; 2. Jake Barnes/Cory Petska, 4.8; 3. Troy Boone/Derrick Peterson, 5.1; 4. Tadd Thomas/Dusty Morse, 10.7; no other qualified times. Average leaders: 1. Paul David Tierney/Jared Bilby, 9.7 seconds on two runs; 2. Jake Barnes/Cory Petska, 10.8; 3. Troy Boone/Derrick Peterson, 11.5; 4. Tadd Thomas/Dusty Morse, 16.3; 5. Dustin Bird/John Robertson, 4.5 seconds on one run; 6. Nick Sartain/Reagan Ward, 4.9; 7. Ty Blasingame/J.W. Borrego, 5.0; 8. (tie) Travis Bounds/Ryan Zurcher and Justin Davis/Ryan Motes, 5.4.

Barrel racing: 1. Sherry Cervi, 17.26 seconds; 2. Kenna Squires, 17.38; 3. Laura Kennedy, 17.39; 4. Ann Scott, 17.47; 5. Cindy Woods, 17.50; 6. Lisa Lockhart, 17.61. Average leaders: 1. Ann Scott, 34.83 seconds on two runs; 2. June Holeman, 34.89; 3. Laura Kennedy, 34.92; 4. Lisa Lockhart, 35.06; 5. Cindy Woods, 35.33; 6. McKale Hadley, 35.51; 7. Lindsay Kruse, 35.65; 8. Taylor Young, 35.68.

Bull riding: 1. Aaron Pass, 78 points on D&H Cattle’s Fire Show; 2. Brady Portenier, 75; no other qualified rides. Average leaders: 1. Aaron Pass, 166 points on two rides; 2. Reid Barker, 85 points on one ride; 3. (tie) Cody Campbell, Bobby Welsh, Mike Adams and Taygen Schuelke, 83; 7. Jeff Bertus, 82; 8. Tustin Daye, 79.

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