On a late afternoon in early August, Stetson and Ryder Wright rolled onto the Days Of ‘76 Rodeo grounds in Deadwood, South Dakota, in a cloud of dust that stretched straight back to Cheyenne; a cloud a lot straighter than the whirlwind Stetson has been riding since this, the start of his PRCA rookie year.
The third youngest son of world champion bronc rider, Cody Wright and his sweet wife, ShaRee, 21-year-old Stetson has a $33,000 lead on the number two man in the all-around standings, team and tie-down roper Caleb Schmidt. He’s second in the bull riding standings and twenty-first in the bronc riding making him the best chance PRCA rough stock fans have had to see an all-around champion since Ty Murray’s last one twenty-one years ago.
Back in Deadwood, the younger Wright brothers skidded in, said their quiet hellos and went about the business of getting ready to ride their bucking horses. It was done quickly and deftly, help to step in from the legendary South Dakota bronc hand Rorey Lemmel for Stetson briefly, then it was all about the brothers helping each other out. Both rode well, but that night, the judges liked other rides better, so it was back to the videos each had shot of the other from the comfort of their saddles, then time for Stetson’s wardrobe change. Comparatively puny, fat, free-spinning rowels on short offset shanks were swapped for long-shanked, locked-rowel bull spurs and several feet of leather latigo were carefully wrapped from the ankle of his riding boot and tied off high. He grabbed a helmet and went to find his bull, world champion brother Ryder hot on his heels.
CLN: How do you feel about Stetson riding bulls?
Ryder: He likes it – so I like it for him.
CLN: I wouldn’t be on this platform right now if not for Stetson.
Ryder: Neither would I.
Together they got through the bull drawn for him who didn’t have his trip that night and the re-ride to get drawn off in the well and hung up for a bit before parting company well before the 8-second whistle. Then back on the road bound for Cheyenne Frontier Days’ Semi-Finals. Both would qualify for the short round there, Stetson would win the bull riding and the prestigious CFD All-Around titles.
Dodge City would see Stetson ride his bull for 86 points but break his jaw in four places. He’s had surgery and is counting the days until he can ride again. With the crazy good money staked during the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in December, if he rides as good coming off of the injured list as he has all season, rookie of the year titles in both events, the all-around and event championships are all within reach. Don’t count him out – we sure haven’t!
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