Stetson Wright had an unforgettable Wrangler NFR season on Saturday night in Las Vegas.
Before 17,788 spectators at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo presented by Teton Ridge, Wright set the single-season PRCA earnings record ($927,940), the all-around single-season earnings record ($758,829), the bull riding single-season earnings record ($592,144), and the bull riding earnings at the NFR record ($271,545), including ground money.
“This year has been awesome and the hardest year I have had in the PRCA,” said Wright, 23. ” It moved up to No. 1 after a very hot start. 1 on the planet in broncs and bulls. Also, it sort of didn’t dial back starting there on. However, I had a few injuries that necessitated surgery, so I had to sit out some rodeos. You don’t feel like you’re doing your best when you miss things like that. I had to learn to be patient a lot. When I had to sit out, I had to believe everything my parents said. I discovered that getting healthy over time is much more beneficial.
The cowboy from Milford, Utah, has won seven world championships so far, four of them in all-around (from 2019 to 22); two in saddle bronc riding and bulls (2020 and 2022).
Wright also won 15 of the 20 rounds he took part in at the Thomas & Mack Center in saddle bronc riding (seven) and bull riding (eight). With $335,797, Wright placed fourth in the saddle bronc riding portion of the PRCA | RAM World Standings.
Wright responded when asked about winning more than $900,000 in a single season, “I didn’t think it was.” This year, I feel like I’ve surprised myself a lot. It required patience and faith that everything would work out. That was the focus of this year.”
Wright made it clear right away that he has no intention of letting go of the gas pedal.
Wright stated, “I love breaking my own records because it indicates that I did better than I did the year before.” That is my objective to be better. If I keep my health good and don’t miss anything, I think I can do even better than I have this year. I truly believe I can perform better and set more records.
Caleb Smidt, a tie-down roper, has won four world and average titles. At the 2022 Wrangler NFR, he doubled his pleasure. The cowboy from Bellville, Texas, won his fourth NFR average and fourth world title.
A single-season PRCA tie-down roping record of $374,737 was earned by Smidt, a model of consistency. Additionally, he set a $225,221 NFR tie-down roping record for himself.
It’s beyond belief. “What I have done is beyond my wildest dreams,” Smidt stated. My family, my horse, and my faith in God motivated me to improve each day. Even doing this is a difficult sport. It’s hard to leave your family in the summer to come here, and it takes 10 days here. Doing this is an incredible blessing. It’s amazing to have achieved success and to have great friends who inspire me to be who I am every day. I wish my family well. All week, they have been there for me. I do it for them as well as the fans, and I give God all the credit.”
With an 82.5-second time on 10 head, Smidt won the average. In addition, he won the average and world titles in 2015, 2018, and 2021-22. Olin Young, a tie-down roper, is Smidt’s partner (1959, 1962-63, 1971); Roy Cooper (1976, 1979, 1983, 1995); and Fred Whitfield for the majority of NFR average wins (1991, 1997, 1999, 2002).
Smidt praised his star horse Pockets, saying, “I don’t even think I would have a gold buckle without him.” He is so talented. the consistency he instills in me each time I nod. It is beyond belief. It’s pretty simple when I get back there and know that I have to win. My horse is not a concern for me. This week, a lot of guys tried switching horses to find something that worked. I know I have a chance when I ride on him. It gives you a chance when you have a horse that does the same thing over and over again. He will carry out his duties.
Steer wrestler Tyler Waguespack wins his fourth world title Waguespack has won several world championships, but winning his fourth title on Saturday night seemed a little unlikely.
The top choices to win the world – Stetson Jorgensen and Will Lummus – staggered. In Round 10, Jorgensen was given no time, and Lummus broke the barrier. Waguespack came in and won his fourth world title. In addition, Waguespack won the world championship in 2016, 2018, 2021, and 2022.
With $268,881, Waguespack topped the world standings. He came out on top of Lummus, who won $266,188. With a time of 57.1 seconds on 10 head, Waguespack finished third in the average and split fourth in Round 10 (4.0 seconds).
Waguespack stated, “I feel undeserving of this world title.” I’ve never witnessed anything like that round of steer wrestling. Will Lummus bulldogged admirably throughout the week. I was actually pushed out of the average earlier in the week by the steer he had tonight, which was the steer I got the barrier on. That would never have occurred to me. Will ought to be seated here, not me. I was the fortunate one who prevailed in the end. That was one of the most bizarre rounds I’ve ever seen.
In steer wrestling world title circles, Waguespack is joining some elite company. Waguespack has won more world titles than Luke Branquinho and Homer Pettigrew, both of whom have six. The cowboy from Gonzales, Louisiana, is tied with Ote Berry, Everett Bowman, and Jim Bynum for four world titles.
Waguespack declared, “This is so awesome.” He added, “You know, I grew up watching all my heroes and dreaming about having one gold buckle.” Ote Berry has greatly assisted me and is one of my greatest supporters and role models. I can’t wait to see him in a little while because I have the same amount as he does and get to prove that I am still going so that maybe one day I will get one more on top of him. I can’t wait to see him.”
Zeke Thurston, a saddle bronc rider, wins his third world title. On Saturday night, the Canadian made it a hat trick.
In 2022, Thurston broke the PRCA single-season saddle bronc riding record by raising $399,316. This enabled him to claim his third gold buckle in his career. In addition, in 2016 and 2019, Alberta’s Thurston of Big Valley won world titles.
Regarding title No., Thurston stated, “This one was probably the hardest one I have ever had.” 3. ” This one required me to work for it. The remaining 14 men in the room have incredible riding skills and insane talent. Coming here, I had a lot of money to make up. I knew I would have a chance if I just rode each horse as well as I could and kept placing in the rounds. I did that as well. It’s really cool to have everyone, including my family, here. I’ve also won a few others. It’s really special to have them all here for this one.”
$256,078 was Thurston’s NFR saddle bronc riding record income. He won the average with 876.5 points on 10 heads, which earned him $74,150.
Thurston stated, “I am not typically an average-type of guy.” I was absolutely not prepared to win the average when I arrived here. In the end, it can either make or break you. I would almost rather not have been in that position because it starts to play tricks on your mind to be the one leading it from the beginning. I just hindered everything out and proceeded to make the most ideal ride this evening.
Team ropers Driggers/Nogueira win their second gold buckle in a row This is the second gold buckle in a row for header Kaleb Driggers and heeler Junior Nogueira, who won their second world championship in a row.
Driggers/Nogueira completed on their individual world standings with $340,708 each. At the NFR, they each received $112,830 and placed second in the average with a time of 71.4 seconds on nine heads.
Driggers stated, “This is what we’ve always dreamed about, being here and winning a gold buckle.” We went through a lot of difficulties this week. We needed to get past them. We didn’t get everything we wanted. We persevered by maintaining both our faith in the Lord and our faith in one another.”
His partner agreed with Nogueira.
Nogueira stated, “It was one of the toughest finals, especially for me, without winning a round.” Kaleb did an excellent job keeping me up to date. Excellent job! I guess I just kind of humbled myself a little bit. We needed to battle through it. There is no easy way. We always compete with the best men in the world, and they make it difficult for everyone. We were fortunate to have a good average, but we really needed to catch that last one, a difficult steer. We were able to carry it out. Additionally, you must give God all the glory.”
Jess Pope, a bareback rider, wins his first world title in his career. The wait is over for Jess Pope. The Waverly, Kansas, cowboy is the world champion in 2022 after placing third and second in the standings in 2020 and 2021, respectively.
“This is fantastic. There is nothing comparable to the feelings right now. It is so satisfying. I worked for this my entire life, and it finally came to pass.
“I knew I had it. It was simply allowing the cards to fall right and drawing right where I should and doing what I should when I was. The plan of God, I suppose, as it was intended to be.”
With 860 points on 10 heads, Pope also won the NFR average title for the third time in a row.
He declared, “Man, I was just showing up and taking it one horse at a time, being a cowboy.” I was able to perform my duties throughout the day, whether I was working or doing anything else. This feels amazing.
Hailey Kinsel, a barrel racer, wins her fourth world title in five years. Hailey Kinsel won her fourth world title in five years at the end of her 2022 season.
With $302,172, the Texas cowgirl won her second world title and became world standings leader. She won world titles from 2018 to 2020 as well.
“Oh, my. “It’s impossible to put this into words,” Kinsel said. Sister) is incredible. I really have no idea how or why she enjoys this so much and strives to improve each time. She gained strength throughout the week. She believed she could complete the remaining ten rounds. It made me feel very good to be able to inform her that we are quitting while we are ahead. When she has performed so well, it is beneficial to reward her with a day off. She’s so unique to me. She is akin to family. Our horses all are. Being around these women has been an incredible experience. We have amazing horses and a wonderful group of women.”
Jordon Briggs, the world champion in 2021, finished second to Kinsel with $274,520.
Zeke Thurston wins the RAM Top Gun Award in addition to being the world champion in saddle bronc riding in 2022. Thurston was the beneficiary of the distinction without precedent for his vocation as he won the most cash in a solitary occasion at the 2022 Wrangler NFR at $256,078.