Bradley Harter literally is back in the saddle.
At the end of last season, Harter, a seven-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo saddle bronc riding qualifier, switched saddles when he discovered his old one needed repair. But about three weeks ago, he had his old saddle repaired and he has been riding better since he began using it again.
“To a bronc rider, a good saddle is like a great horse to a roper,” Harter said. “With this repaired saddle, I’ve found my confidence is much better. It’s like it has given me new life. I’ve won about $20,000 since I’ve gotten back into it.”
During the weekend of July 31/Aug. 1-4, Harter, who is from Weatherford, won the famous XIT Rodeo in Dalhart after turning in a score 84 aboard a bronc named Medicine Bottle, owned by the Frontier Rodeo Co. ($2,394 in prize money). Harter also won Kansas’ Biggest Rodeo in Phillipsburg, Kan., after turning in an 81 atop the Beutler & Son Rodeo Co. bronc Al Capone ($2,440).
While competing at the Dodge City (Kan.) Round Up, he finished seventh in the average ($962). And at the Wild Bill Hickok Rodeo in Abilene, Kan., Harter tied for fourth place ($495).
After all that, Harter, 31, is ranked 10th in the Aug. 5 Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s saddle bronc riding world standings with regular season earnings of $42,816.
Harter said his repaired saddle has a great feel. In order to win, he must rhythmically spur a bronc, jump for jump for 8 seconds.
“It’s a saddle with an older tree and with narrower swells and it just fits a horse a lot better,” he said. “Those little things make a big difference.”
This week, Harter is scheduled to compete in Sikeston, Mo., Lawton, Okla., Lovington, N.M., Hermiston, Ore., and Omak, Wash.
“The good thing is I’m healthy and not sored up,” said Harter, adding that bronc riders easily can suffer from soreness this time of the season from mounting lots of bucking horses. “I’m 100 percent healthy.”
National Cutting horse update
Sean Flynn of Weatherford and a gelding named Buzzted won the Fort Worth-based National Cutting Horse Association Summer Spectacular Derby Open title on Aug. 3 after turning in a finals score of 225.
The victory earned the gelding’s owner, Tim May of Saltillo, Miss., the coveted $45,599 prize.
A stallion named Overdrive, ridden by Paul Hansma of Weatherford, finished second at 221.5.
The reserve championship earned Christy and Dub Leeth of Cleburne a $40,960 check.
In the Non-Pro Derby finals, Kevin Murray of Mission Hills, Kan., and a gelding named Travelin Smooth clinched the title with a 221 ($20,870). Mary Ann Rapp of Weatherford, who rode a mare named Rayzin, finished second with a 218 ($20,171).
The Summer Spectacular Derby open division was the third jewel of the NCHA’s Triple Crown Series.
The other two jewels were the December Futurity and the April Super Stakes — all three held in Fort Worth.
Steer wrestler Trevor Knowles, 32, a nine-time NFR qualifier, won the first round of the Big Sky ProRodeo Roundup in Great Falls, Mont., with a time of 2.9 seconds.
It broke the arena record of 3.5 set by the late Levi Wisness in 2006 and equaled a year ago by Jordan Holland.
According to the PRCA, it was Knowles’ personal best and the fastest time anybody’s turned in thus far this season.
The Professional Bull Riders Built Ford Tough Series tour will make two stops in Oklahoma this month. On Aug. 16-17, the Express Employment Professionals Classic will take place in Tulsa, and on Aug 30-31, the Winstar Casino World Invitational will stop in Thackerville.
Brett Hoffman, a Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame member, has written a rodeo col umn for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram the past quarter-century. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bradley Harter literally is back in the saddle.
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