Jeff Askey

Athens native Jeff Askey has struggled a bit at the 2019 National Finals Rodeo, but still finished with money in Round 4 of bull riding.

When Jeff Askey learned he would face the bucking bull, He Reigns, at the PRCA Xtreme Bulls show in Weatherford, the three-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier acquired scouting reports.

Askey, 32, who lives in the Eustace and Athens area, had never seen He Reigns buck in a rodeo arena before he took on the bull in Weatherford on July 7 and so he relied on the advice of others. The bull spun to the right during a tough bout that lasted eight seconds, just like he was told.

"A couple of guys told me that he was pretty good, that he would go right and would be kind of strong and that's just what he did," Askey said.

Askey tied for first with an 88 aboard He Reigns, which is owned by the Lancaster & Jones Pro Rodeo.

Askey, who earned $3,414 for his eight seconds of work atop He Reigns, jokingly said he was "glad to not be out sweating in the heat for a day to make some money. It's a lot hotter in the middle of the day than it is to ride bulls in the evening."

After clinching the title, Askey was ranked No. 12 in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association's 2020 bull riding standings (released July 13).

Askey tied for first at the Xtreme Bulls show with four-time National Finals qualifier Trevor Kastner who turned in an 88 aboard a bovine named Shagga, owned by the Rafter H Rodeo Livestock firm.

During this challenging time when many rodeos have cancelled because of coronavirus concerns, the rodeo activities this year in Weatherford originally were scheduled for June 9-13, but the PRCA shows were rescheduled. The PRCA Rodeo was July 8-11, following the July 7 Xtreme Bulls show.

During the PRCA rodeo, two-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier Bill Tutor of Huntsville tied for first in bareback riding with an 88 on a bronc named Painted River, which also is owned by Pete Carr Rodeo. He tied for first with Leighton Berry of Weatherford who turned in an 88 aboard the Carr bronc Miss Texas.

Tutor is ranked No. 21 in the PRCA's 2020 bareback riding world standings.

Six-time National Finals qualifier Sterling Crawley of Huntsville tied for fourth in saddle bronc riding with an 81.5. Crawley also tied for third in saddle bronc riding at the July 8-11 Dinosaur Roundup Rodeo in Vernal, Utah, with an 84.5. After all that, Crawley is ranked No. 9 in the PRCA's saddle bronc riding world standings.

Four-time world champion Tuf Cooper, who has homes in Weatherford and Decatur, won the steer roping second round with a 10.2. Cooper is ranked first in the PRCA's 2020 world all-around standings. He's also ranked second in the tie-down roping world standings and 14th in the steer roping title race.

Four-time National Finals Steer Roping qualifier Jarrett Blessing of Paradise clinched the steer roping title with a three-run time of 35.2 seconds. In team roping, former National Finals qualifiers Ryan Motes of Weatherford and Coleman Proctor, an Oklahoma cowboy, finished first in team roping with a 4.2.

Brody Yeary of Morgan Mill clinched the bull riding title with an 88 on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo's Concho Lizzard. Other champions were steer wrestler Shade Etherton (3.3 seconds); saddle bronc rider Jake Finlay (87.5 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo's Cheap Thrills); tie-down roper (Hunter Herrin, 7.7 seconds); and barrel racer Jill Tanner (17.27 seconds).

Carr, who lives in Dallas and owns a rodeo livestock ranch in the Athens area, served as the Weatherford rodeo's senior stock producer.

Cutting horse update

Forty years ago, Lindy Burch of Weatherford became the National Cutting Horse Association’s first female rider to win the open division title at the NCHA Futurity, the sport’s most prestigious show.

When the NCHA Metallic Cat Summer Spectacular began on July 10 at Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum in Fort Worth, Burch, who is a longtime cutting horse industry insider, was the first competitor to make a 2 1/2-minute run aboard a horse named Reys Delight to kick off the 20-day show. The duo turned in an above average score of 219.

The 2020 Summer Spectacular, which runs through July 29, is undergoing some changes because of coronavirus concerns. Fans and competitors must wear masks in the coliseum unless they are riding a horse or making a competitive run. Also, parties and awards banquets have been canceled.

“It will be kind of a bare-bones cutting,” Burch said. “But at least we get to cut.”

Cutting horse competitors were denied the opportunity to compete in the Super Stakes, a sister show in Fort Worth that was canceled because of COVID-19. The Super Stakes was scheduled for March 24-April 18.

“We were really sad and disappointed when we couldn’t have the Super Stakes,” Burch said. “So it’s good to have the summer cutting when a lot of states are still shut down. We’re very lucky.”

PBR competition update

On July 10-12, PBR competitors rode before fans at the Danny Sanford Premier Center, an indoor arena in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. They had been riding for several weeks before no fans at the South Point Arena, an indoor arena in Las Vegas, leading up to the Sioux Falls show that was the Monster Energy Team Championship.

Team Cooper Tires (Jose Vitor Leme, Sage Kimzey, Keyshawn Whitehorse, and Stetson Lawrence), clinched the title.

Leme, a former PBR World Finals qualifier from Decatur, won the MVP title and the $10,000 prize that went with it. According to pbr.com, Leme earned $47,000 during the entire Monster Energy Team Challenge, the series of weekly shows in Las Vegas and Sioux Falls.

Fabiano Vieira injured

Eight-time PBR World Finals qualifier Fabiano Vieira suffered a skull fracture and underwent brain surgery on July 2 following injuries that he had sustained the previous day at the 90th annual Texas Cowboy Reunion in Stamford.

Vieira, 37, a Brazilian who lives in the Decatur area, remains hospitalized at Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene, where he underwent surgery.

Jilian Vieira, Fabiano’s wife, told the PBR this week that she's grateful for the support and prayers PBR fans have sent.

“I've been learning these days that Fabiano is very loved here in the United States, as well as in Brazil,” Jilian Vieira said. “I have received messages even from people all over the world.”

Stock contractor Renato Teixeira and his family created a GoFundMe for Fabiano Vieira.

Vieira was the No. 10 ranked bull rider in the 2020 PBR world standings at the time of his injury in Stamford.

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Brett Hoffman, a Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame member, has reported on rodeos and horse shows for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for more than 35 years. Email him at bchoffman777@earthlink.net.

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