Brett Hoffman

ARLINGTON—Bull rider Dustin Boquet is a native of Bourg, Louisiana, and he claims it as his hometown in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world standings. But he actually lives in Athens.

On Tuesday, Dec. 8, Boquet had an attention grabbing round win at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

But it took three rides in one night to produce the winning score in the Round 6 performance at Globe Life Field.

Boquet, 26, turned in a sluggish score of 60 against the first bull he faced. He was awarded a reride because the bull failed underperformed.

Then, the next bull Boquet faced stumbled and he was awarded another reride. The third bull he faced proved to be the matchup he was looking for.

Boquet won Round 6 with an 88.5 aboard a bovine named Lonesome You, which is owned by the Pickett Rodeo Co.

“I guess my adrenaline was pumping fast enough that I didn’t have to worry about too much, except just keep getting on until we finally get one rode,” he said. “It was runnin’ and gunnin’ throughout the whole deal.”

Boquet also qualified for the National Finals in 2018. He has won the Round 6 performance in each of his NFR appearances. Two years ago, he clinched the Round 6 title with a 91-point effort aboard a bovine named Divinity, which is owned by Hi Lo Pro Rodeo.

In the money

Jeff Askey of Athens, who is making his fourth NFR appearance in bull riding, has been making headway at the 2020 Wrangler National Finals.

For example, he finished fourth second in Round 7 (on Wednesday, Dec. 9) with an 87. He also came in fourth in Round 8 (on Thursday, Dec. 10) with an 87.5.

Askey said he is enjoying competing in the Arlington NFR that’s in close driving range from his East Texas home. During his first three times to compete in the Wrangler NFR, the rodeo was in Las Vegas, which is about 1,300 miles away from his Athens area home.

“I’m excited that it’s here close to the house,” Askey said in an interview on Wednesday, Dec. 8. “I went home a few nights this week. All of last week, like during the check in (before the NFR began) and stuff, I was driving back and forth to the house and sleeping in my own bed.”

Shelley Morgan, who has homes in Eustace and Canton, has made prize winning barrel racing runs at the National Finals. For example, she had third place finishes in rounds 2, 3 and 7. She’s making her second NFR appearance.

The 2020 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo concludes with a Saturday night, Dec. 12, performance, which will be televised by the Cowboy Channel.

Crawford wins title

Jackie Crawford of Stephenville clinched the 2020 Women’s Professional Rodeo Association world title as the inaugural National Finals Breakaway Roping concluded its three-day run Thursday morning (Dec. 10) at Globe Life Field.

It was Crawford’s 20th gold buckle on the WPRA circuit. Crawford won the title despite a no-time during Round 5 on Wednesday. She received a no-time as the result of informing the judges that she had made an illegal catch (roped a back leg).

“If I had let that slide, knowing that it was a back leg, I wouldn’t have felt as proud of this world championship,” she said.

Despite taking a loss, Crawford still managed to win the gold buckle that was based on annual earnings. After the dust settled, she finished No. 1 in the world title race with $47,185. Martha Angelone of Stephenville finished second with $45,261 and Jordan Jo Fabrizio of Canyon came in third with $40,802.

“I haven’t been as emotional this whole time,” Crawford said. “But when they announced that was the first world champion breakaway roper, I kind of lost it. All the emotions hit. This is what we’ve pushed for all these years.”

It also was a moral victory for Crawford who is six months pregnant and expecting a daughter in March. While competing, she made adjustments such as taking the horn off of her saddle.

“I don’t feel uncomfortable, I don’t feel out of balance,” she said. “My horse takes care of me.”

Angelone clinched the event title with a finals round time of 2.3 seconds. Fabrizio came in second with a 2.5. Crawford and Lari Dee Guy of Abilene each received a 10-second penalty for breaking the barrier during the finals. Crawford turned in an 11.8 and Guy had a 12.0.

Asked about being the first NFBR event champion, Angelone said: “I can’t describe it. It’s an awesome feeling.”

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

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