In the world of rodeo, cowboy and cowgirl athletes are allowed to compete on the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association and the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association circuits at the same time.
One cowboy who has been making headway on both circuits this season is Riggin Smith, a Clarendon College student who competes in saddle bronc riding.
Smith has earned a trip to the NIRA’s College National Finals Rodeo, which is scheduled for June 9-15 in Casper, Wyo. During the past weekend, Smith clinched the saddle bronc riding title at the PRCA's Old Fort Days Rodeo in Fort Smith, Ark., according to prorodeo.com.
Smith said competing on both circuits at the same time is advantageous.
“They help each other out, really,” Smith said. “You’re always doing something, you’re always working toward what you want to do.”
Smith grew up in Iowa and earned a scholarship at Clarendon College in Clarendon after excelling in high school rodeos.
He qualified for the College National Finals as the result of clinching the 2018-2019 saddle bronc riding title in the NIRA’s Southwest Region, which is comprised of schools in Texas and New Mexico such as Texas Tech, Tarleton State, South Plains College and Eastern New Mexico.
At the May 27-June 1 Fort Smith rodeo, Smith clinched the saddle bronc riding title with a score of 85 aboard a bronc named Desert Stomper, which is owned by the Hampton Pro Rodeo stock contracting firm. He earned $2,544.
Bill Tutor of Huntsville, a two-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier, clinched the bareback riding title at the Fort Smith rodeo with an 82.5 on a bronc named Wrangler Moon, which is owned by the Beutler & Son Rodeo Co. Tutor earned $2,198.
He is ranked No. 9 in the 2019 PRCA bareback riding world title race with $45,630 in regular season earnings.
The World Champions Rodeo Alliance drew numerous world class competitors to its tour stop rodeo on Saturday, June 1, in Green Bay, Wis. One of them was Joao Ricardo Vieira who clinched the bull riding title at the Titletown Stampede with a final round score of 87.5. Vieira, a Brazilian who lives in Decatur, earned $74,777.
Thirteen-time Wrangler National Finals qualifier Cody DeMoss, a Louisiana cowboy, clinched the saddle bronc riding title with a score of 90.5. He pocketed $50,000.
In tie-down roping, Cory Solomon and Tanner Green finished as co-champions after each cowboy turned in a no-time in the two-man final round. They each earned $25,000.
Other champions were team ropers Garrett Tonozzi and Joe Mattern, steer wrestler Stockton Graves, barrel racer Michelle Darling, bareback rider Seth Hardwick and break-away roper Shelby Boisjoli.
Boisjoli also competes on the collegiate circuit for Ranger College. She has advanced to the June 9-15 College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyo., as the result of clinching the 2018-2019 break-away roping title in the NIRA Southwest Region.
The Green Bay WRCA show offered competitors a $1 million purse.
The WRCA show was held in conjunction with a Professional Bull Riders Unleash The Beast tour stop in Green Bay.
Cooper Davis, the 2016 PBR world champion who is from Jasper, clinched the title on Sunday, June 2, and earned $37,775. Jess Lockwood, the 2017 world champion, finished second and pocketed $19,230. Vieira finished third and collected $17,225.
Vieira earned the $17,225 at the PBR show, a day after pocketing $74,777 at the WCRA event. His total earnings for the weekend in Green Bay were $92,002.
Vieira is ranked No. 2 in the 2019 PBR world standings with 3,120 points. Jose Vitor Leme, a Brazilian who lives in Decatur, is ranked No. 1 with 3,456.66.