In the world of pro rodeo, July could be called “Jumping July.”
That’s because there are an abundance of higher paying rodeos, particularly during the July 4 week. The Independence Day week is called Cowboy Christmas because there are more enticing rodeos that are either conducted on or near July 4 than competitors can make.
Throughout July, competitors jump in and out of autos and airplanes as they compete in one rodeo after another.
One cowboy who has had remarkable success this month is three-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo tie-down roping qualifier Reese Riemer of Stinnett. For example, Riemer clinched the tie-down roping title at the July 1-4 Cody Stampede in Cody, Wyoming, with a time of 8.2 seconds and earned $9,912.
He also finished as the reserve champion at the June 25-July 1 Ponoka Stampede in Ponoka, Alberta, and pocketed $13,208 in total earnings (Canadian).
“Everybody starts off the Fourth of July with big hopes, big dreams of having a big week,” Riemer said. “There are so many good rodeos going on throughout the country.”
Riemer also won the tie-down roping title at the West of the Pecos Rodeo in Pecos where he pocketed $6,353.
Riemer said he began what he counted as his July 4 run at the June 26-29 Pecos rodeo and concluded it at the July 2-6 St. Paul Rodeo in St. Paul, Oregon. He said he also competed in Williams Lake, British, Columbia; Aidrie, Alberta; Window Rock, Arizona; West Jordan, Utah; Red Lodge, Montana; Livingston, Montana; Prescott, Arizona; and Greeley, Colorado.
Reimer finished fourth in the second round in St. Paul and earned $2,187. He also tied for fifth in the first round in Greeley and pocketed $1,712.
“There were a lot of all-night drives and a lot of flying,” Riemer said. “I’ve flown more the last two weeks than I’ve flown the last two years combined.”
Riemer is ranked No. 17 in the PRCA’s 2019 tie-down roping world title race with $42,633 (in the weekly PRCA world standings released July 8).
Another cowboy who prospered during Cowboy Christmas was Stetson Wright, a PRCA rookie who fares well in both saddle bronc riding and bull riding. Wright clinched all-around titles at Independence Day week rodeos in St. Paul ($16,806 in total earnings), Cody ($6,637), West Jordan ($1,774) and Oakley City, Utah ($4,371). Wright, who turns 20 on July 30, is the son of two-time world champion saddle bronc rider Cody Wright.
Wright, a Milford, Utah cowboy, is ranked No. 1 in the PRCA’s world all-around race (in the weekly world standings released July 8) with $105,437. Caleb Smidt is ranked No. 2 with $101,646. Tuf Cooper, the 2017 world all-around champion, is ranked No. 4 with $84,068.
Four-time world champion Kaycee Feild had a significant victory at the July 1-7 Prescott rodeo in Arizona. The Genola, Utah, cowboy clinched the $6,056 bareback riding title with an 89 point effort aboard United Pro Rodeo's Pow Wow Nights. During the past three months, Feild has been sidelined with a head injury that he suffered on March 30 at RodeoAustin in Austin.
According to prorodeo.com, Feild suffered a skull fracture, an inline fracture of his jaw and inline fracture of his nasal cavity and had to take time off to heal.
After winning in Prescott, Feild is ranked No. 1 in the PRCA bareback riding world standings (July 8) with $130,104. Orin Larsen is ranked No. 2 with $119,650. Bill Tutor, a two-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier from Huntsville, is ranked 15th in the world standings with $48,605.
A big score
As organizers of the Cody Stampede in Wyoming celebrated the rodeo’s 100th anniversary during the July 4 week, fans witnessed two outstanding bareback riding performances.
Prior to the 2019 edition, the Cody rodeo’s bareback riding record score belonged to former NFR qualifier Ty Breuer who had a 91 point ride in 2013. But during the performance on July 2, Orin Larsen of Inglis, Manitoba, broke Breuer’s record with a 93-point effort on a C5 Rodeo’s bronc named Make Up Face.
But that record stood for only two days. On July 4, seven time NFR qualifier Caleb Bennett broke Larsen’s record with a 93.5 aboard a bronc named Gun Fire, which is owned by the Frontier Rodeo Co.
According to prorodeo.com, the 93.5 is only a half point shy of the PRCA’s world record bareback riding score of 94, which is shared by four cowboys. They are Wes Stevenson (2002), Will Lowe (2003), Ryan Gray (2009) and Tilden Hooper (2010).
FW Stockyards rodeo
Tillar Murray, a 2017 National Finals qualifier from Fort Worth, clinched the barrel racing title at the July 5-6 Stockyards Championship Rodeo, a weekly rodeo at Cowtown Coliseum in the Fort Worth Stockyards. Murray finished No. 1 in the title race with a time of 13.97 seconds. According to prorodeo.com, it was the fastest time in Women’s Professional Rodeo Association pro rodeo competition throughout July 1-7.
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 three decades. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.