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Bronc riders duel for title on Texas Circuit

By Brett Hoffman | Published Wednesday, January 10, 2018
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The bareback riding title race throughout the recent Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Texas Circuit Finals in Waco was a showdown between two accomplished riders who reside in the southern part of the state.

Jake Brown of Cleveland edged Bill Tutor of Huntsville by a point, 254.5-253.5, in the average/aggregate race after both cowboys had busted three broncs.

Brown and Tutor tied for first in both the second and third rounds. In the second round, they turned in scores of 83. In the third round, they each had 86.5s.

Brown won the first round with an 85, edging Tutor by a point, which proved to be the difference.

During the third round and closing performance on Saturday, Tutor took the lead in the average when he turned in the 86.5.

As the last rider, Brown had to produce a score of at least 86 to clinch the title. He turned in the 86.5 to win the average/aggregate title by a point.

“Bill is one of my closest friends, and it’s good to be in competition with him,” Brown said. “We gutted it out to the end.”

Brown earned $8,572 at the Waco championships. After winning the title, Brown is ranked second in the PRCA’s world bareback riding standings with $18,114.

Tutor pocketed $7,311. He leads in the world rankings with $19,663.

Brown has earned three trips to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. Tutor qualified for the finals for the first time last year.

A year ago, Tutor clinched the bareback riding title at the Texas Circuit Finals, which proved to be a big boost toward qualifying for the Las Vegas championships.

In bull riding at the Dec. 28-30 Texas Circuit Finals, Sage Kimzey of Strong City, Okla., clinched the average/aggregate title with a three-ride score of 244. He finished in the money in all three rounds with scores of 89, 74 and 81. Kimzey earned $7,815.

Kimzey clinched his fourth consecutive PRCA bull riding title last year.

Though Kimzey is an Oklahoma resident, he has opted to compete on the Texas Circuit. The PRCA allows each competitor to designate a circuit to compete on anywhere in the United States. The Texas Circuit is among 12 geographic regions that determines champions each year.

In barrel racing, Tiany Schuster of Krum finished second in all three rounds at the Texas Circuit Finals. Her consistency helped her clinch the overall title. Schuster edged Taci Bettis, 47.78 to 47.84. Schuster earned $7,501.

Last year, Schuster finished third at the RAM Texas Circuit Finals, earning a trip to Vegas for the first time.

Other Texas Circuit Finals single event winners were steer wrestler Cade Staton (13.2 seconds on three rides), team ropers Clay Smith/Paul Eaves (14.7 seconds on three runs), saddle bronc rider Jacobs Crawley (259.5 points on three rides), and tie-down roper Sterling Smith (26.1 seconds on three runs).

Each of the single event champions from the Texas Circuit Finals advance to the 2018 RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo, which is scheduled for April 5-8 in Kissimmee, Fla. The circuit’s top money winners (from the regular season and the Waco-based Texas Circuit Finals) also earned a trip to the Kissimmee championships.

Brown also clinched the circuit’s annual bareback riding title as the result of winning the most money at Texas Circuit rodeos throughout the year. Other competitors who earned both the annual money earnings and average/aggregate titles were Kimzey, Schuster and Crawley.

Other top money winners from the year on the Texas Circuit were Jacob Shofner, steer wrestling; Kaleb Driggers, team roping heading; Travis Graves, team roping heeling; and Tuf Cooper, tie-down roping.

Cooper, who lives near Weatherford, also clinched the all-around title at both the Texas Circuit Finals and for the year.

J. Tom Fisher finished as the year’s highest money winner in steer roping. He advanced to the National Circuit Steer Roping Finals, which is in Torrington, Wyo. Cody Lee also advanced to the Torrington championships as the result of clinching the average title.

The Texas Circuit Finals offered competitors $198,394 in prize money. Each year, the circuit conducts a finals rodeo that features the top 15 in each event based on earnings from regular season Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association/Women’s Professional Rodeo Association rodeos within Texas.

DEATH OF A LEGEND

Bob A. Robinson of Hagerman, Idaho, a Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame steer wrestler, died Dec. 16 at St Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center in Twin Falls, Idaho, according to prorodeo.com.

Robinson competed in saddle bronc riding at the inaugural National Finals Rodeo in Dallas in 1959. In 1960, he competed at the Dallas-based NFR in both saddle bronc riding and steer wrestling. He won the world steer wrestling title in 1960 and finished runner-up in the all-around category that same year behind Harry Thompkins.

TEXAS STOCK SHOWS

Two tradition rich PRCA winter rodeos are scheduled in Texas within the next few weeks – the Sandhills Stock Show and Rodeo, Jan. 10-13 in Odessa, and the Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show Rodeo, Jan. 19-Feb. 3 in Fort Worth.

Pro rodeo’s top athletes also will saddle up in Denver this month to compete in the renowned National Western Stock Show Rodeo, Jan. 11-21.

PBR UPDATE

The Professional Bull Riders is celebrating its 25th anniversary season. The PBR conducted the season’s first show on the Built Ford Tough Series (which is the association’s top tier tour) last weekend at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The Monster Energy Buck Off At The Garden was Jan. 5-7. Gage Gay clinched the title. Valdiron de Oliveira finished second.

The Ford Series tour stops in Arlington on Feb. 24 at AT&T Stadium. The 2018 PBR World Finals is Nov. 7-11 at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena.

Brett Hoffman, a Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame member, has reported on rodeos for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for more than three decades.

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