Competitors hit road to make big hauls; Cooper, Brazile finish in money in Cheyenne

By Brett Hoffman | Published Wednesday, August 1, 2018

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Cowboy Christmas around July Fourth was unusually busy for pro rodeo competitors. However, the fourth week of July was very busy for the world’s top cowboys and cowgirls, who competed in lucrative rodeos in Utah, Wyoming and in other parts of North America.

At the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s Cheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming, three-time world champion Will Lowe of Canyon clinched the bareback riding title and earned $15,808. Lowe faced tough competition in Sunday’s final round. He scored an 88 in the finals to clinch the average with a three-ride aggregate of 253.5.

“I got to watch seven or eight guys before me and they jumped out there and rode them pretty rank,” Lowe said. “It helps when you get to watch those guys do exactly what you’re thinking in your head before you ride. Everybody rode good and so it pumped me up.”

Lowe, 35, a 14-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier, also won the bareback riding title at Cheyenne in 2009 and 2012.

Levi Rudd of Chelsea, Okla., captured the Cheyenne steer wrestling title with a three-run time of 24.0. He earned $21,396.

Defending Women’s Professional Rodeo Association world champion Nellie Miller clinched the barrel racing title and pocketed $19,530. Other single event champions were team ropers Chad Masters and Joseph Harrison (26.4 seconds on three head), saddle bronc rider Brody Cress (252.5 points on three head), tie-down roper Shane Hanchey (34.9 seconds on three head), steer roper Brodie Poppino (46.4 seconds on three head), and bull rider Ruger Piva (252 points on three head).

Decatur’s Tuf Cooper and Trevor Brazile, the sport’s top two cowboys in the 2018 world all-around standings, finished in the money in Cheyenne. Cooper came in fourth in the steer roping title race and earned $11,444. Brazile pocketed $6,486 in team roping and steer roping. He clinched the 2018 Cheyenne rodeo’s all-around title.

Cooper also clinched the tie-down roping title at the Deadwood Days of ’76 Rodeo in South Dakota, turning in a two-run time of 17.8. He earned $4,101.

Cooper, the defending world all-around champion, is ranked No. 1 in the 2018 world all-around race. Brazile is second.


The 2018 Cheyenne Frontier Days also featured pro bull riding.

For the first time, the Professional Bull Riders and the Championship Bull Riding organizations united. The PBR riders competed in a long and a short round July 23. The CBR riders competed in a long and a short round July 24, which was also its national finals show.

After the two performances an event champion was crowned. Three-time PBR world champion Silvano Alves, a Brazilian who lives in Decatur, clinched the event title with a two-ride score of 171.5. He earned $28,216.


At the Komatsu Equipment Days of ’47 Cowboy Games and Rodeo in Salt Lake City, each single event champion won $50,000, plus their qualifying performance earnings. The second-place finishers pocketed $25,000.

Three Texans earned a coveted $50,000 check – barrel racer Hailey Kinsel of Cotulla, steer wrestler Justin Shafer of Hallsville and tie-down roper Cory Solomon of Prairie View. Solomon, a five-time NFR qualifier, clinched the title with a blistering final round time of 6.6 seconds on July 24.

In saddle bronc riding, 13-time NFR qualifier Cody DeMoss clinched the title with an 87.5. Wyatt Casper of Pampa finished runner-up with an 86.5.

The other champions were bareback rider Wyatt Denny ($52,400); team ropers Kellan Johnson and Carson Johnson ($53,200) and bull rider Derek Kolbaba ($53,200).


Lance Cooper of Weatherford clinched the National Youth Cutting Horse Association’s Scholarship Cutting senior division title (ages 14-18) Friday in Fort Worth with a score of 223 on Fancy Rey, which was owned by Charles Burger of Chatsworth, Ga.

Makenzie Cowan of Ardmore, Okla., clinched the junior division title (13-and-under) on Exclusive Thyme with a 222. Cowan also owns Exclusive Thyme.

Youth competitors also rode in the final performance of the NYCHA’s World Finals. Faith Farris of Midway clinched the junior division title for the year. During the World Finals, she rode a horse named Smooth Serena Rey, which is owned by Jimmy Farris.

In the senior division, Chaser Ray Crouch of Corsicana finished atop the 2018 world title race. Crouch competed on GS Zans Cat, a savvy cutting horse that he also owns.

The youth competitions were held in conjunction with the National Cutting Horse Association Summer Spectacular, a high-profile aged event in that runs through Monday in Fort Worth.

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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