Retired PBR champs to ride in local event

J.W. Hart and PBR have announced that the 2015 J.W. Hart PBR Challenge on May 30 in Decatur will feature PBR world champions from the past three decades competing in a special pay-per-view event. So far four riders – Hart, two-time world champion Justin McBride, 1997 world champion Michael Gaffney and Ross Coleman – have been announced as participants in the Ring of Honor: Unfinished Business showdown that will award $160,000 to the victor of the winner-take-all challenge. According to Hart, the idea first came about from Calvin Jackson with WC Challenger Charities that organizes the event.

“I know for a fact that none of us guys would hold together for a full season on the BFTS, but I do truly believe we all have one great one left,” said Hart, in a PBR press release. “I can’t speak for them, but I will be prepared and am coming to win.”

PBR will add up to four additional Ring of Honor members if they accept the challenge. Fans can vote for which legends they would like to see at wcmess.com/retiredchamps.

The pay-per-view event will include three different competitions – the regular and championship rounds of the Hart Challenge, the Unfinished Business showdown and a $20,000 winner-take-all challenge between currently competing PBR world champions.

The PBR World Champion Challenge has been offered to current competing PBR world champions, five of which have already accepted – three-time reigning PBR World Champion Silvano Alves (2011, 2012, 2014), J.B. Mauney (2013), Renato Nunes (2010), Guilherme Marchi (2008) and Mike Lee (2004).

In this segment of the competition, each champion will ride one bull with the highest-scoring rider claiming a $20,000 prize. He will then face a PBR bounty bull. If the world champion who advances successfully rides the bounty bull, he will receive an additional $20,000 bonus.

The PBR will announce the bounty bull in the coming weeks.

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Rodeo: Cox brings home all-around awards

Alvord’s Mikayla Cox won the all-around cowgirl and rookie cowgirl honors over the weekend at the North Texas High School Rodeo Association event.

Cox won the barrels with a strong run of 15.991 seconds. She finished third in poles in 21.072, eighth in walk-up goat tying in 9.0, eighth in steer undecorating in 3.694 and ninth in goat tying in 10.915.

Decatur’s Chase Wilson continued his strong season, winning the chute dogging in 2.514 and taking third in steer wrestling in 19.451.

Northwest’s Grady Payne won the steer wrestling in 5.887. He was fourth in chute dogging in 3.184.

Preston Clark was third in the event in 3.077 and Decatur’s Dominic Head ninth in 3.679.

Decatur’s Kimberly Luco took second in breakaway in 4.2, sixth in goat tying in 10.212 and seventh in walk-up goat tying in 8.582.

Carolyn Spear made a run of 1.668 for second in steer undecorating.

Decatur’s Seth Cone finished fourth in calf roping in 16.682.

Paradise’s Ty Meals won the ribbon roping in 5.311. Paitane Brown was ninth in steer undecorating in 4.492.

In team roping, Jake Cobb and Lawson Harris took fourth in 7.693. The pair was also eighth with Harris as the header in 15.068.

Northwest’s Colton Kelly scored a 64 to win the bull riding. Luke Harris was third with a 62.

Eliesha Hobbs garnered seventh in barrels with her time of 16.208. Alexis Bafield was fifth in poles in 21.279.

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Rodeo: Wilson wrestles title

Decatur’s Chase Wilson won the steer wrestling at the North Texas High School Rodeo Association event over the weekend.

Wilson made a run of 4.88 seconds to record the victory. Northwest’s Grady Payne took second in 5.103 seconds.

Decatur cowgirl Carolyn Spear finished second in steer undecorating with a time of 1.385.

Alvord’s Mikayla Cox was fifth in the event in 1.87. Cox finished third in barrels in 16.257 and fourth in goat tying in 10.497. She garnered the rookie cowgirl award with her 148 points.

Alvord’s Tanner Baker won the ribbon roping in 5.587 seconds. Paradise’s Ty Meals finished fifth in the event in 10.467.

Decatur’s Jake Cobb as the header with Lawson Harris as the heeler teamed up for fourth in team roping in 9.669. The two switched and finished eighth in 14.505. Seth Cone and Derek Winter of Winter Academy were fifth in 10.91. Meals and Chase Gasperson finished sixth in 11.364.

In chute dogging, Payne took third in 3.485. Decatur’s Jacob McLeod was fourth in 3.529 and Nick Martinez ninth in 4.392.

Northwest’s Alexis Barfield garnered third in poles in 21.388.

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Rodeo: Brazile closes in on 12th all-around title

After earning his record 20th world title last month in steer roping, Decatur’s Trevor Brazile will try to earn two more starting this week at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.

Brazile is one of several Wise County cowboys at this year’s finals that start Thursday and runs through Dec. 13.

Brazile will compete in tie-down and team roping. He leads the all-around standings with $303,119.44 in earnings this year and will be looking for his 12th all-around title. Decatur’s Tuf Cooper is second to Brazile with $158,537.12.

Brazile and partner Travis Graves head into the finals in third in team roping with $101,399.09 in earnings. The duo is more than $8,000 behind the leaders Clay Tryan and Jade Corkill.

Brazile is in third tie-down with $93,848. Cooper leads the world standings in the event with $153,822.38. Matt Shiozawa is second with $116,982.62.

Clint Cooper will also be in the tie-down finals.

K.C. Jones qualified in steer wrestling and is second in the world rankings at $82,055.33 for the year.

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Rodeo: Cox wins rookie honor

Alvord’s Mikayla Cox took the top rookie cowgirl award at last weekend’s North Texas High School Rodeo Association event.

Cox finished fourth in poles with a run of 21.964 seconds and ninth in walk-up goat tying in a time of 8.320.

Decatur’s Chase Wilson won the steer wrestling with a time of 4.422. He also recorded a victory in chute dogging in 2.325. He missed winning the all-around award by a point.

Decatur did win the team championship with 440 points on the evening.

Nicolas Martinez of Decatur finished third in chute dogging in 2.578. Northwest’s Preston Clark took seventh in 3.116.

Decatur’s Carolyn Spears was second in steer undecorating in 1.96 and seventh in breakaway roping in 35.832.

Jake Cobb took sixth in ribbon roping in 9.455. Paradise’s Ty Meals was ninth in the event in 18.825.

In the team roping, Meals teamed with Decatur’s Chase Gasperson on a pair of runs. With Meals as the header, the duo took third in 7.938. With Gasperson as the header, the two took fourth in 8.456. Paradise’s Paitane Brown took eighth in 25.618 with Midwest Christian’s Riley Caballero.

Alvord’s Tanner Baker finished third in calf roping with a run of 13.19.

Northwest’s Colton Kelly won the bull riding with a score of 60.

Dana Sheets was 10th in walk-up goat tying with a run of 8.649.

Eliesha Hobbs finished ninth in barrels in 16.611.

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Rodeo: Wilson earns top honors

Decatur’s Chase Wilson won the all-around cowboy award this week at the North Texas High School Rodeo Association event.

Wilson won the steer wrestling with a run of 3.492 seconds and chute dogging with a run of 2.689.

Alvord’s Tanner Baker was the top rookie after winning the ribbon roping with a time of 6.473. He finished sixth in calf roping with his run of 25.409.

Decatur’s Dillan McGuire finished second to Wilson in steer wrestling with a time of 7.2. Camerron Tucker was third in 8.233 and Northwest’s Grady Payne fifth in 9.333.

Decatur’s Carolyn Spear took fourth in steer undecorating in 1.772 seconds. Spear finished sixth in barrels in 16.455.

Northwest’s Cole Gerrek garnered fourth in chute dogging in 3.024 seconds. Tyler Norton was fifth in 3.059, Preston Clark sixth in 3.153, and Payne ninth in 3.624.

Decatur’s Nicolas Martinez finished seventh in 3.387.

Northwest’s Alexis Barfield took third in poles in 21.62.

In bulls, Northwest’s Colton Kelly won with a 70. Boyd’s Treavor Hadden O’Neal was second with a 65.

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Local riders win rookie awards

Paradise’s Ty Meals won the rookie cowboy honor, and Alvord’s Mikayla Cox was the top rookie cowgirl at the North Texas High School Rodeo Association’s event last week.

Meals and partner Chase Gasperson from Decatur completed their run in team roping in 6.613 seconds for second place. Meals finished seventh in ribbon roping in 15.332.

Cox took sixth in goat tying in 11.356, sixth in barrels in 16.355 and ninth in walk-up goat tying in 9.332.

Decatur’s Chase Wilson garnered second in chute dogging with a run of 2.453. Nicolas Martinez was seventh in 2.913.

Travis Rhoades scored a 50 in bull riding for second place.

Carolyn Spear brought home fourth in steer undecorating with a run of 3.034.

Alvord’s Tanner Baker made a run of 29.996 for sixth in calf roping.

Northwest’s Alexis Barfield won poles with a time of 20.989.

Cole Gerrek finished third in chute dogging in 2.569 and Preston Clark fourth in 2.848.

Trinton Barfield took second in steer wrestling with a time of 10.854.

Eliesha Hobbs was fifth in walk-up goat tying in 8.510.

Paradise’s Paitane Brown finished ninth in 20.732.

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Rodeo: Tucker wins chute dogging

Decatur’s Camerron Tucker completed his run in chute dogging in 2.891 seconds to win the event last weekend at the North Texas High School Rodeo Association event.

Tucker also took second in steer wrestling with a time of 4.883.

Jake Cobb finished fourth in calf roping in 12.587. Carolyn Spear took fourth in steer undecorating with a run of 1.504.

Northwest’s Grady Payne won the steer wrestling in 4.583. He was second in chute dogging recording a 2.923.

Alexis Barfield won the poles in 20.637.

Bull rider Luke Harris scored a 72 to get the win. Colton Kelly finished third with a 60.

Trinton Barfield took third in steer wrestling with a run of 6.7.

Dana Sheets was eighth in walk-up goat tying with a time of 10.129.

Tyler Norton came away with fourth in chute dogging with a run of 3.442, and Cole Gerrek seventh in 4.329.

Alvord’s Tanner Baker finished eighth in calf roping with a 19.023.

Paradise’s Paitane Brown garnered sixth in steer undecorating with a run of 2.198. With Ty Meals header and Carson Tucker as the heeler, the duo finished sixth in team roping with a time of 14.213.

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Rodeo: Decatur leads team rankings

Decatur continued its dominance at the North Texas High School Rodeo Association last week, bringing home another team title.

Decatur leads the season team rankings by 800 points.

Chase Gasperson’s win in team roping as the header helped add to Decatur’s lead. Gasperson completed his run in 6.801.

Camerron Tucker took second in steer wrestling in 5.944. Chase Wilson was third in 18.006.

Wilson also finished third in chute dogging with a run of 2.832. Dillan McGuire was sixth in the event in 2.891, and Dominic Head ninth in 3.043.

Adam Villard roped third in 10.319 in team roping as the heeler.

Carolyn Spear finished third in steer undecorating in 3.665, sixth in breakaway roping in 4.321, and seventh in poles in 22.156.

Seth Cone was seventh in calf roping in 25.588.

Alvord’s Tanner Baker padded his lead for the season cowboy award and took the honor for the night, winning ribbon roping in 6.687 and calf roping in 10.969.

Olivia Parr was ninth in breakaway with a run of 10.329. Mikayla Cox finished ninth in poles in 22.621.

Northwest’s Alexis Barfield won poles in 20.518. Colton Kelly tied for third in bulls with a score of 56. Trinton Barfied finished fourth in steer wrestling in 25.458.

Tyler Norton took fifth in chute dogging in 2.874. Preston Clark was seventh, Cole Gerrek eighth, and Grady Payne 10th.

Eliesha Hobbs finished 10th in walk-up goat tying in 8.009.

Paradise’s Ty Meals won team roping as the heeler in 6.801, and was ninth in ribbon roping in 18.512.

Boyd’s Trevor Hadden O’Neal finish second with a score of 58 in bull riding.

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Riders vie for world title

Several Wise County riders are chasing a world title this week as the 2014 PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals gets underway in Las Vegas.

Brazilians Fabiano Vieira and Silvano Alves, who call Wise County home, are within 511 and 516 points, respectively, of the No. 1 ranked rider, Joao Ricardo Vieira.

J. Vieira was the 2013 Rookie of the Year and is on a hot streak, having ridden seven of his last nine bulls in the last three events. He took over the No. 1 post five weeks ago and sits atop the board with 9,520.25 points.

Vieira recently won in Allentown, Penn., going three-for-three and moving 785 points closer to No. 1, despite having an injured shoulder. He leads the BFTS with a 57.75 riding percentage.

Alves, in third, is seeking his third PBR world title. He made history in 2012 when he became the first world champion to win back-to-back titles. His riding percentage is 51.16.

Mike Lee of Decatur is the only other local rider in the top 10, and he’s currently ranked No. 5, 1,433.44 points behind the leader.

Lee started the second half of the BFTS with great momentum, winning both outdoor events – Thackerville, Okla., and Laughlin, Nev. He then fell off his game for four events, failing to register a qualified ride.

His ride in Huntington Beach, Calif., last weekend at the Bulls on the Beach event was his first success since Laughlin.

Other Wise County riders among the 35 finalists are Marco Eguchi (11); Valdiron de Oliveira (13); Emilio Resende (14); and Renato Nunes (19).

The action kicks off today and runs through Sunday at the Thomas and Mack Center at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. To advance through the rounds, the riders must rank in the Top 15 in the event average after each round.

The World Finals offers a total purse of $2.2 million, including a $1 million bonus to the world champion, who also receives the coveted world champion belt buckle.

The champion will be the rider who has accumulated the most Built Ford Tough Series points during the 2014 regular season and the World Finals.

There are a potential 5,500 points available at the World Finals, so most of the top-ranked riders have a shot at the title.

CBS Sports Network will broadcast every round live at 8 p.m. Oct. 22-25 and 3 p.m. on Oct. 26. For information, visit worldfinals.pbr.com.

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Rodeo: Wilson, team capture titles

With Chase Wilson winning the steer wrestling, the Decatur squad won a team title at North Texas High School Rodeo Association event.

Wilson made his run in 5.102 seconds to take first place. Camerron Tucker took third in 14.448.

Jake Cobb finished third in calf roping with a time of 14.770. He also had a third place in team roping as the heeler and ninth place in ribbon roping.

Carolyn Spear took fifth in breakaway roping in 17.941. She also garnered fourth in steer undecorating in 1.627.

Chase Gasperson was sixth in team roping as the heeler with a time of 14.512.

Dominic Head finished eighth in chute dogging in 4 seconds.

Alvord’s Tanner Baker won the ribbon roping with a run of 8.354. Baker finished second as the heeler in team roping, completing his run in 7.316. Baker took the rookie cowboy award.

Mikayla Cox was eighth in walk-up goat tying in 9.113. In goat tying, Cox was sixth in 10.607. She finished seventh in barrels, making her run in 19.243. Cox earned rookie cowgirl honors.

Paradise’s Paitane Brown finished fifth in steer undecorating in 2.345. Brown took fourth as the header in team roping in 12.265. Ty Meals was sixth in heading with a run of 14.512.

Northwest’s Grady Payne won the chute dogging in 2.657. Eliesha Hobbs was third in walk-up goat tying with a time of 7.830. Alexis Barfield completed her run in poles in 22.258 for fifth. Bullrider Tyler Davenport scored a 50 for second.

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Rodeo: Decatur wrestles in top spots

Led by Chase Wilson, Decatur cowboys swept the top three spots in steer wrestling at the North Texas High School Rodeo Association event last weekend.

Decatur won the high-point award as a team, behind the strong performance in steer wrestling.

Wilson needed just 4.401 seconds to complete his run. Dillan McGuire took second in 7.752. Camerron Tucker was third in 10.891.

Chase Gasperson turned in the top performance as a header in team roping, taking 9.317 seconds. Jake Cobb was eighth in 14.461.

Carolyn Spear took second in barrels with her run of 16.316.

Seth Cone placed seventh in calf roping with a run of 26.249.

Alvord’s Olivia Parr took seventh in breakaway in 5.739.

In steer undecorating, Paradise’s Majia Bennett finished third in 1.872. Paitane Brown was fourth in 2.631, and Taylor Carwile fifth in 2.713.

Paradise’s Ty Meals had the top time as a heeler in team roping with a 9.317. He finished second in ribbon roping in 7.64 seconds to earn the rookie cowboy honor.

Alvord’s Tyler Griggs was ninth in team roping as a heeler in 16.337.

Northwest’s Grady Payne won the chute dogging in 2.558. Teammate Cole Gerrek was third in 2.756, and Tyler Norton seventh in 3.293. Decatur’s Dominic Head finished fourth in 2.954, and Jacob McLeod sixth in 3.24.

Northwest’s Alexis Barfield was eighth in poles in 21.78.

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Rodeo: Tucker wrestles up win in 6.8 seconds

Decatur cowboy Camerron Tucker needed just 6.8 seconds to complete his winning run Saturday in steer wrestling at the North Texas High School Rodeo Association event.

Tucker led a trio of Decatur cowboys Saturday. Dillan McGuire finished third in 13.2, and Chase Wilson fourth in 17.182.

Northwest’s Trinton Barfield took second in 8.415.

In chute dogging, Nicholas Martinez brought home second in 2.782. Northwest’s Cole Gerrek was third in 2.849, and Decatur’s Wilson fourth in 2.958. Decatur’s Jacob McLeod finished ninth in 4.906.

Decatur’s Jake Cobb took third in ribbon roping in 9.267. Alvord’s Tanner Baker was fourth in 10.237, finishing a spot ahead of Decatur’s Lawson Harris in 11.766.

Cobb also was third in calf roping with a run of 13.383. Baker finished fifth in 14.404. Harris took seventh in 16.942.

Baker was fourth as the header in team roping with a time of 18.397. Paradise’s Paitane Brown took second in team roping as the heeler in 14.32.

Baker finished as the top rookie cowboy with 140 points.

Alvord’s Mikayla Cox garnered sixth in steer undecorating in 2.653 seconds. Decatur’s Carolyn Spear was eighth in 3.607.

Northwest’s Eliesha Hobbs finished eighth in walk-up goat tying in 8.505.

Boyd’s Treavor Hadden O’Neal scored a 64 to take second in bull riding.

The Decatur squad was the top scoring team with 504 points.

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Rodeo: Wilson captures pair of wins

Before the home crowd at the North Texas High School Rodeo Association’s stop in Decatur, Chase Wilson won the steer wrestling and chute dogging.

Wilson turned in times of 5.782 in steer wrestling, and 2.672 in chute dogging.

Holding On

HOLDING ON – Keller Central’s Justin Maze-McLane tries to stay on a bucking bronc during the bareback event at the North Texas High School Rodeo Association’s event in Decatur. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Wilson, who is sixth in the standings for all-around cowboy, leads the steer wrestling season race and is third in chute dogging.

Cameron Tucker finished second to Wilson in steer wrestling with a 7.024.

Nicholas Martinez was second in chute dogging with a 2.756. Dominic Head was eighth in the event, and Randal Burrier 10th.

Carolyn Spear took seventh in steer undecorating with a time of 14.235.

Alvord’s Olivia Parr was second in the breakaway in 3.663, taking top rookie cowgirl at the event.

Tanner Baker finished fourth in ribbon roping in 9.786, and fifth in team roping as the heeler in 18.634. Mikayla Cox was fourth in barrels in 16.689, and 10th in goat tying with an 11.525.

Paradise’s Majia Bennett took fourth in steer undecorating, recording a 2.323. Ty Meals came away fifth in ribbon roping in 9.798. Paitane Brown turned in a time of 10.907 for 10th in walk-up goat tying.

In team roping as the header, Brown was second in 10.945. Meals took third in 12.2, and Carson Tucker fifth in 18.634. Meals took rookie cowboy honors.

Tyler Clemens-Edwards of Paradise was second in bull riding with 51 points.

Northwest’s Eliesha Hobbs finished fifth in walk-up goat tying in 9.713. Preston Clark was seventh in chute dogging in 3.276. Alexis Barfield took fourth in poles in 21.984.

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Roping wins: Wise trio bring home crowns at Cheyenne

At one of the world’s most prestigious rodeos, Wise County cowboys brought home three of the seven titles.

Trevor Brazile, Jarrett Blessing and K.C. Jones all won titles at the 118th Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo in Wyoming.

Tying Up a Win

TYING UP A WIN – Jarrett Blessing ropes a steer at the 118th Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo. Blessing won the steer roping at the prestigious rodeo. It was one of three titles won by Wise County cowboys. CFD photo by Dan Hubbell

“It was the perfect storm with three of the seven champions being from here,” Brazile said. “It’s amazing for such a small area. It was cool to watch. After Jarrett and I won, my wife, Shada, pointed out that we had a chance for the three titles. K.C. then came through and won steer wrestling.”

Brazile captured the tie-down roping title. The world’s most decorated cowboy put together an aggregate time of 37.1 to take first place and pocket $22,699.49 in winnings.

Brazile made runs of 12.6, 12.1 and 12.4.

“There’s so much tradition there. I remember watching my dad and all my heroes roping there,” Brazile said. “Anyone who grew up in rodeo, it’s one you want to win.”

It was Brazile’s first tie-down title in Cheyenne. The 11-time all-around world champion had previously claimed team roping, steer roping and all-round titles at the rodeo.

“It’s nice to have that come together when I needed an extra boost in tie-down,” he said.

The victory moved Brazile to fifth in the PRCA tie-down standings with $65,939.40 in winnings. Fellow Decatur cowboy Tuf Cooper leads the class with $106,396.07.

Brazile owns a commanding lead over Cooper in the all-around class with $178,941.96 in winnings in 2014.

“It’s been a good year. When you do three events, it’s tough juggling all of them,” Brazile said. “Now, I’ve got them all balanced.”

Blessing brought home Wise County’s first title of the weekend in Cheyenne. He tallied an aggregate of 58.9 to win the steer roping and rake in $14,933.

“It was my fourth time to make the short round but I’ve never came in that high with a chance to win it,” Blessing said. “I knew I had a decent shot if I drew a decent steer that let me rope him.

“It’s a rodeo you always dream of winning. I remember going there with my dad and roping under the bleachers. It’s like a dream to win. It’s a great opportunity.”

Blessing wrapped up the title with a run of 19.6 in the short-go. He opened the rodeo with a run of 16.3 and had a 23 in the second outing.

“I made a really good run in the first round and got by in the second,” Blessing said.

Jones closed the stellar weekend for the county, winning the steer wrestling with an aggregate of 30.2 and earning $13,204.75. He made runs of 8.6, 8.7 and 12.9 to win.

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Melvin takes 6th in pole bending

Katlyn Melvin finished sixth in pole bending at the International Finals Youth Rodeo in Shawnee, Okla.

The Paradise rider turned in an average of 61.916 in her three rides to record the top-10 finish.

Her ride in the third go was good for fifth at 20.106. She was eighth after the first two efforts with an average of 41.810.

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Little rest to be best; Melvin spends long hours in saddle to keep winning

Little rest to be best; Melvin spends long hours in saddle to keep winning

Marilyn Melvin finally gets a break on Sundays.

“We’re tired after a rodeo. We go to church and after we clean house and still ride a couple of horses,” Melvin explains.

Training Partner

TRAINING PARTNER – Marilyn Melvin pets MFR Firewater Al, who she is training. Melvin will saddle up on several horses to compete in the International Youth and National High School Rodeo finals next month. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

What she describes as a “light day” is a sharp contrast from hours in the saddle on as many as 10 horses.

“It’s all day,” she said. “In the summer, we don’t do anything but ride.”

But it’s that tireless work ethic that has the recent Paradise graduate competing for titles at the International Youth Rodeo Finals in Shawnee, Okla., July 6-11 and the National High School Finals Rodeo in Rock Springs, Wyo., July 13-19.

“The IFYR is the highest youth rodeo in the world. Then I’ll go to nationals,” Melvin said. “I’ll be gone three to four weeks.”

At the IFYR event, she’ll compete in four events – barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying and breakaway roping. She’ll be competing in cutting in Wyoming.

“My goal is to win the all-around [at IFYR]. It’s hard with all the factors that go into rodeo,” said Melvin. Roping at the state rodeo finals, she experienced that firsthand when a calf broke the wrong way, giving her a no-time. “You just go out and do as good as you can.”

Her main goal at the IFYR is to bring home a title in the breakaway roping.

“I love roping. It’s my favorite,” she said.

But she works hard at all the disciplines to bring home more hardware. She’s quick to point out there are no shortcuts to success. She credits her parents – Judy and Marty – with teaching her a strong work ethic.

“You work, work and work. You can buy a truck, trailer and horses, but you can’t buy first place,” Melvin said. “You can buy a saddle but it’s not the same as winning.”

Melvin admits she spreads herself thin, competing in all the various events.

“It’s crazy. I won a trailer, and it doesn’t hold all the horses I need in a rodeo,” she claims.

She needs as many as six horses to compete in all the events. She and her 16-year-old sister, Katlyn, share some of the horses.

Between competing, practicing, training horses and helping her parents run their ranching operation, Melvin keeps a busy schedule.

“It’s a full-time thing. It’s all I do. I don’t hang out with friends except at rodeos,” Melvin said. “But I love it.”

Even though horses have surrounded her all her life, Melvin said her parents made her wait to jump into rodeo with both feet until she was in eighth grade.

“They let us choose. This is what I’m best at,” Melvin said.

As a freshman and sophomore, Melvin ran cross country and played basketball.

“I loved that, but you can spread yourself too thin and be mediocre – and never get anywhere,” Melvin said.

Her junior year, she home-schooled to give herself a more flexible schedule so she could compete in rodeo.

She returned to high school as a senior but said she was done each day early in the afternoon to get back to the family’s ranch to work.

But she took her studies seriously, graduating with a 4.2 grade-point average.

After a busy summer of competing, Melvin will head to Weatherford College to join the rodeo team.

“I’ll rodeo for them in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association,” Melvin said.

She hopes to get her associate degree as the first step to an eventual doctorate to become an anesthesiologist.

“I know how hard it will be,” she said. “I’ve set my goals high.”

Melvin knows she’ll likely have to take a break from riding when she enters med school. But she isn’t thinking about that now.

“I’ve still got five years,” Melvin said.

For now, she’ll be working on winning more saddles and buckles – even on Sundays.

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Wilson wrestles state title

Chase Wilson is the best high school steer wrestler in Texas.

The incoming Decatur junior captured the Texas High School Rodeo Association title Saturday in Abilene.

Wilson won the rodeo average and turned in the best times in the first go and short go. He brought home the champion saddle and four buckles.

Collecting Buckles

COLLECTING BUCKLES – Decatur’s Chase Wilson won four buckles and a saddle at Texas High School Rodeo Finals. Submitted photo

“This means a lot,” Wilson said. “Like I’ve said before, I’m trying to follow in my dad’s and brother’s footsteps.

“It felt good knowing that I’m the best bulldogger in Texas and that my hard work paid off.”

Wilson, who won the season steer wrestling title for the North Texas High School Rodeo Association in May, said he came into the event in Abilene determined to finish on top.

Wilson claimed that he ran 125 steers leading up to state. He also practiced in the morning and took part in jackpot events each night.

“I went in trying to work harder and work more steers than everybody else,” Wilson said.

In the first go, Wilson took just 4.52 seconds to complete his run. It was the best time of the round and one of only three under five seconds.

He turned in a 5.06 on his second run, which was good for a reserve buckle.

With the best average among competitors, Wilson drew the last run of the short go.

“All the pressure was on me. I rode as good as I as could and as fast as I could,” Wilson explained.

He turned in the rodeo’s best time – 4.46 – to seal the title.

“It didn’t kick in until I got the buckles and saddle,” he said.

Wilson will not get a lot of time to celebrate the victory. He will ride in the International Finals Youth Rodeo in Shawnee, Okla., July 5-11 and the National High School Finals Rodeo July 13-19 in Rock Springs, Wyo.

“I hope to do just as good [at nationals],” Wilson said.

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Mauney, Harris face off in PBR Challenge

Mauney, Harris face off in PBR Challenge

The reigning champions of the PBR and PRCA will settle the debate of who is the top bull rider – at least for one night – Saturday in Decatur.

J.B. Mauney, the PBR champion, will face off against PRCA champion J.W. Harris in a $25,000 winner-take-all event at the J.W. Hart PBR Challenge at the Wise County Fairgounds.

Battle of Champions

BATTLE OF CHAMPIONS – J.B. Mauney captured the PBR series title last season. The reigning PBR champion will square off against reigning PRCA champ J.W. Harris in a $25,000 winner-take-all challenge at the J.W. Hart PBR Challenge at Wise County Fairgrounds Saturday. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The showdown is part of a full night of action with some of the PBR’s best riders and bulls that begins at 8 p.m. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. The night will also include a celebrity steer riding featuring Fernando Escobar, J.D. Clark, Beau Bell, Joe Neil Henderson, Jeff Sicking and Wade Watson, between the long and short go.

The event’s namesake, Hart, put up the $25,000 for Mauney and Harris to battle over in the unique challenge of champions, which will be streamed on PBR Live.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a rivalry, but fans and the media made it a rivalry [between the PBR and PRCA],” said Hart in a conference call with Mauney and Harris Friday. “Especially with J.W. [Harris] coming over to the Ford Tough Series, he’s showed that he’s one of the guys that could pose a challenge and stand up against the best in the world.

“This gives the fans what they want for the two to go head-to-head.”

The PBR started in 1992 when a group of the sport’s top riders splintered off from the PRCA. It quickly grew into a multi-million dollar league, which now draws more than a million fans to events across the world.

Mauney became the PBR’s champion last year, riding 47 of his 90 bulls at 26 events and winning $1.81 million. The 27-year-old from Mooresville, N.C. is second all-time in the organization, earning $4.849 million.

Harris, 27, of May, is making the transition to the PBR after capturing the PRCA title last year. Harris has posted a pair of top-10 finishes in six events on the PBR tour.

Both have a lot of mutual respect.

“He has a gold buckle around his waist for a reason – and I do, too,” Mauney said.

“He’s kicked everyone’s butt in the PRCA I don’t know how many times. A lot of people were running their mouth saying he couldn’t handle [the PBR bulls]. He’s shut them up pretty quick.”

Harris said of Mauney, “You don’t get that buckle on your belt by accident.”

Harris said he’s been honored to get the opportunity to compete on the PBR for the larger purses. In this competition, he doesn’t feel he’s carrying the banner for the PRCA, where he’s spent most of his career.

“I’m just a bull rider. I’m just a rider they wanted in the matchup.”

Mauney will ride Asteroid, and Harris will be on Shepherd Hills Tested. The two riders downplay the head-to-head matchup between them and say it’s just another ride on a tough bull.

“I don’t think we are really pinned against each other,” Mauney said. “We still have to ride the bull we have to get on and then the scores will fall into place.

“I have a job to do when I get there, and he has a job to do. It ain’t like we have the easiest bulls to get on. We have a tough road ahead of us.”

Harris agreed.

“It’s not that I am going against J.B. It’s going to be another bull, another day. We always compete against the bull, and I hope J.B. rides his bull and I ride my bull. We’ll let the judges sort it out after that.”

Asteroid is ranked second on the PRB tour, bucking off 93 percent of riders.

“I’ve been on him three or four times and rode him once,” Mauney said. “Last time I got on Asteroid he threw me over his head, so hopefully it goes a little different this time.”

Harris said Shepherd Hills Tested, the third ranked bull on tour, fits his style. Like Mauney’s bull, it has bucked off 93 percent of riders throughout its career.

“He is a kind of bull that I have always wanted to get on. I think he kind of fits my style. I ride bulls better away from hand better than I do into my hand,” Harris said.

“I crave getting on them bulls that nobody else rides and nobody, frankly, wants to get on. That is why you ride bulls, to ride them unrideables.”

Hart said over the 16 years of the Challenge that he’s always tried to come up with a special draw. Last year, the series’ top bull, Bushwacker, came to Decatur.

Hart said he’s not pulling for Mauney or Harris in the competition.

“I don’t have a favorite in the deal,” Hart said. “I have known J.B. longer, and have probably a better relationship with him, but as far as the fact as who is going to win on what day, on what bull, I am going to let them guys and the fans pick and decide because at the end of the day I probably need both of them to hit the ground so I don’t lose $25,000.”

Mauney and Harris both hope Hart is writing a check at the end.

“I hope I can stay on so J.W. [Hart] has to pay,” Mauney said.

Hart quipped back: “Hopefully they score the same, so they can split it down the middle.”

J.W. HART PBR CHALLENGE

  • Saturday, May 31
  • Wise County Fairgrounds, 3101 South Farm Road 51, in Decatur
  • Gates open at 5:30 p.m., event starts at 8 p.m.
  • The Celebrity Steer Riding will be held between the long and short go.
  • Tickets are available at www.wcchallenger.org or at Wise Wireless in Decatur.

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Wilson brings home saddle; Decatur sophomore wins steer wrestling season title

Wilson brings home saddle; Decatur sophomore wins steer wrestling season title

Finishing behind his brother Colton last year as a freshman, Chase Wilson entered the high school rodeo season with something to prove.

“This year I was motivated with my brother beating me last year,” he said. “I wanted to show my brother and dad that I’ve got what it takes.”

RIDING TO TOP – Decatur sophomore Chase Wilson won the saddle and buckle for steer wrestling in the North Texas High School Rodeo Association. Submitted photo

That motivation led the Decatur sophomore to the North Texas High School Rodeo Association’s 2013-14 steer wrestling title. Wilson brought home the champion saddle and buckle after the finals rodeo last weekend.

He also finished third in average for steer wrestling in the finals and was fifth in chute dogging.

“This means the world to me,” Wilson said. “I had family and friends helping me. There were a bunch of people coming together to help me practice.”

Wilson piled up points, consistently finishing near the top of the steer wrestling standings at the weekly NTHSRA event from September to May. After finishing first at 11 weekly events this season, he went into the finals with a 294-point lead over North Hills’ Preston Young.

“I went into the finals with enough points that I was not going to be caught,” Wilson said.

Along with competing weekly at the NTHRA events, he sometimes added another rodeo. He also practiced twice per week with his father Ricky and some pros that took the time to work with him.

“I have to say thanks to all the people that helped me,” Wilson said.

The NTHSRA title added to a successful year for Wilson. He won the steer wrestling event at the Wise County Youth Fair rodeo in March.

Wilson still has two big rodeos left this year. He will compete in the Texas High School Rodeo Association event June 8 in Abilene. He will be in the International Finals Youth Rodeo in Shawnee, Okla., July 5.

Several other members of the Decatur team placed in the top five for the season in the NTHSRA.

Sophomore Carolyn Spear finished third in steer undecorating and had the fourth-best average during the finals.

Cody Kral, a junior, grabbed third for the year in bull riding.

Sophomore Camerron Tucker placed fourth in steer wrestling.

Chase Gasperson, junior, finished fourth in team roping. He was sixth in average in the finals.

Junior Jake Cobb took third in calf roping at the finals.

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