During the past weekend, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s top 15 steer ropers from the regular season saddled up for the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping in Mulvane, Kan., which is in the Wichita area.
Fans witnessed Scott Snedecor of Fredericksburg win his third world steer roping title.
After the last steer had been roped at the NFSR on Saturday at Kansas Star Arena, Snedecor finished No. 1 in the world title race after earning $136,419 throughout the regular season and at the Mulvane championships.
Twenty-three time PRCA world champion Trevor Brazile of Decatur finished runner-up in the world title race with $127,538.
Snedecor, 42, entered the NFSR ranked No. 4. But after earning $68,336 from making 10 runs at the two-day NFSR, Snedecor finished as the world champion. Snedecor won the NFSR average/aggregate title en route to winning gold buckle No. 3. Snedecor also snared steer roping world titles in 2005 and 2008.
Brazile entered the NFSR ranked No. 5. But after earning $63,273 at the NFSR, Brazile moved up to No. 2 in the final standings.
Also, Brazile entered the NFSR ranked No. 2 in the PRCA’s 2017 world all-around race. But after earning $63,273 at the Mulvane championships, Brazile moved up to No. 1 in the world all-around standings.
Tuf Cooper of Weatherford dropped back from No. 1 to No. 2 in the world all-around standings behind Brazile. In the world all-around standings, Brazile is ranked No. 1 with $243,760 in regular season earnings. Cooper is ranked No. 2 with $230,002.
The 2017 world all-around title will be awarded at the Dec. 7-16 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo Las Vegas.
At last weekend’s National Finals Steer Roping in Mulvane, Cooper earned $15,981 and finished 12th in the PRCA’s 2017 steer roping world title race with $60,107. Cooper, a three-time world tie-down roping champion, competed in the NFSR for the first time. His father, Roy Cooper of Decatur won the world steer roping title in 1983. Roy Cooper also lassoed six tie-down roping world titles and a world all-around championship.
John Bland, who is from Turkey in Northwest Texas, also competed in the NFSR for the first time. He finished fourth in the average at the NFSR. He also finished 10th in the 2017 world title race after earning more than $65,000 throughout 2017.
Though he was far from winning the world title, Bland is an interesting story. His father, whose first name also is John, qualified for the National Finals Rodeo in bull riding in 1976 and 1977. His uncle, Steve, qualified for the NFR in tie-down roping in 1980 and his uncle, Rex, qualified for the NFR in steer wrestling in 1971-73.
The younger John Bland said he greatly benefitted from growing up around successful family members.
“They grew up doing it,” Bland said of his father and his uncles’ rodeo careers. “I grew up doing it. It’s just a rodeo family. It just gets in your blood.”
Bland grew up on a ranch near Tatum, N.M. He competed for New Mexico Junior College and Texas Tech. At the time, he competed in tie-down roping and team roping.
But after graduating from Texas Tech in the mid-1990s, Bland curtailed his rodeo activities and became heavily committed to ranching. But about three years ago, he took up steer roping. During the past year, the 43-year-old Bland finished in the money on the PRCA circuit on a regular bases and qualified for the NFSR.
Bland received lots of help from his 16-year-old roping horse Salty whose American Quarter Horse Association registered name is Carols Sassy Doc. Salty won the 2017 AQHA/PRCA Steer Roping Horse of the Year.
The big bucks
On the last day of the Nov. 1-5 Professional Bull Riders World Finals in Las Vegas, the PBR awarded its world champion a $1 million bonus for the 15th consecutive year.
In the PBR, the world champion receives $1 million in addition to the prize money he earns during the regular season and the PBR World Finals.
Jess Lockwood, 20, of Volborg, Mont., received the $1 million bonus when he won the 2017 world title at the World Finals on Nov. 5. All in all, Lockwood’s total 2017 earnings were $1,525,292.
When the PBR awarded its world champion a $1 million for the first time in 2003, it was unheard of for a western riding sport to dish out that kind of money. Cody Lambert, a PBR founding father, said it was the right thing to do for bull riders .
“We wanted to make an impact on the rest of their lives,” Lambert said. “Bull riders’ careers are very, very short. We wanted our bull riders, when they retired, to have something started.”
Chris Shivers was the first to receive the $1 million bonus when he won the world title in 2013.
Silvano Alves, a Brazilian who lives in Decatur, has collected the coveted $1 million bonus a record three times. He won world titles in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Two other cowboys have won the $1 million twice. They are Justin McBride (2005 and 2007) and J.B. Mauney (2013 and 2015).
The other $1 million winners are Adriano Moraes (2006), Guilherme Marchi (2008), Kody Lostroh (2009), Renato Nunes (2010) Cooper Davis (2016), Jess Lockwood (2017) and Mike Lee (2004) Lee said the PBR paid him the $1 million over a 10 year period.
“It’s pretty cool to know that you have money coming in every year,” Lee said. “That’s a dream for us as bull riders.”
Cutting horse update
On the National Cutting Horse Association circuit, the NCHA Futurity is scheduled for Nov. 15 through Dec. 10 in Fort Worth. The Futurity, which features the sport’s most promising debuting 3-year-old horses, is the sport’s most prestigious show. The open division winner on Dec. 10 will receive $200,000.
Brett Hoffman, a Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame member, has reported on rodeos for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for more than three decades. Email him at email@example.com.