As your National Finals Rodeo closes in on Round 8, it’s a shame more fans aren’t allowed in to watch. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, attendance is capped at around 14,000 inside the 40,000-seat Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, and a lot of fans didn’t get to see in person Wednesday night something that hasn't happened in almost 20 years.
There are nine Wright brothers on the PRCA circuit right now. Nine. And they’ve won enough money, buckles and world titles to make a guy's head spin.
One of the youngest — 21-year-old Stetson — raised the bar again Wednesday winning his first saddle bronc round at the Super Bowl of Rodeo. An hour later, he earned a first-place paycheck in bull riding, becoming the first competitor since 2001 to win a pair of rough stock events in the same NFR round.
“When I do well in the saddle bronc riding it’s like I get a second wind, my energy level is higher than normal," Wright told the media afterward. "When I get on my bull, I’m a little amped up and ready to go. To win the bull riding, too, it just topped it all off.”
Stetson is no stranger to bull riding wins. He’s the PRCA's reigning world champion and in position to go back-to-back, only $82 behind Ty Wallace.
He won’t win the saddle bronc title, but with Wednesday's round win, Stetson did knock his brother Ryder out of the current lead, at least momentarily.
Stetson has all but won his second straight all-around world title, which is saying something for a guy who competes in two rough stock events. Our last Montanan to win the world all-around in saddle bronc and bull riding — some guy named Dan Mortensen.
“When you win two go-rounds you can’t feel anything but perfect, and I just feel amazing right now,” Wright said. “I was working out with Ky Hamilton before the NFR. He’s a hard worker, and he put me to work with him. A lot of the credit this year goes to him for being just a good buddy and always helping me out when I need it.”
Wednesday night alone, Wright earned almost $60,000 (including ground money) in 16 seconds of work. Most competitors don't even win that money in a season. Naturally, he’s already come up with a way to spend at least some of it.
“I’m super happy. Maybe I’ll go buy my daughter (1-year-old Kingsley) some cool Christmas presents,” he said with a grin.
Money well spent for the Utah cowboy who may also add to her jewelry collection.
“Nothing is over. I’ll keep on keeping on until I’m holding the gold buckle because it’s not over until then,” Stetson said.