Hoffman: Brown edges Tutor to win bareback riding title

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 Lone Star State.

 

Jake Brown of Cleveland edged Bill Tutor of Huntsville by a point, 254.5 to 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 each turned in scores of 83. In the third round, they each had 86.5s.

But Brown won the first round, edging second place finisher Tutor by a point, 85 to 84. Looking back, that proved to be the difference.

Brown’s scores of 85, 83 and 86.5 added up to a three-ride tally of 254.5. The total for Tutor’s scores of 84, 83 and 86.5 was 253.5.

During the third round and closing performance on Saturday, Jan. 30, Tutor, who was the next-to-the-last cowboy to compete, took the lead in the average when he turned in the 86.5. Brown, who was the last rider to leave the chutes, had to produce a score of at least 86 to clinch the title. But he turned in the 86.5 and won the average/aggregate title by a point.

After edging Tutor by the narrow margin, Brown said he and Tutor have a friendly rivalry.

“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 was ranked No. 2 in last week’s PRCA early season world bareback riding standings with $18,114.

Tutor pocketed $7,311. He is ranked No. 1 in the PRCA early season world bareback riding title race with $19,663.

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

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 clinched his fourth consecutive PRCA bull riding title last year at the Dec. 7-16 Las Vegas National Finals.

In barrel racing, Tiany Schuster of Krum finished second in all three rounds at the Texas Circuit Finals. But her consistency helped her clinch the overall title. In the average/aggregate race, Schuster edged Taci Bettis, 47.78 to 47.84.

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 advanced 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. According to rodeo secretary Mikey Duggan (who is from the Amarillo area), other competitors who earned both the annual money earnings and average/aggregate titles were Kimzey in bull riding, Schuster in barrel racing and Crawley in saddle bronc riding.

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, a Childress native 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 at the Texas Circuit Finals.

The Dec. 28-30 RAM Texas Circuit Finals offered competitors $198,394 in prize money. Each year, the Texas 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. The Texas Circuit is among 12 geographic regions that determines champions each year.

Briefly

The Professional Bull Riders began its 25th anniversary tour last weekend with a major Built Ford Tough Series tour stop in New York’s Madison Square Garden.

The National Western Stock Show PRCA rodeo in Denver is Jan. 11-21. The Fort Worth Stock Show’s PRCA Rodeo is Jan. 19-Feb 3.

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 bchoffman777@earthlink.net.

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