December 5-14, 2024


Wright’s Words – 2023 Is Year for the Triple

Aug 2, 2023

Wright’s Words – 2023 Is Year for the Triple

By Brian Hurlburt

Moments after winning the 2022 PRCA All-Around World Championship and the Bull Riding World Championship—but “losing” the saddle bronc world title—the electrifying Stetson Wright answered a question from this writer with a direct answer.

He basically guaranteed he would complete the triple in 2023, meaning he would win gold buckles in All-Around, Bull Riding and Saddle Bronc.

Stetson captured during his Round 8 victory lap at the 2022 Wrangler NFR. | Photo by Clay Guardipee

Then during a phone call earlier this year, Wright didn’t back off of that comment. In fact, he stated his case that he was well on his way to accomplishing the herculean feat.

“I want to break the all-time season earning record and also in the bull riding and saddle bronc events,” Wright said. “I am setting myself up again this year to do what I said I was going to do because of my results to this point. It just seems to get closer every single day. I am going to keep chipping away at it, but the journey won’t be over until all 10 rounds in the NFR are done this December.”

Through July 25, Wright was checking nearly all the boxes he needed to make history. According to Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association records, no cowboy has ever done the “triple’ in Bull Riding, Saddle Bronc and All-Around, but in 1952, Harry Tompkins won all-around, bareback and bull riding world titles.

Another great action shot of Stetson ridding Jitter Bug during Round 6 of the 2022 Wrangler NFR. | Photo by Doyle

He led the PRCA Bull Riding World Standings by $10,490 over Ky Hamilton and the All-Around World Standings by about $162,221 over Brushton Minton, but he trailed Sage Newman in the Saddle Bronc World Standings by $24,005. There is plenty of time and rodeos left before the NFR, but whether he hits the “triple” or not will be decided in Las Vegas.

And that is just how he likes it.

“The vibe of the NFR is indescribable, and when the adrenaline and fireworks go off in your mind and the butterflies and fireworks go off in your stomach, it is second to none,” Wright said. “I wish I could bottle up and sell that feeling to people. They would then understand why we are all so addicted to that goal of making the NFR and winning a gold buckle.”

Before Wright was a champion, he was a fan.

“I’ve been to the NFR every year since 2003, and it is impossible not to like because the energy in the grandstands is something that I never experienced anywhere else,” Wright said. “I have been to six NFL games and the PBR Finals, but there is nothing better than walking into the Thomas & Mack Center, whether you are riding or watching. The feeling that stadium gives off is unbelievable.”

While Wright lets his mind wander a bit to Las Vegas in December, he knows there is much work left to do between now and then. He said his focus will not only be on battling the bulls and broncs, but also on overcoming himself. 

Stetson riding Spy Glass from Muddy Creek Pro Rodeo during Round 9 of the 2022 Wrangler NFR. | Photo by Clay Guardipee

“It is not necessarily staying physically healthy for me, it’s making sure my mind’s healthy for me to be successful,” Wright said. “When I am mentally sharp and show up to the arena already winning in my mind before I get on for a ride, then I win a lot in the arena. But I still doubt myself and whether I am ready and whether I belong there. It is a crazy thing because you would think a guy who has won seven gold buckles would not have doubts, but those thoughts will creep in my mind. I yell at myself, ‘No, you’re the best. You keep proving it.’ It is a daily fight to keep the negativity away, and I work on it every day. Thinking positively is not something that I am naturally good at, but I am naturally good at fixing the problem when I recognize it.”

Not only is Wright the world’s best, but he comes from the Wright clan of riders who have more gold buckles between them than any family in rodeo history. The self-doubt just might come from being so close to greatness for so long and getting beat by the best in the game growing up.

There were plenty of bumps and bruises on the journey because his brothers, uncles and father showed him the ropes. Iron strengthens iron in the Wright family.

“If I was writing this story, I would make sure to include that it is all about my family and the support I’ve had over the years,” Wright said. “I know not everybody is as lucky as me when it comes to that. It is not just the support I get, but having my family already walk in the shoes that I’m now in has always been an advantage. That is special, and they mean the world to me.”There was zero doubt in that final answer.