December 5-14, 2024



Dec 5, 2022


Ethan Cart knew he was taking a risk. But the Hamshire, Texas, cowboy didn’t come to the Junior World Finals to play it safe.

Cart entered Monday’s short go-round of senior saddle bronc riding leading the average with a nine-point advantage (148.5-139.5) over Cooper Sagers of Rush Valley, Utah. So when Cart scored 70.5 points as one of the first riders out of the gate, odds were his three-head total of 219.0 points would be enough to give him the title. After all, the highest-marked saddle bronc ride of the week in the senior division to that point was Sagers’ 76.5 to win the second go.

Ethan Cart of Hamshire, Texas, talks with friends and family after winning the Senior Saddle Bronc on Monday. | Photo By: Jack Nowlin

Cart rolled the dice.

“At first, I was like, ‘Should I have done it?”’ Cart wondered. “And then you realize … You’re in Vegas. Just go take the gamble and try the best you can to get the win.”

The gamble paid off.

Cart scored 76.5 points to win the round and take the average title with a three-head total of 225.0. Sagers was second with a 210.5.

“I had been on that horse in the second round and he almost bucked me off right there at the whistle,” Cart recalled of CT Rodeo’s Simple Simon. “So when I made it past that and got off on the pick-up man, it was pretty uplifting for me.

“To end up winning this title is a special deal.”

The ride was Cart’s fifth of the week. He won the first go with a 74.0 on a re-ride and finished second in the second go with a 74.5 before going two-for-two Monday.

“I figured I might as well get my money’s worth and get on everything they put under me,” he said.

In the rookie division, Westin Clemens of Winterset, Iowa, was the only rider to cover three head, winning the short go with a 55.0 and the average with 192.0 points. The defending champ, Wade Magner of Breda, Iowa, finished second in the average with a 137.0.

The junior division also had only one qualified ride in the short go and Colton Haase of East Helena, Montana, rode his 62.0-point ride to a world title with an average of 128.5.

Hayz Madsen entered the short go leading the average and the Morgan, Utah, cowboy maintained that lead with a 73.0 for a three-head total of 225.5 points. Caseyn Pearson of Emmett, Idaho, finished as the reserve champ with 208.5 points and Payton Kuntz of Miles City, Montana, won the short go with a 79-point ride.

Bareback Bronc Riding

Prescott, Arizona, cowboy Braylon Johnson definitely cowboyed up Monday.

Johnson entered Monday’s short go as the only cowboy to make it back in all three roughstock events. He was bucked off short of the whistle in bull riding and was sitting second in saddle bronc when disaster nearly struck. After being thrown off 406 Rodeo’s TeePee Creeper, the horse’s back legs came down on Johnson. That wasn’t the worst of it, though.

“My bronc rein wrapped around my neck and when that horse moved it pulled tight and gave me a big old rope burn across my neck,” Johnson said.

Medical personnel raced in to help Johnson from the arena and sat him down so he could catch his breath. They took care of the rope burn as best they could and gave him the go-ahead to compete in bareback if he still wanted to.

Johnson didn’t hesitate.

“The second I got off I ran over and got my arm taped up because I knew I had a bareback horse to ride,” he said. 

His mom, Megan Johnson, was about 15 feet away watching the events unfold.

“I was standing right here at the gate watching him come right at me when he came off his saddle bronc horse and it stepped right on him,” she noted. “People would ask me all the time if, as a mom, I was nervous watching him ride. I used to be really, really scared. But now he’s just really, really good so I can’t be scared anymore. But I was scared today.”

Less than an hour after he was helped out of the Wrangler Rodeo Arena, Braylon was back in the bucking chutes on CT Rodeo’s Foxy. He nodded his head and the white-faced bronc took off straight down the middle of the arena. Johnson matched the bronc jump for jump and made it to the whistle.

His 79-point ride gave him the average title with a three-head score of 237.0 points. He needed every one of them to win his first world title as Kole Younger of Grace, Idaho, had an 83.0 to finish with a 236.0.

“It was definitely worth it to win the title,” Johnson said of his injury.

Braylon wasn’t the only member of the Johnson family in the Wrangler Rodeo Arena this week. His younger sister Zailey, 10, carried the Junior Roughstock Association flag around the arena between bronc-riding events.

“Zailey usually sits on the side, but this year they crowned her Miss Junior Roughstock and they asked her if she would come run flags for the association at the finals,” her doubly proud mom said. “She quickly and gladly accepted. She’s been making the rounds here and signing autographs and helping promote the sport.”

Ryder Topolinski of Grand Prairie, California, won the rookie division with an average of 225.5 while rookie saddle bronc winner Westin Clemens won the short go with a 76. Rowdy Benjamin of Rock Springs, Wyoming, was the reserve champ with 193.0 points.

Kash Loyd had his best ride of the week to win the senior average and short go titles. The Cleburne, Texas, cowboy scored 81 points on CT Rodeo’s Roxy to finish with a three-head total of 231.5 points. Defending champ Collin Roland of Childersburg, Alabama, had 229.5 points to finish as the reserve champ.

The novice division title went to Brayze Schill of West Columbia, Texas, with 236.5 points. Kelton Maxfield of Nampa, Idaho, was the reserve champ with a 228.6; and Blayn Hughston of McBain, Michigan, and Monte Downare of Hartsel, Colorado, tied for the win in the short go with 83.5-point rides.

Bull Riding

As far as Brody Beasley was concerned, there was no secret to winning Leal’s Junior Bull Riding world title in the 12-13 division.

Brody Beasley, the 12-13 divison winner in Bull Riding. | Photo By: Jack Nowlin

“Grit and determination,” the Canadian bull rider said matter-of-factly.

Beasley entered the short go third in the average but scored 79 points to give him a three head total of 222.5 points. That proved to be just enough to edge Dayton Loula of Sparta, Missouri, whose 72-point ride gave him a total of 221.5. Nicholas Jackson of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, won the short go with an 81.0 and finished third in the average.

Kaysen Chaffin, the 10-11 divison winner in Bull Riding. | Photo By: Jack Nowlin

In the 10-11 division, Kaysen Chaffin of Temecula, California, completed an impressive week by winning the short go with a 75.0 and the average with a 233.0. Bryson Culpepper of Cleveland, Texas, finished as the reserve champ with 211.0 points.

Hudson Bolton of Milan, Tennessee, won the 14-15 division with a 223.0, followed by Damien Krushall of Wharton, Texas, who won the short go with an 81.0 and finished as the reserve champ.

Hudson Bolton, the 14-15 division winner in Bull Riding. | Photo By: Jack Nowlin

Greenville, North Carolina, bull rider Clay Guiton won his third Junior World Finals title by holding off longtime friend John Crimber of Decatur, Texas, in the 16-18 division. The “Ginger Ninja” had a 78.0-point ride in the short go for an average of 250.5 points. Guiton needed almost all of those points as Crimber made his last ride at the JWF a memorable one, scoring 81 points to win the go and finish as the reserve champ with 248.5 points.

Clay Guiton, the 16-18 division winner in Bull Riding. | Photo By: Jack Nowlin