Dec 15, 2019
Stetson Wright set very high goals for his rookie year on the PRCA tour. He didn’t want just one gold buckle, he wanted three – the all-around, bull riding and saddle bronc riding.
But if he could only have one piece of hardware, well, it would be the one he marched out with Saturday night at the Thomas & Mack Center. Wright, just 20 years old, claimed the title of world champion all-around cowboy as the 2019 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo wrapped up its 10-day run.
“For sure, this one,” a beaming Wright said as he tightly clutched the encased all-around gold buckle. “I’d want any of ‘em, all three of ‘em. But this is the only one that says ‘cowboy’ on it.”
Indeed, every other world championship buckle notes a specific event – bull riding, steer wrestling, team hoping, etc. To win that all-around title, you’ve got to prove your worth in two or more events. Although Wright qualified only in bull riding for the Wrangler NFR, he had a strong season in saddle broncs, too.
He needed every one of those dollars, and most of the dollars he won over these past 10 days. Although he didn’t cash in the 10th round, getting bucked off his bull, he finished the year with $297,923. Clay Smith, who won his second straight team roping title as a header, was second at $279,672 – less than a go-round win behind the youngster from Milford, Utah.
The accomplishment surely made dad Cody Wright – a two-time saddle bronc world champ – awfully proud. The Wrights – Cody and brothers Jesse, Jake and Spencer, and Cody’s sons Rusty and Ryder – have made saddle bronc riding their domain for years, particularly at the NFR. Now, they’ve got a bull rider in the bunch who brought the rodeo family its first all-around championship.
“I always wanted to win the all-around. I wanted to be Ty Murray,” Cody said, and coincidentally, prior to Stetson’s run this year, Murray was the last roughstock rider to win the all-around crown, in 1998. “It’s definitely just a dream for me, to see your kids do good. He’s been working on it forever, since the boys were on bucking barrels in the backyard.
“He’s definitely had a rookie season of huge ups and huge downs. It might’ve been a rookie season, but that was a veteran run.”
High praise from a man who knows what it takes to win world titles. And though Stetson only got one this year, that was plenty.
“This is good. It’s more than good,” Stetson said. “It’s the best day of my life!”