Dec 5, 2022
After Round 4 With Hunter Cure
By Patrick Everson
Way back in February, Hunter Cure was pretty certain retirement from rodeo was in the cards, and soon. Still, he entered the prestigious and big-money RodeoHouston, not necessarily thinking about winning, but that perhaps the rodeo would serve as his swansong.
Then, for the first time in a career that included two steer wrestling world championships, Cure won RodeoHouston. With it came a $50,000 payday, and all of a sudden, he was atop the PRCA world standings.
So what to do?
“It was about a week after that before my wife came to the conclusion that we could get back here [to the NFR]. I didn’t move an inch without her blessing,” Cure said, recognizing the commitment involved in making one more NFR charge. “The foundation of the family has to be stable if I’m gonna be gone for three months of the summer. And she’s solid.”
So Bristi did the lion’s share of parenting for their two kids, 10-year-old daughter Halli and 8-year-old son Hayes, while Cure hit the rodeo trail one more time. Bolstered by that Houston victory, Cure finished fifth in the regular-season standings at $119,529 to earn his sixth – and likely final – trip to the Wrangler NFR.
And boy, has he made it pay off so far this week. In Friday night’s second go-round, Cure turfed his steer in 3.7 seconds for a first-place check of $28,914. Then on Sunday night, he threw down a 3.4-second effort for another $28,914 payout.
In four go-rounds, he’s got two wins – moving up to second in the world standings – and he currently leads the NFR average with a total time of 17.3 seconds on four head. Any doubts the 39-year-old had prior to Houston about having anything left in the tank have been fully replaced with confidence.
“Now, not only can I be here, but I can be as competitive as I want to be,” Cure said, while noting he’s not necessarily surprised by his success. “You shouldn’t be surprised when all the hard work you do pays off.”
Cure intends to keep making it pay off for six more go-rounds – perhaps the final six runs of his PRCA career.
“I feel like it’s gas pedal on the floorboard, every night, as hard as I can push it,” Cure said. “Every run I make from here on out has a purpose, knowing that I may not be back here again.”