December 5-14, 2024


Bull Riding Champion – Ky Hamilton

Dec 18, 2023

Bull Riding Champion – Ky Hamilton

By Patrick Everson

Ky Hamilton got helicoptered in a way not seen since John Elway got blasted in Super Bowl 32 against the Green Bay Packers. The difference was that Elway got smacked by a couple of reasonably sized NFL players. Hamilton’s whirling dervish was delivered by a raging bull in the fifth round of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

Elway bounced right back, and the Denver Broncos won their first Super Bowl. Likewise, Hamilton bounced back the very next morning – in the postponed opening round that was moved to Wednesday – by passing concussion protocol, then tying for third in the sixth go-round. Then he went out and won Wednesday night’s seventh go-round.

Ky Hamilton during Round 7 of the 2023 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. | Photo by Clay Guardipee

In fact, Hamilton was the only rider of all 15 to score Wednesday night, so he scooped up all $99,053 in nightly prize money.

Ultimately, that helped the Australian bull rider nab his first world championship.

“I guess that pretty much sealed the deal,” Hamilton said Saturday night while clutching his gold buckle. “It just comes back to being a cowboy about things, not giving up. When the doctors told me I just had a broken rib and a bruised lung, I knew I was getting on Wednesday. There was nothing stopping me.”

Hamilton won three go-rounds in all and was the only rider to stay on six bulls. So he pocketed the $78,747 NFR average winner’s check, and for the week, he pulled down a whopping $341,249. That gave the Aussie season-long winnings of a massive $595,414, nearly $200,000 ahead of second-place Josh Frost ($400,766).

Hamilton also got huge amounts of respect from his peers for picking himself up mid-NFR, dusting himself off and competing while pretty banged up.

“That’s what you sign up for when you decide to be a bull rider,” the humble Aussie said.

Hamilton also was the Top Gun Award winner, given to the contestant who wins the most money over the 10-day NFR.