Red

Oklahoma cowboy follows in dad's footsteps



By Ruth Nicolaus, for the Red Bluff Round-Up

Red Bluff, Calif. (April 22, 2017) – In the second performance of the Red Bluff Round-Up, the saddle bronc riding changed leads by a half-point.

An Oklahoma cowboy took the lead after the second performance of the Red Bluff Round-Up, the nation’s largest three-day rodeo.

Hardy Braden, of Welch, Okla., scored a half-point better than Friday night’s high score to be 85 points going into Sunday’s performance.

Braden, who is 28 years old, rode the Calgary Stampede horse Turbo Rocket, a twelve-year-old mare, for the win.

He’s having the best year of his 10-year career, ranked fifth in the PRCA’s world standings after a good winter run. “It’s been an outstanding year, unbelievable,” he said. His biggest win this winter was a second-place finish at the San Antonio (Texas) Stock Show & Rodeo, cashing checks totaling more than $10,000 to add to his year to date winnings of $37,859.

Braden has never been ranked in the Top 15, which would qualify him for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo presented by Polaris RANGER in December in Las Vegas, and he and his family are excited. His dad, Butch, a former saddle bronc rider and bull rider, has worked as a pickup man for the last thirty years, and is happy for his son.

“I think dad’s more excited than anybody,” Braden said. “But he keeps it on the down low.” Hardy knows there are about five more months in the rodeo year. “It’s very early. A lot can change.”

Hardy helps on the family ranch when he’s not rodeoing, but his dad doesn’t mind him being gone. “He wants me on the road more than at home,” Braden said. “He wants me to enjoy it as long as I can. It’s not going to last forever. He knows, he’s been there.” Butch competed on the national scene until he married his wife Tammy, and they have two children, daughter, Tara, and Hardy.

After marriage and kids, Butch competed in the Prairie Circuit, the states of Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska, and the kids went along. “Me and my sister, we were gone two or three nights a weekend, to go with dad,” Braden said. “I’ve been around this ever since I was a little kid.”

Braden estimates his dad Butch qualified for the Prairie Circuit Finals a dozen times; Hardy has qualified about six times, winning the Prairie Circuit saddle bronc riding title in 2012-13.

Butch was selected to work as a pickup man at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 2011-15, and Tammy was selected to work as a timer at the WNFR from 2013-15.

In other events, the top bareback score for the Saturday afternoon performance was shared by two cowboys: R.C. Landingham, of Hat Creek, Calif., and Grant Denny, of Minden, Nev. (82.5 points each). Three bull riders made qualified rides, and New Plymouth, Idaho’s Roscoe Jarboe’s score was the highest: 84 points. In the barrel racing, the fast time for the day was turned in by Syndi Blanchard, of Albuquerque, N.M. (17.07 seconds).

Fast times for the second performance in the tie-down roping went to Ryle Smith, of Oakdale, Calif. (9.3 seconds), who was also the fast time in the steer wrestling (4.6). In the team roping, Lane Ivy, of Adrian, Texas, and Buddy Hawkins II, of Columbus, Kan., had a time of 7.1 seconds.

The third and final performance of the 96th annual Red Bluff Round-Up takes place Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Tomorrow’s event is the annual Tough Enough to Wear Pink day, with funds raised for the St. Elizabeth Imaging Center. In the last 10 years, the Round-Up and other community activities have raised over $378,000 for St. Elizabeth.

The Wrangler Network webcast last night’s and today’s performances, and will do tomorrow’s as well. They will be archived for future viewings at wranglerwestern.com. 

 
 
 
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