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Bareback riding history made at 100th Cody Stampede

by Matt Naber | Jul 04, 2019

PRCA Media Coordinator



CODY, Wyo. – The 100th annual Cody (Wyo.) Stampede was one for the record books, and not just because it was celebrating a century of competition.

Caleb Bennett made one of the highest-scored bareback rides in ProRodeo history with a 93.5-point ride on Frontier Rodeo’s Gun Fire. 

Either live or on ProRodeoTV.com, over the last four days fans witnessed Orin Larsen break the previous Cody record with a 93-point ride on C5 Rodeo’s Make Up Face – one of only a handful of cowboys to achieve such a score. Larsen’s record stood for two days before Bennett made his ride.

“I was talking to Orin Larsen and jokingly said that I’d be coming for him,” Bennett laughed. “We were all joking with him about it. I told him I had Gun Fire so don’t get too comfortable because I’m trying to get 94, but 93.5 will work.”

Bennett’s joke turned into reality July 4.

“The scores were stacking up, and it was incredible bareback riding this week and incredible talent riding them,” Bennett said. “To get a win at this rodeo is a blessing and very humbling.”  

Only four bareback riders in ProRodeo history have scored higher than Bennett with 94 points – Wes Stevenson (2002), Will Lowe (2003), Ryan Gray (2009) and Tilden Hooper (2010).

Bennett, 30, knew he was in for a good ride as he won the Fiesta Days Rodeo in Spanish Fork, Utah, with an 87-point ride on Gun Fire. It was all Bennett could think about after Cody’s draw was announced.

“I’m a firm believer that thoughts become things, and if you think about it hard enough, it comes close to happening that way,” Bennett said. " That’s a heck of a way to win a rodeo."

But he didn’t know he and Gun Fire have a history of success in Cody. 

In 2016, Bennett won the Wrangler Champions Challenge event in Cody with an 87-point ride, about six weeks after the Cody Stampede. Then in 2017, bareback rider Tyler Nelson won the Cody Stampede with an 86-point ride on Frontier Rodeo’s Gun Fire.  

A cowboy often knows he’ll make a high score before his feet touch the ground.

“It’s almost indescribable,” Bennett said. “It’s like you float in the air and there’s electricity and strength and power and all of it mixed into one. If you focus and slow it down, it’s unreal and almost like you have wings.”

Before winning Cody, Bennett was ranked eighth in the 2019 PRCA | RAM World Standings with $63,821 and fourth in the ProRodeo Tour Standings with 2,420.43 points. With the $9,842 he won in Cody, along with the ProRodeo Tour points he collected, both of those positions are likely to improve. 

“There’s so much more money and more good rodeos putting up the money, and the bareback riding is unreal this year,” Bennett said. “So many guys who could be 90 (points) with the flip of a coin could get from 25th to 15th in the world (standings).”   

With seven consecutive qualifications for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (2012-18) and more than $1.33 million won since his rookie year in 2007, Bennett knows what it takes to excel in ProRodeo. 

“As a rodeo athlete there are times where you ask yourself, ‘Can I do this?’” Bennett said. “You’ve got to block that out and feed the positives, like, 'I know I can ride this horse because I’d done it before'. But to do it at that extent is the icing on the cake for your mental game because there is so much money left to be won after Cowboy Christmas is done.”

Other winners at the $353,641 rodeo were all-around cowboy Stetson Wright ($6,637 in saddle bronc riding and bull riding); steer wrestler Clayton Hass (3.8 seconds); team ropers Lane Ivy/Cesar de la Cruz (4.5 seconds); saddle bronc riders Dawson Hay (89.5 points on Mo Betta Rodeo's Sue City Sue) and Jake Wright (89.5 points on Frontier Rodeo's Big News); tie-down roper Reese Riemer (8.2 seconds); barrel racer Carly Taylor (17.04 seconds) and bull rider Parker Breding (92.5 points on Summit Pro Rodeo's Turnabout).

For more coverage of the Cody Stampede, check out the July 12 edition of ProRodeo Sports News.





 
 
 
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