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Rusty Wright wins Greeley for second year in a row

GREELEY, Colo. – Saddle bronc rider Rusty Wright won his second consecutive Greeley (Colo.) Stampede on July 3 by tallying 168.5 points on two head. 

“It's awesome," Wright said. "I've had kind of a slow year, and was excited to come here because I won it last year. I like the atmosphere here – it makes me aggressive and the crowd is fun. You can hear them scream when you ride and it makes you want to try harder.”

Wright, 21, is a two-time qualifier for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo presented by Polaris RANGER - the last two years in a row - and now he’s aiming to go three-for-three. 

“Winning boosts my confidence 100 percent – and a win like this heading into the summer helps you know you can ride the rank ones,” Wright said. “I want to keep the moment going.”

Wright won the 2016 Greeley Stampede with an 85.5-point ride on Beutler & Son Rodeo's Falling Star. This year, he drew Beutler & Son Rodeo's Ole Flame for the final round – the same bronc Jacobs Crawley rode to win the first round of the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo in February. 

“He said it was a fun horse and to take the rein and let it all hang out – so that’s what I did,” Wright said. 

That approach paid off as Wright made an 87-point ride, a point higher than Crawley had made on the same bronc four months prior. It also propelled Wright to the top of the average in Greeley by four points – which added up to a $5,264 pay day. 

Prior to Greely, Wright had been to Oakley, Utah; Prescott, Ariz.; Red Lodge, Mont., and Cody, Wyo.

“And we drove the whole way,” Wright said. “I was getting tired, but a win like this makes me want to keep going.”

Other winners at the $315,370 rodeo were all-around cowboy Caleb Smidt ($9,802 in tie-down roping and steer wrestling), bareback rider Shane O’Connell (173.5 points on two head), steer wrestler Dru Melvin (7.9 seconds on two head), team ropers Clay Smith/Paul Eaves and Riley Minor/Brady Minor (10.3 second on two head each), tie-down ropers Shane Hanchey and Cade Swor (19.0 seconds on two head each), barrel racer Sydni Blanchard (34.45 seconds on two runs), and bull rider Brody Yeary (85.5 points on one head). 

For more coverage of the Greeley Stampede, check out the July 21 issue of the ProRodeo Sports News.
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