Bull rider Ruger Piva criss-crosses country in season’s final weeks to make first NFR

Ruger Piva has finished 17th in the PRCA Bull Riding World Standings the last two years and it took a frantic finish to kick down that door and make his first career National Finals Rodeo.

With two weeks left in the season, Piva was in the heart of the bubble race, No. 15 in the world, with $82,511 and the likes of Jordan Spears, Roscoe Jarboe and Jeff Askey bearing down on him.

But, Piva got hot beginning at the Pendleton Xtreme Bulls and slowly, but surely put all doubt to rest. He rode three bulls there and won close to $7,000 to give himself a little breathing room and in the last week of the season, his foot was on the gas.

From Sept. 24-30, Piva was 3-for-5, riding all three bulls for at least 87 points. The most lucrative of those wins came in at the Old Fort Days Xtreme Bulls (Arkansas), where he was 89 points on Wild Onion to win $6,387. The next day, he was 90 in the Long Round at the Nephi Xtreme Bulls (Utah) to end the year in style.

Piva will enter the Wrangler NFR No. 12 in the world with $98,268 won this year.