Jess Pope Locks in His Chance at a Second Gold Buckle and Fourth NFR Average Title
Mee the NFR Athletes is presented by Montana Silversmiths
The reigning World Champion Bareback Rider Jess Pope is returning to the Thomas & Mack as the No. 10 ranked cowboy. And at the NFR, he is always on a mission.
In his three appearances, he not only already has a Gold Buckle, but has also won the Average every single year he’s qualified for the Finals. In the last two years, he was 860 on 10 on and 873 on 10 respectively.
Based on all of the evidence he has given us, we can anticipate Pope to continue climbing the standings once in Las Vegas.
Pope’s biggest payday of the season came early on at RodeoHouston, where he entered as the defending champion. Placing in Rounds 2 and 3 and winning Round 1 of Super Series 3 landed him in the Semifinals. An 85.5-point ride was good enough for third before he finished eighth in the Finals.
Ogden Pioneer Days (Utah), $5,174
Utah would bring Pope his next highest check. With an 87.5-point ride on Stace Smith Pro Rodeo’s Betty’s Boy, Pope ended up placing third behind travel partner and World Champion Tim O’Connell and rookie Sam Petersen.
HIGHEST MARKED RIDES
Killdeer Mountain Roundup PRCA Rodeo (North Dakota), 91 Points
J Bar J’s horsepower is always a high caliber and Pope drew Fringe Jacket during his Cowboy Christmas run. He matched the horse jump-for-jump in North Dakota to put a 91-point score on top of the leaderboard and beat out the No. 1 cowboy in the world Keenan Hayes by four points. The win paid him $4,512 as part of a Cowboy Christmas in which he won over $9,000 total.
Central Wyoming Fair & PRCA Rodeo (Wyoming), 89 Points
The Short Go in Casper brought another good matchup Pope’s way when he drew Cervi Championship Rodeo’s Prairie Fire. Eight seconds later and it would be an 89-point ride that pushed Pope into the No. 1 spot in the Average with 173.5 points on two.
Deadwood Days of ’76 Rodeo (South Dakota), 86.5 points
A steady climb throughout the summer continued for Pope at the end of July when he drew Bailey Pro Rodeo’s Adam’s Pet at the iconic Deadwood Days of ’76 Rodeo. He would end up tying Sam Petersen for the win with an 86.5-point ride that was also worth more than $4,000. He won a total of three rodeos that weekend including Iowa’s Championship Rodeo and the Aulick Industries Champions Challenge (Nebraska). All three paid him at least $2,800.
Gooding Pro Rodeo (Idaho), 87 Points
Pope banked close to $5,000 as to part of a six-week charge into mid-August in which he jumped from No. 26 to No. 12 in the PRCA World Standings
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