Monday Notebook: Wrapping Up the Governor’s Cup and the 2023 Regular Season

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The Governor’s Cup produced ample drama as two bareback riders and a saddle bronc rider made move from outside the Top 15. There were also five athletes who won at least $35,000 and Stetson Wright continued to add to one of the greatest regular seasons we’ve ever seen in ProRodeo.

The $1.1 million rodeo to close the regular season in Sioux Falls, South Dakota did not disappoint, and that will be our primary focus in this week’s Monday Notebook.

  • Bareback rider Mason Clements won the Cinch Playoffs Governor’s Cup when he needed to finish first or second to make the NFR. Clements entered the weekend No. 19 in the PRCA World Standings and at the last possible moment pulled through to make a fourth NFR. He won $25,000 for his 87.5-point ride on Two Buck Chuck of Powder River Rodeo in the Finals. Clements, who moved up to No. 12, has finished in the Top 10 each of the previous three times he has made the NFR.
  • Tie-down roper Shad Mayfield had four times of 7.4 seconds or faster en route to a Governor’s Cup Victory. Mayfield left Sioux Falls with more than $39,000 and moved up to No. 2 in the world. He finished the 2023 regular season with 10 times of 7.5 Seconds or Faster, which ranks second in the PRCA. No other tie-down roper has recorded four runs of 7.5 Seconds or Faster in a single rodeo this season.
  • Barrel racer Emily Beisel won all four rounds at the Governor’s Cup and $43,750 of a possible $45,000. Beisel won three rounds outright, including in the Finals, and split another on the way to a dominant Governor’s Cup victory. All four of Beisel’s runs were 14 flat or faster and there were a total of 17 such runs for the entire rodeo. Beisel won the event’s RAM Top Gun Award.
  • Bareback rider Jake Lees won more than $15,000 in the first two rounds to go from No. 17 to No. 15 in the World Standings. Lees took second in Round 1 and split first in Round 2 to win $15,750 in the first two nights of the Governor’s Cup, which was enough to make his first NFR in the final slot. Between March and September he was ranked between No. 9 and No. 18 in the World Standings.
  • Saddle bronc rider Tanner Butner finished second at the Governor’s Cup to go from No. 18 to No. 10 in the world. Another cowboy who moved from outside the Top 15 to inside and he did it by winning just one check over the weekend, one that was worth $19,000 for second place at the Governor’s Cup. Butner qualified for the Semifinals in sixth of eight and the Finals in fourth of four before finally paying it off with 86.5 points on Miss Valley.
  • Stetson Wright sealed the win in the bull riding in the Governor’s Cup with consecutive 90-point rides on Saturday. Stetson Wright did more Stetson Wright things in Sioux Falls with 91.5 points on The Hammer of Dakota Rodeo in the Semifinals and 90 on Dakota;s Bubba G in the Finals. It is the second time this year Wright has matched up with Dakota Rodeo bulls for 90+ points in the Semifinals and Finals of a rodeo as he also rode Trump Train for consecutive 90s to win Cheyenne. Wright won over $368,000 this year to best his own regular season bull riding earnings record by almost $50,000.
  • Coleman Proctor/Logan Medlin had the fastest run of the rodeo in the Short Round to win the Governor’s Cup team roping. The pair entered the weekend on the bubble and saved the best for last with a 3.4 to clinch the victory.
  • Four saddle bronc riders will enter the NFR with more than $220,000. Prior to this year, there had only been two regular seasons ever in which a saddle bronc rider finished with more than $220,000. There are now six such seasons after Stetson Wright, Sage Newman, Kade Bruno and Zeke Thurston all did it in 2023.