Monday Notebook: A Deeper Look at the Champions in San Antonio
BY BRETT NIERENGARTEN @PRORODEOBRETT
The San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo paid out nearly $1.5 million, and because money determines everything in rodeo, we’re going to focus exclusively on the San Antonio Champions in this edition of the Monday Notebook.
Below you’ll find an extended note on all nine winners.
- Five of the nine event champions came through the Wild Card. Unlike some other rodeos, the Wild Card Round in San Antonio comes after the Semifinals. The contestants who do not advance out of the Semifinals, get one more shot to crack the Finals on the same day, just seven hours prior. This year’s Wild Card winners made the most of their last-chance opportunity as Leighton Berry, Dustin Egusquiza/Levi Lord, Kassie Mowry and Jeff Askey all were victorious after competing twice on Saturday.
- Bareback rider Leighton Berry matched the highest marked ride of the season in Finals. Berry’s 88.5-point ride on Pickett’s Topped Off was just a warmup for what he’d do later that day. Riding Gun Fire, Berry was 93 points to break the arena record and match Kaycee Feild for the best ride of the year.
- Steer wrestler Jesse Brown tied the fastest run of his career in the Finals. Brown was 3.1 to win San Antonio which matched Kyle Irwin for the fastest run of the 19 performances. The only other time Brown has been 3.1 in his career, which has seen him make three straight NFRs, was Round 2 of the 2020 National Western.
- Team ropers Dustin Egusquiza/Levi Lord won San Antonio with just three qualified times. The new pairing for the 2023 season benefited greatly from the tournament-style format. Entering Saturday’s Wild Card, they had just one qualified time on their first four runs, but the $2,250 they won from it was enough to keep them alive. The pair turned the tide on Saturday with a 3.5-second run, the fastest of the rodeo, in the Wild Card and a 4.1 to boot to win the Finals. Those two runs paid them $20,000 and moved them both into the Top 3.
- Stetson Wright now leads the saddle bronc riding by more than $25,000. Wright broke the arena record with 92.5 points on The Cervi Brothers’ Ricky Bobby in the Finals, which may have been even sweeter because it came immediately following reigning World Champion and World No. 2 Zeke Thurston’s 90.5. Wright has $71,809 to Thurston’s $45,497 so far in the 2023 season. These two cowboys are the winners of three of the last four PRCA Saddle Bronc Riding Gold Buckles.
- Riley Pruitt is No. 5 in the PRCA Tie-Down Roping World Standings with 11 runs for the entire season. Pruitt has competed at only four rodeos in the 2023 season and San Antonio has provided a vast majority of his money so far. He has made $25,287 this season and $22,500 came from San Antone. He stopped the clock at 7.2 seconds in the Finals.
- Kassie Mowry was the one of two barrel racers to make three runs faster than 14 seconds. Two of those sub-14 second runs came at opportune time for the three-time NFR qualifier - in the Wild Card and Finals. The other cowgirl to do so was Jordon Briggs.
- Jeff Askey is now No. 1 in PRCA Bull Riding World Standings. Askey made two 90-point rides on Saturday and made $26,833 for the rodeo, the most of any competitor in any event. In San Antonio, Askey made four rides of 86 points or better. With $56,170 banked already, he leads Stetson Wright by about $7,500.
- Breakaway roper Shelby Boijsoli was faster than two seconds in her Semifinal and Finals runs in San Antonio. Boisjoli was 1.9 in the Semifinals and 1.7 in the Finals. That 1.9-second run proved to even more important at the end of the rodeo because it gave her the edge over Joey Williams in total money after they tied in the Finals. This was Boisjoli’s first career win at a Texas Swing rodeo.