Monday Notebook, Jan. 23: Riley Webb Makes Big Move and More
BY BRETT NIERENGARTEN @PRORODEOBRETT
Introducing the Monday Notebook a new, weekly column that will cover important nuggets you may have missed from each weekend in rodeo.
This column serves several purposes - a chance to keep up with longer rodeos in one place, a chance to shine a light on performances that streamed only on The Cowboy Channel+, and a chance for myself and my Zero In partner, Mike Snow, to share the things we found interesting from the non-stop world of ProRodeo.
There will be somewhere between 6-10 bullets each week and no detail is too big or small, if it’s interesting to me, I will share with the audience.
So, without further adieu, here is the first edition of the Monday Notebook.
- Riley Webb is now No. 1 in the PRCA Tie-Down Roping World Standings. Following a rookie season when he made the NFR as an 18-year-old, Webb is No. 1 in sophomore campaign by over $2,500 after the season’s first big rodeo. He got better with each run at the National Western en route to an important victory. He was 8.8 and 8.3 in his pool and 8.0 in the Semifinals before capping off the rodeo with a 7.2-second run. Webb won close to $7,000 in Denver. He also won all three rounds of the Cook Rodeo Days in November with three times faster than 8.0 seconds.
- The only 90-point rides of the National Western came in the Short Round. Many rodeos see their best scores then, that’s nothing new, but it is still noteworthy that we went 19 performances without hitting that elusive 90-point mark before it happened three times in the 20th and final perf. The rides came courtesy of Stetson Wright, who was 90 to win the saddle bronc riding and 90.5 in the bull riding, and Bryce Burnell, who won the bull riding with 91 points. Last year, there was only one 90-point ride the entire rodeo, Josh Frost’s 92-point bull ride in the Finals.
- Bryce Burnell’s winning ride was first 90-point ride of career. The aforementioned Burnell is 29-years-old and joined the PRCA in 2021. His 91-point ride on White Trash was the highest-marked ride of his career, topping his previous career-high of 88 set in the Semifinals the day prior.
- Stetson Wright is currently averaging 86.45 points in the saddle bronc riding. In the PRCA data - which goes back to 2012 - there have only been three saddle bronc riding seasons in which a cowboy finishes with more than 85 points on average. Stetson Wright has two (85.47 in 2022 and 85.44 in 2021) and Sage Newman has the other (85.03 in 2022). On 21 horses so far in the 2023 season, Wright is on pace to break his own record by almost an entire point. Wright also has the record of 53 rides of 85+ in the saddle bronc riding and with 14 already this season, he is already more than a quarter of the way to that mark before even competing in Fort Worth.
- Four bull riders covered two at Fort Worth Xtreme Bulls. While Sage Kimzey’s 89.5 points in his return to action stole the headlines, Kimzey ultimately finished fourth behind Koby Radley (175), Trey Holston (172), Cody Teel (170) and Jeff Askey (167.5). Last year, only two cowboys rode two.
- Dawson Hay and Cole Reiner each made more than $3,000 in Bracket 1 in Fort Worth. The NFR saddle bronc rider and bareback rider were the only two to clear that number in the first bracket at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. The FWSSR pays $1,760 for winning a round and $1,320 for second, so winning more than $3,000 in a bracket in Fort Worth requires back-to-back Top 2 finishes. Reiner swept the bareback riding with 86.5 points in Round 1 and 90 in Round 2 while Hay was 89.5 points and then 88.5.
- Clay Smith/Jake Long won the National Western for the third and fourth time respectively. The pair that teamed up last summer has been hot ever since. In 2023, they started in a familiar place for both of them - the winner’s circle in Denver. Smith/Long were 3.9 seconds, which was the fastest time of the rodeo, in the Finals. Long has now won Denver three times in the last four years, the previous two coming with Clay Tryan as his header. Smith’s wins came with Jade Corkill in 2019 and Paul Eaves in 2016. After this year’s triumph in the Mile High City, both men are ranked No. 7 in the PRCA World Standings.
- The Top 3 bull riders in the PRCA World Standings are all 23 or younger. Colton Byram (23), Grayson Cole (23) and TJ Gray (21) makeup not just the Top 3 in bull riding, but Byram and Cole are also the Top 2 earners in any event in all of ProRodeo. Third is saddle bronc rider Shorty Garrett ($23,565)