Monday Notebook: Stetson Wright, Keenan Hayes Continue to Thrive in the Texas Swing and More
BY BRETT NIERENGARTEN @PRORODEOBRETT
Four of the five Texas Swing rodeos have come and gone with the conclusion of Rodeo Austin on Saturday and fans saw arena records matched and some of the top roughstock cowboys in the PRCA take titles in Texas’ capital city.
Austin, however, was not the only place cowboys cashed big checks. In addition to the action inside the Travis County Expo Center, there were eight other PRCA rodeos ranging from Watford City, North Dakota all the way down to Nagadoches, Texas.
- Bull rider Jace Trosclair won more in the Finals of Rodeo Austin than any ride of his career. The 20-year-old won $9,870 for his 87.5-point ride on Wild Onion. Prior to Austin, the most he’d ever earned for a single PRCA bull ride was $5,448 for a second-place finish in Mandan, North Dakota last season.
- Stetson Wright has won three of the four Texas Swing rodeos in saddle bronc riding. Wright shared the title in Fort Worth with Dawson Hay before winning San Antonio and Austin outright. All of his Short Round rides have been 90 or more. In Austin, his three rides were marked 88, 88 and 90. Wright has made more than $90,000 this season and sits second in the PRCA World Standings behind RodeoHouston Champion Sage Newman.
- Saddle bronc rider Ben Andersen and bareback rider Richmond Champion both won more than $5,000 for winning PRCA Extreme Bares and Broncs in North Dakota. The aforementioned Watford City hosted the event, which had a total payout north of $34,000. Andersen was 84.5 points and Champion was 87.
- Sawyer Gilbert was the first breakaway roping champion in Rodeo Austin history. The 2021 World Champion was 2.2 seconds in the Finals to add another prestigious buckle to her trophy case. She also won the first breakaway roping in Pendleton in 2021 and was the second ever breakaway roping champion in Cheyenne the same year. Gilbert is currently in the Top 10 in the WPRA Breakaway Roping World Standings.
- Steer wrestler Stan Branco had the fastest run of his career in the Finals of Rodeo Austin. Branco stopped the clock at 3.2 seconds to get his first win on the Texas Swing since San Angelo in 2014 and match the arena record in Austin. Branco had never been faster than 3.4 in a professional rodeo before Saturday.
- Tie-down roper Hunter Herrin has gone from No. 14 to No. 2 in the PRCA World Standings in March. Herrin has done it by finishing second in RodeoHouston and first in Rodeo Austin. At those two rodeos, the 12-time NFR qualifier has won $38,450. For the year, Herrin has made $56,029.
- Bull rider Trey Holston leads the PRCA in riding percentage at 71 percent. The Kansas cowboy is No. 5 in the PRCA World Standings and has done so by riding bulls at a better clip than anyone in the PRCA. For context, the guys in front of him - Ky Hamilton, Josh Frost, Jeff Askey and Stetson Wright - are riding 52, 67, 65 and 62 percent respectively.
- Bareback rider Keenan Hayes has finished in the Top 3 of the last three Texas Swing rodeos. Before breaking through to win Rodeo Austin, Hayes was second in San Antonio and third in Houston. In the last three Texas Swing rodeos, Hayes has banked $54,316. Had he gone to just those three rodeos, the rookie would still be No. 3 in the PRCA World Standings. Right now, he is No. 2 in by a wide margin.
- Josh Frost is the only bull rider to make all four Finals of the Texas Swing. Frost has not only advanced to the Finals of Fort Worth, San Antonio, Houston and Austin, he has also covered his bull in each one, including a 90.5-pointer to win Fort Worth. Those four Short Round rides have paid him a total of $46,350.
- Barrel racer Jimmie Smith-Tew picked up wins in Waxahachie and Nagadoches, Texas. Those two wins were Smith-Tew’s third and fourth of the season as she also won the National Western and the Dixie National earlier this season.