Rusty and Ryder Wright on Their Family Dynasty and Getting to Ride at Madison Square Garden
Before heading to Dickies Arena when they arrived for the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, brothers Ryder and Rusty Wright met up with Steve Kenyon in The Stockyards to talk all things saddle bronc riding — and as two members of the Wright family, a rodeo dynasty that currently boasts nine saddle bronc riders on the circuit, it’s their favorite topic.
When asked if being Wrights comes with an advantage, they admit that there aren’t many bucking horses they go up against without insiders’ intel. “Yeah, it seems like anything you draw, either they’ve been on it or they’ve been somewhere they’ve seen it,” says Rusty. “You usually don’t go into it blind very often.”
The experience, and talent, being passed down through the family sure seems to work.
Ryder is the youngest world champion of all time, Rusty holds a Calgary title as well as the current National Western title, and younger brother Stetson (who rides bulls in addition to broncs) is the reigning all-around world champ.
Ryder currently sits at 29th in the PRCA world standings, but it’s still early in the new season, and the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo may give him a boost. Although, he says, he hasn’t had good luck at this rodeo in years past, Ryder finished first in his bracket last week and is moving on to the Fort Worth semi-finals.
Rusty, unfortunately, wasn’t as lucky, finishing fifth in the long round. But he’s content to cheer on his brother, especially coming off his win in Denver. For the title, he went 91 in the finals on a NFR horse named Ricky Bobby. “It’s a really good horse,” Rusty says. “I actually got on him at the NFR this year — and he kind of made me look stupid. So I was really happy to have another chance at him.”
Both brothers are also happy about recently being invited to compete at the 2020 Rodeo New York — getting the chance to ride at Madison Square Garden and to do so alongside brother Stetson.
If only they could convince their dad, 2X world champion Cody Wright, to join them. Steve points out that when Cody came out of retirement to compete with Rusty and Ryder at RFD-TV’s The American in 2019, he hadn’t been on a bucking horse more than in a year, yet “he spurred like he hadn’t missed a day.”
“He’s unreal,” Rusty says. “In my opinion, I think he’s the greatest bronc rider ever, and it’s crazy what he can do — what he has done and what he still can do.”
“I try to ride just like him,” Ryder says. “Yah know, he’s been my idol for … forever. So I try and do all the same things he does when he’s riding. I may not all the time, but I try to.”
Is there a chance we’ll see Cody Wright ride with all three of his sons in 2020, possibly at Madison Square Garden?
“I know Stetson’s been trying like heck to talk him into going,” Rusty says.
*** Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Rodeo New York was canceled in 2020.