By BRAD KEITH
Photos courtesy DUDLEY BARKER, dudleydoright.com
Sport: (December 10, 2014) — Four-time world champion Bobby Mote, the leader in the bareback riding average at the 2014 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, has spent recent years living in Erath County.
Now, the Culver, Oregon native is making sure everyone knows he’s a Stephenville, Texas cowboy.
“I had to fill out my PRCA application for next year, and in the window where you put your hometown, I was proud to say that I’m from Stephenville,” said Mote in a phone interview with The Flash Today preceding round seven at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas Wednesday.
“When you look around and see what everybody who lives there locally is doing, that says a lot for Erath County and the cowboys and cowgirls who live around there,” Mote said. “I don’t know the total percentage of the competitors here who are from that area, but I would think it’s overwhelming.”
Of the 120 professional athletes competing in the 2014 WNFR, 24 live in the Stephenville area, according to a release from Stephenville Chamber of Commerce President and CEO July Danley. Exactly one out of every five performances features a local competitor.
And Mote and others from the area didn’t just reach the finals, they are dominating much of the event.
Mote, 38, grabbed a razor-thin lead atop the bareback average when he placed second in Tuesday’s sixth go-round, scoring 83 points aboard Turkish Whiskey. He’s one of 12 cowboys to to ride all six broncs, and has a total score of 490.5, one point more than Winn Ratliff.
Mote shared top money with Tim O’Connell in round four, riding On Tap to a score of 84 points. He scored 82.5 on Big Easy to finish third in round three and was fifth with 82.5 points aboard RD Mercer in the second go-round.
“The competition is great here; it’s a terrific field of bareback riders,” Mote said. “I just try to do the same thing every round – get a good start, stay ahead of the horse and make a great ride. I try to keep it as simple as I can. What the stats are and who’s where makes no difference once I’m on that horse. I have to do my job.”
Mote, a 14 time WNFR qualifier, has won $61,290.26 through six rounds at the WNFR, and on Tuesday became only the second cowboy to reach $1 million in career earnings at the finals. He’s now fourth in the 2014 world standings with $143,581.
“I’ve had a couple good chances on a couple good horses, and I feel like I’ve been making the most of them,” Mote said. “That’s what this week is all about. You have to have chances and capitalize on them.”
Mote’s haul at the finals is part of the $670,243.24 won by Stephenville area competitors entering round seven.
“I love seeing all the local cowboys and cowgirls doing so well,” Mote said. “We’re all buddies, and we’re having a great time together.”
And soon, when below his name the lights read, “Stephenville, TX,” the world will know he’s one of them.