ARLINGTON, Texas – A night after winning the coveted all-around world championship, Stetson Wright returned to make his 2020 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo one for the ages.
It ended in fitting fashion as Wright split fourth with an 89-point ride on Bar T Rodeo’s Angel’s Landing to win the bull riding world championship at Globe Life Field, Dec. 12.
“I was in the race for the all-around and to come out on top I was at a loss for words, I was star struck to beat guys I look up to,” said Wright, who locked up the all-around crown Dec. 11. “But winning the all-around world title meant so much to me, but to win it again feels better for the simple fact that people might say I was lucky my first time. But I feel like after the second one, maybe they’ll still think I’m lucky, but everyone has their own opinion, and it doesn’t change the fact that I got what I wanted, so I’m just happy to be here.”
Wright has won back-to-back all-around world championships – the first to do so since Trevor Brazile in 2014 and 2015.
At 21, Wright is the youngest cowboy to be crowned All-Around World Champion in his first two seasons. He became the first cowboy to win the all-around gold buckle and a roughstock world championship in the same year since Ty Murray in 1998. Murray won the all-around and bull riding titles that year.
“That’s what I always wanted growing up, to be one of the best cowboys to ever live,” Wright said. “That means a lot to hear people talk that highly about me makes me feel lucky and happy to be where I’m at.”
In the bull riding, Wright edged Ty Wallace for the world crown. Wright finished with $267,941, edging Ty Wallace, who came in with $256,599. Wallace split fourth with Wright in Round 10.
Stetson clinched his inaugural bull riding world title by placing second in the average with 539 points on six head. Wallace was third in the average with 533.5 points on six. Colten Fritzlan won the average with 605 points on seven.
“It was crazy. Ty Wallace, Colten Fritzlan and Ky Hamilton all rode phenomenally,” Wright said. “Every guy did this week, but it came down to us four in the last round and it was crazy to come out on top. This is what I live for, the stories when it comes down to the last ride.”
Kaycee Feild becomes third bareback rider to win five world titles
Kaycee Feild is a world champion again.
Feild won his fifth bareback world championship and first since 2014 with a 91-point ride on Stace Smith Pro Rodeos’ Junior Bonner on a re-ride.
“I’m trying to block it all out before I start crying when I see my family,” Feild said. “This is pretty special. I have a lot to say, but I don’t even know where to begin. I’m really excited.”
Feild finished first in the world standings with $277,648. Tim O’Connell finished second with $270,991.
The difference in the world title was Feild placed second in the average with 849.5 points on 10 head and earned $54,576, while O’Connell was third in the average with 847.5 points and earned $43,154.
Feild, who also won world championships in 2011-2014, is tied with ProRodeo Hall of Famers Joe Alexander and Bruce Ford with the most bareback riding world titles in PRCA history.
“This one is better than the first one, second one, all of them,” he said. “The competition is stiffer than ever. Finding the motivation and the drive was something I had to dig really deep for, more than I have in the past.”
Saddle bronc rider Ryder Wright captures second world title
Ryder Wright split the Round 10 win with a 91-point ride on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Big Texas to catapult to the world and average championships at the 2020 Wrangler NFR.
Wright also won a world title in 2017.
“(This feels) twice as good,” Wright said. “That horse has been around forever. I remember my dad (Cody) got on that horse when I was little. I think he’s like 20 years old. Super happy to have him.”
By splitting the go-round with his brother Stetson, Ryder finished with five go-round wins – Rounds 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10. He tied the PRCA record for most saddle bronc riding wins at the NFR for the second time in his career, doing it first in 2016. He shares the record with Billy Etbauer (1992, 1999 and 2005) and Dan Mortensen (1998).
Ryder also established a saddle bronc riding average record at the NFR with 876.5 points on 10 head.
“I’ve had an awesome week,” Ryder said. “Couldn’t have drawn any better than I did. That’s a huge part in winning world titles, drawing good horses. I was lucky enough to capitalize on them. I was feeling pretty good today. I was confident and just let it play out, and it worked out in my favor.”
Mayfield holds on to win first gold buckle
Tie-down roper Shad Mayfield had a forgetful 2020 Wrangler NFR, placing in just two rounds and registering six no-times.
But Mayfield rode a huge regular-season performance to finish atop the world standings with $198,399, just $231 more than second-place Marty Yates.
Mayfield came into the NFR with an $89,479 lead over his nearest competitor, and he needed every dollar.
“It means the world to me,” Mayfield said. “It’s something I wanted growing up, it’s been a dream of mine. I had a great year coming in, the best year I could ever imagine having. I had a rough Finals, I really didn’t rope like I should have, but God had big plans, he put me here for a reason, and I think just having a good season paid off.
“I don’t think I roped to my full capability, and I knew it could go either way. I just kept my head up, knew what the other guys had to beat and paid attention to that and knew I needed to make my best run (in Round 10). I really didn’t think I’d won the world walking out of there but then they told me, and it’s a great feeling.”
Team roping partners Lovell, Eaves win world titles
With a world championship in reach, team ropers Colby Lovell and Paul Eaves won Round 10 with a 4.4-second run to capture coveted world championship gold buckles.
Lovell finished with $187,836 in the world standings, defeating second-place Luke Brown by $453. Eaves finished with $178,486, edging runner-up Paden Bray by $2,983. Eaves also won a team roping heeling world championship in 2018 while roping with Clay Smith.
“It was crucial, we had to do it,” Eaves said. “We had to win the round to win the world and it was everything, and we knew coming into it that it would be that way.”
Despite the magnitude of the moment in Round 10 Lovell stayed calm.
“Everything this week we’ve been through with the ups and downs and trying to stay focused, do our job and being fortunate enough here at the end, I didn’t have any jitters,” Lovell said. “If it came together, it came together. I told my wife if it happens, it happens and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. Paul and I talked before this and I made up my mind if Luke (Brown’s) run placed in the round I was just going to go win money and try to get paid, but the way it fell together, Paul and I were talking and I said we’ll try to win the round.
“Our steer was slower, and he came to the left. I was relying on my horse (Bartender) to let me catch up fast and be really close to the steer. When I got up there and stuck it on him, I knew I was in a bad spot and I tried to hang him, and I saw Paul coming and I went for it, and he heeled the fire out of him.”
Eaves said he and Lovell tried to keep things simple in Round 10.
“When we were here (Friday), we saw the standings, and the average plays such a big part in this deal that nobody ever wins the world without at least some average money,” Eaves said. “I guess it wasn’t entirely in our hands, we had to do the best we could do, and it had to fall right, but it was exciting all day knowing we had a chance.”
Lovell reflected on what it was like to win his inaugural gold buckle.
“Man, it’s everything,” he said. “There’s a fine line of people that have it and you grow up roping your whole life wanting it. Last night on the stage (for the Round 9 winner’s presentation) I was the only one without one (a world champion buckle) and I thought about that while standing up there. You strive to be the best and strive to keep the confidence to think you’re the best. If you don’t think you’re the best then it’s hard to compete against these guys.”
Eaves was also happy with gold buckle No. 2.
“It’s a personal thing, satisfaction, to do that,” Eaves said. “Everyone forgets about it the next year but for yourself on the inside, it’s an awesome stage
to be on.”
Edler wins world in Wrangler NFR debut
Steer wrestler Jacob Edler will never forget his first trip to the Wrangler NFR.
The State Center, Iowa, cowboy clocked a 3.9-second time to place fourth in the final round and win the average and world championships.
Edler finished with $200,510 in the world standings to edge Stetson Jorgensen, who had $198,830.
Edler won the average with a 43.4-second time on 10 head. Jorgenson was second at 43.7 seconds. Jorgensen had a 5.0-second run and failed to place in Round 10.
“I’m still trying to make everything come to reality right now,” Edler said. “I don’t know whether to cheer, laugh, cry, what I’m supposed to do. I’ve wanted this so bad and I’ve worked so hard the last six years. Coming into my first NFR and doing this, it’s unbelievable right now.”
Edler didn’t out-think himself before he arrived at Globe Life Field, Dec. 12.
“My thoughts were, I knew it was going to be a one-hitter,” he said. “I wasn’t the favorite coming into today. I was a little bit of an underdog coming into today. I knew that I really needed to take as much start as I could at that steer and have everything line out perfectly, and it ended up lining out perfectly.
“Stetson’s such a great competitor, he got a little bit of a bad draw today. I am ever-so grateful for him letting me ride his horse. Without Stetson Jorgensen, there is no way I could ever have done this.
“I told him, ‘Thank you so much. Thank you for being a friend. One of these gold buckles is headed your way. You bulldog way too good not to have one.'”
Kinsel finishes record-setting NFR with third world title
Hailey Kinsel now has three barrel racing world titles, and all three over the last three seasons.
The Cotulla, Texas, cowgirl won five rounds and placed in eight at the 2020 Wrangler NFR to finish with $349,076 in the PRCA | RAM World Standings.
Kinsel earned $270,615 at the NFR, a barrel racing record. Thanks to those earnings, Kinsel also won the RAM Top Gun Award, which goes to the contestant who wins the most money in any single event at the Wrangler NFR.
“They’re all so equally different in so many ways,” Kinsel said about her world titles. “The first one being a dream that you know is there. The second being you know what it really feels like. And the third, being this year and being as crazy as it was, it was more than just a want. It was something, I set goals. It doesn’t fulfill everything for you, it doesn’t just completely bring you all the joy in the world, but it dang sure helps. To be able to pull it off this year with all the craziness we went through and the hard times in my life and to be able to rise up from that and do something so awesome here is not something I could have planned.”
Kinsel also knows she has a superstar horse in Sister.
“They ask if she knows how special she is, and absolutely she knows she’s special to me, but I don’t think she knows she’s done a great thing,” Kinsel said. “I think she just has a great time. That, for me, is the most important thing. She loves it, she continues to love it, she has a blast out there. She doesn’t do it for anything I do it for. She does it because she thinks I asked her to and she likes me.”