J.W. Harris wins bull riding at American Royal | TSLN.com

J.W. Harris wins bull riding at American Royal

KANSAS CITY, MO – Two-time and reigning World Champion Bull Rider J.W. Harris may be peaking at just the right moment.

In his last major competition before the 52nd Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, Harris thrilled the large crowd in Kemper Arena Oct. 29 with a dramatic 89-point ride on Stace Smith Pro Rodeos’ For Real that earned him a rodeo-best $9,419.

It was, for sure, enough to win the American Royal, a Gold event on the 2011 Wrangler Million Dollar Tour presented by Justin Boots, surpassing Chad Denton and 19-year-old Jacob O’Mara by two points.

A broken right (riding) hand suffered at the Wrangler NFR last December got Harris’ 2010 season off to a slow start and led him to brand his performance this year as “kind of mediocre.”

“It wasn’t until after the Xtreme Bulls event in Cody (WY) in July that I really began to trust (the hand) … began to get my strength back where it was before the injury. During the early months of the season, it would kind of go dead on me at times.

“I didn’t do any special therapy. I built up my strength just getting on bulls. It was kind of aggravating waiting for it to come around again, but you go through that sometimes in this sport and it’s good now. No pain.

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“This was a good tune-up for the Finals and a good way to start the 2011 season.”

Harris enters his title defense in Las Vegas in eighth place, about $50,000 behind leader Wesley Silcox, but knows what is possible if he can put together 10 solid rounds there. Each round pays $17,512 to the winner, and the average champion at the NFR earns nearly $45,000.

“It all starts over when you get to the Finals,” Harris said. “It’s an even slate. I just have to go out there and do my job and see what happens. I can’t control what Silcox or any of the rest of them does. I just have to do my part.”

Harris was one of six past world champions to secure at least a share of a championship at the $302,459 American Royal, Oct. 21-23, 29-30.

• Five-time World Champion Saddle Bronc Rider Billy Etbauer’s 88-point ride on Frontier Rodeo’s Let ‘Er Rip from the first weekend stood up for first place. Etbauer also split the win with J.J. Elshere at the American Royal in 2006, the last year before a three-year hiatus in which the American Royal committee staged the Dodge Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo.

“(Let ‘Er Rip) is kind of a wild little thing,” Etbauer said. “I had him in Dodge City (KS) a year or two ago. Basically, you always feel busy on him. He’s always going to buck, he’s pretty fast and he doesn’t necessarily make the same tracks every time. He’s one you can go and win on, if you can survive the ride, anyway.”

• Bobby Mote, who has won three world championships as a bareback rider, actually earned more money team roping in Kemper Arena on his way to securing the all-around title. Heading steers for Garrett Jess, Mote won $1,243 in team roping and $231 in bareback riding.

• Chad Masters, the 2007 world champion header, paired with Jade Corkill to win the team roping with a time of 9.6 seconds on two head.

• Three-time World Champion Bareback Rider Will Lowe had an 85-point ride on Silverado Rodeo’s Memphis King to tie Joe Gunderson (who also rode Memphis King) and Chris Harris for the title.

“These Gold tour rodeos are such a big thing to us,” Lowe told the Kansas City Star, “because when you are doing well on the Tour, you’re doing well at the biggest rodeos we’ve got. Kansas City really stepped it up and put themselves in the mix with the big dogs.”

• Two-time World Champion Steer Wrestler Luke Branquinho finished first in his specialty with a time of 6.9 seconds on two head, two-tenths better than Dane Hanna.

“The committee was great, they had great hospitality, and they try hard,” Branquinho said. “I’ve been to Kansas City a few times – I won it back in ’04 – and they try hard, which is the main thing if you want to have a rodeo at the level of the Gold Tour.”

Veteran timed-event cowboy Cody Owens pulled off the upset of the rodeo, winning the tie-down roping with a time of 16.6 seconds on two head, edging two-time and reigning World Champion Trevor Brazile by three-tenths of a second.

Jill Moody won the barrel racing title over Tammy Fischer by seven-hundredths of a second – 29.93 seconds on two runs to Fischer’s 30.00.

KANSAS CITY, MO – Two-time and reigning World Champion Bull Rider J.W. Harris may be peaking at just the right moment.

In his last major competition before the 52nd Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, Harris thrilled the large crowd in Kemper Arena Oct. 29 with a dramatic 89-point ride on Stace Smith Pro Rodeos’ For Real that earned him a rodeo-best $9,419.

It was, for sure, enough to win the American Royal, a Gold event on the 2011 Wrangler Million Dollar Tour presented by Justin Boots, surpassing Chad Denton and 19-year-old Jacob O’Mara by two points.

A broken right (riding) hand suffered at the Wrangler NFR last December got Harris’ 2010 season off to a slow start and led him to brand his performance this year as “kind of mediocre.”

“It wasn’t until after the Xtreme Bulls event in Cody (WY) in July that I really began to trust (the hand) … began to get my strength back where it was before the injury. During the early months of the season, it would kind of go dead on me at times.

“I didn’t do any special therapy. I built up my strength just getting on bulls. It was kind of aggravating waiting for it to come around again, but you go through that sometimes in this sport and it’s good now. No pain.

“This was a good tune-up for the Finals and a good way to start the 2011 season.”

Harris enters his title defense in Las Vegas in eighth place, about $50,000 behind leader Wesley Silcox, but knows what is possible if he can put together 10 solid rounds there. Each round pays $17,512 to the winner, and the average champion at the NFR earns nearly $45,000.

“It all starts over when you get to the Finals,” Harris said. “It’s an even slate. I just have to go out there and do my job and see what happens. I can’t control what Silcox or any of the rest of them does. I just have to do my part.”

Harris was one of six past world champions to secure at least a share of a championship at the $302,459 American Royal, Oct. 21-23, 29-30.

• Five-time World Champion Saddle Bronc Rider Billy Etbauer’s 88-point ride on Frontier Rodeo’s Let ‘Er Rip from the first weekend stood up for first place. Etbauer also split the win with J.J. Elshere at the American Royal in 2006, the last year before a three-year hiatus in which the American Royal committee staged the Dodge Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo.

“(Let ‘Er Rip) is kind of a wild little thing,” Etbauer said. “I had him in Dodge City (KS) a year or two ago. Basically, you always feel busy on him. He’s always going to buck, he’s pretty fast and he doesn’t necessarily make the same tracks every time. He’s one you can go and win on, if you can survive the ride, anyway.”

• Bobby Mote, who has won three world championships as a bareback rider, actually earned more money team roping in Kemper Arena on his way to securing the all-around title. Heading steers for Garrett Jess, Mote won $1,243 in team roping and $231 in bareback riding.

• Chad Masters, the 2007 world champion header, paired with Jade Corkill to win the team roping with a time of 9.6 seconds on two head.

• Three-time World Champion Bareback Rider Will Lowe had an 85-point ride on Silverado Rodeo’s Memphis King to tie Joe Gunderson (who also rode Memphis King) and Chris Harris for the title.

“These Gold tour rodeos are such a big thing to us,” Lowe told the Kansas City Star, “because when you are doing well on the Tour, you’re doing well at the biggest rodeos we’ve got. Kansas City really stepped it up and put themselves in the mix with the big dogs.”

• Two-time World Champion Steer Wrestler Luke Branquinho finished first in his specialty with a time of 6.9 seconds on two head, two-tenths better than Dane Hanna.

“The committee was great, they had great hospitality, and they try hard,” Branquinho said. “I’ve been to Kansas City a few times – I won it back in ’04 – and they try hard, which is the main thing if you want to have a rodeo at the level of the Gold Tour.”

Veteran timed-event cowboy Cody Owens pulled off the upset of the rodeo, winning the tie-down roping with a time of 16.6 seconds on two head, edging two-time and reigning World Champion Trevor Brazile by three-tenths of a second.

Jill Moody won the barrel racing title over Tammy Fischer by seven-hundredths of a second – 29.93 seconds on two runs to Fischer’s 30.00.

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