Royce Ford wins at Rapid City, puts him over $1 million in career earnings | TSLN.com

Royce Ford wins at Rapid City, puts him over $1 million in career earnings

RAPID CITY, SD – Royce Ford’s bareback riding win at the Black Hills Stock Show & Rodeo turned out to be a milestone in more ways than one.

After losing much of 2010 to rehabbing from a broken right leg and torn tendons in his elbow, this win in a Wrangler Million Dollar Tour Silver rodeo, presented by Justin Boots, produced the first big check he’d banked in 14 months and the surest sign yet he is ready to make a return to the elite level of his event.

The Black Hills was also the rodeo that – with a first-place check of $6,092 – made him the 90th PRCA cowboy to surpass $1 million in career earnings.

“I didn’t have any idea I was close to that (milestone) until a friend called this morning to tell me,” Ford said. “It’s a pretty neat deal considering how short a career I’ve had, but I’m just grateful to be healthy and back riding again. That’s the biggest thing.”

Ford qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo seven consecutive years from 2003-09, but that broken leg in the sixth round of the Wrangler NFR in 2009 not only took him out of a promising week (he’d already won a round and placed in three others), but kept him sidelined for two months at the start of the year.

By July, chronic pain in his right (riding) elbow had become so bad that he had to go back home to Briggsdale, CO, and make plans for surgery.

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Ford made it to just 25 rodeos last year, far below the 68 he had averaged in his seven Wrangler NFR years, and he finished 46th in the world standings with $19,299.

“They had to replace both tendons and take out bone fragments from my elbow,” Ford said of the September surgery. “It was a long, nasty procedure, and with the rehab that followed, I didn’t compete for four and a half months.

“It doesn’t make any sense to try to come back too soon. You’re just giving your money away to everyone if you are not at the top of your game.”

Until the trip to the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Ford hadn’t gotten much to build on in his comeback. He failed to win a check at either Denver or Fort Worth.

That all changed when Ford drew Sutton Rodeo’s Whitewater and rode him for 88 points, three points better than second-place Tilden Hooper, who also drew Whitewater earlier in the rodeo.

“I knew (Whitewater) was a full brother to a bronc named Royal River that the Suttons had raised, so the bloodlines were good,” Ford said. “And Tilden Hooper was 85 on him here last week, so I talked to Tilden, and he said, ‘You better go to South Dakota and win yourself some money.’

“Any time you have a chance to get on a good horse, you have to capitalize on it. And since I’m coming off an injury, it’s really good to be able to rodeo again. To win a big Tour rodeo like this at the start of the season gives you a lift.”

It was a memorable weekend for the Ford family all around. Royce’s cousin, Jarrod Ford, a Wrangler NFR qualifier in 2005-06, tied for the bull riding title with Minnesotan Brett Stall. Ford scored 87 points on Mosbrucker Rodeo’s Jokers Wild, and Stall matched that score on the final day of the rodeo onboard another Mosbrucker bull, Loose Lip Louie.

“My traveling partner, Kanin Asay, had (Jokers Wild) last year and was 88 on him in Cheyenne, so I knew he was a good bull,” Jarrod Ford told the Rapid City Journal. “And I wanted to get up here, but with delayed and canceled flights in Fort Worth (due to) the ice storm, it looked tough. But finally I was able to get out and get here on time.”

In a rare turn of events, Hunter Herrin went from not placing in Rapid City’s first round of tie-down roping to claiming the average title and checks totaling $3,879 as he pushes for a return trip to the NFR.

The four-time Finals qualifier (2006-09) finished one spot out of a trip to Las Vegas a season ago, and he learned a few things from watching the rodeo on television with his family.

“It’s amazing how well some of these guys rope,” said the Apache, OK, cowboy about Trevor Brazile, Tuf Cooper, Cody Ohl and Fred Whitfield. “But I started to realize that it was the guys with the best horses who were winning all the money. I had always thought that if my horse didn’t beat me, then he was good enough. Guys like Trevor and Fred and some of the others are great ropers, but they have everyone at an even bigger disadvantage because they are riding great horses, too.”

In Rapid City, Herrin saddled up nine-year-old Hustler in hopes of stepping up his horsepower for the season. He bought the young horse in 2008 and has worked with his dad to bring the horse along.

“There are some other horses I can get on some this year, but he is going to get 75 to 80 percent of the work if he stays healthy,” Herrin said. “He’s going to have to step up and be the man.”

A workman-like 9.2-second run on Hustler in the first round wasn’t good enough to place in the money, but it kept Herrin in contention in the average.

“I had a better draw in the second round,” he said. “They broke the barrier on that calf in the first round, so I had to lay off just a bit. But it is such a small arena, I didn’t want to get too behind. That run wasn’t anything great either, but it was good enough, I guess.”

Herrin stopped the clock in 8.1 seconds to tie for fourth in the round and edge Timber Moore by a tenth of a second for the average crown.

The other champions at Rapid City were steer wrestlers Dean Gorsuch and Zack Cobb (8.5 seconds each on two head), team ropers Cody Graham and Ryon Tittel (9.6 seconds on two head), saddle bronc rider Jesse Kruse (84 points) and barrel racer Shali Lord (25.85 seconds on two runs).

RAPID CITY, SD – Royce Ford’s bareback riding win at the Black Hills Stock Show & Rodeo turned out to be a milestone in more ways than one.

After losing much of 2010 to rehabbing from a broken right leg and torn tendons in his elbow, this win in a Wrangler Million Dollar Tour Silver rodeo, presented by Justin Boots, produced the first big check he’d banked in 14 months and the surest sign yet he is ready to make a return to the elite level of his event.

The Black Hills was also the rodeo that – with a first-place check of $6,092 – made him the 90th PRCA cowboy to surpass $1 million in career earnings.

“I didn’t have any idea I was close to that (milestone) until a friend called this morning to tell me,” Ford said. “It’s a pretty neat deal considering how short a career I’ve had, but I’m just grateful to be healthy and back riding again. That’s the biggest thing.”

Ford qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo seven consecutive years from 2003-09, but that broken leg in the sixth round of the Wrangler NFR in 2009 not only took him out of a promising week (he’d already won a round and placed in three others), but kept him sidelined for two months at the start of the year.

By July, chronic pain in his right (riding) elbow had become so bad that he had to go back home to Briggsdale, CO, and make plans for surgery.

Ford made it to just 25 rodeos last year, far below the 68 he had averaged in his seven Wrangler NFR years, and he finished 46th in the world standings with $19,299.

“They had to replace both tendons and take out bone fragments from my elbow,” Ford said of the September surgery. “It was a long, nasty procedure, and with the rehab that followed, I didn’t compete for four and a half months.

“It doesn’t make any sense to try to come back too soon. You’re just giving your money away to everyone if you are not at the top of your game.”

Until the trip to the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Ford hadn’t gotten much to build on in his comeback. He failed to win a check at either Denver or Fort Worth.

That all changed when Ford drew Sutton Rodeo’s Whitewater and rode him for 88 points, three points better than second-place Tilden Hooper, who also drew Whitewater earlier in the rodeo.

“I knew (Whitewater) was a full brother to a bronc named Royal River that the Suttons had raised, so the bloodlines were good,” Ford said. “And Tilden Hooper was 85 on him here last week, so I talked to Tilden, and he said, ‘You better go to South Dakota and win yourself some money.’

“Any time you have a chance to get on a good horse, you have to capitalize on it. And since I’m coming off an injury, it’s really good to be able to rodeo again. To win a big Tour rodeo like this at the start of the season gives you a lift.”

It was a memorable weekend for the Ford family all around. Royce’s cousin, Jarrod Ford, a Wrangler NFR qualifier in 2005-06, tied for the bull riding title with Minnesotan Brett Stall. Ford scored 87 points on Mosbrucker Rodeo’s Jokers Wild, and Stall matched that score on the final day of the rodeo onboard another Mosbrucker bull, Loose Lip Louie.

“My traveling partner, Kanin Asay, had (Jokers Wild) last year and was 88 on him in Cheyenne, so I knew he was a good bull,” Jarrod Ford told the Rapid City Journal. “And I wanted to get up here, but with delayed and canceled flights in Fort Worth (due to) the ice storm, it looked tough. But finally I was able to get out and get here on time.”

In a rare turn of events, Hunter Herrin went from not placing in Rapid City’s first round of tie-down roping to claiming the average title and checks totaling $3,879 as he pushes for a return trip to the NFR.

The four-time Finals qualifier (2006-09) finished one spot out of a trip to Las Vegas a season ago, and he learned a few things from watching the rodeo on television with his family.

“It’s amazing how well some of these guys rope,” said the Apache, OK, cowboy about Trevor Brazile, Tuf Cooper, Cody Ohl and Fred Whitfield. “But I started to realize that it was the guys with the best horses who were winning all the money. I had always thought that if my horse didn’t beat me, then he was good enough. Guys like Trevor and Fred and some of the others are great ropers, but they have everyone at an even bigger disadvantage because they are riding great horses, too.”

In Rapid City, Herrin saddled up nine-year-old Hustler in hopes of stepping up his horsepower for the season. He bought the young horse in 2008 and has worked with his dad to bring the horse along.

“There are some other horses I can get on some this year, but he is going to get 75 to 80 percent of the work if he stays healthy,” Herrin said. “He’s going to have to step up and be the man.”

A workman-like 9.2-second run on Hustler in the first round wasn’t good enough to place in the money, but it kept Herrin in contention in the average.

“I had a better draw in the second round,” he said. “They broke the barrier on that calf in the first round, so I had to lay off just a bit. But it is such a small arena, I didn’t want to get too behind. That run wasn’t anything great either, but it was good enough, I guess.”

Herrin stopped the clock in 8.1 seconds to tie for fourth in the round and edge Timber Moore by a tenth of a second for the average crown.

The other champions at Rapid City were steer wrestlers Dean Gorsuch and Zack Cobb (8.5 seconds each on two head), team ropers Cody Graham and Ryon Tittel (9.6 seconds on two head), saddle bronc rider Jesse Kruse (84 points) and barrel racer Shali Lord (25.85 seconds on two runs).

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