Sundell adds San Antonio buckle to collection |

Sundell adds San Antonio buckle to collection

Sundell spurs out a win at the San Antonio rodeo, a first for the Iowa cowboy. Photo by Greg Westfall

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Wade Sundell has a mantle full of prestigious rodeo buckles, but there was one big one that was missing – until Saturday night.

Sundell rode Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Big Tex for 90 points in the final round Feb. 22 to win the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo for the first time in his career.

“Of the regular-season rodeos, this one is the one that has been missing,” said the Boxholm, Iowa, cowboy. “I haven’t been able to come here the last three years because I’ve been at home hurt, so to come back for the first time in a long time and win is amazing. I’m on cloud nine and I’m ready to rock and roll now.”

The five-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier earned a total of $18,090 at this Wrangler Million Dollar Tour event, with two-thirds of it coming courtesy of Big Tex, helping him to top the rest of the finals field, which included world champions Chad Ferley, Cody Wright and Taos Muncy.

“I wanted to get up on the table and start dancing when I heard I had drawn Big Tex because I was so excited,” said Sundell, who passed the $1 million mark in career earnings Saturday night. “I’ve seen him so many times and was 91 points on him the only other time I rode him, so I knew I could be 90 on him again.”

Aside from a gold buckle or an NFR average win, Sundell says San Antonio was the rodeo title he most wanted on his resume. Always a fierce competitor, Sundell said knowing the men he was riding against made him want to take his riding to another level.

“My motor was running the same way it does when I’m at the NFR, because of the guys who were up tonight and the caliber of horses in the pen,” he said. “Everyone had a horse that gave them a chance to win, so to come out on top feels great.”

In the final round, Jacobs Crawley rode Calgary Stampede’s Lynx Mountain for 88 points and Cort Scheer and Troy Crowser each spurred their horses for 87. It was an incredibly competitive saddle bronc riding competition, but Sundell felt he had the class of the pen and cashed in on his opportunity.

“I didn’t worry about what horse anybody else drew; all I knew was that when I nodded my head I was going to do my part and Big Tex was going to do his, and we were going to be tough to beat,” Sundell said. “That horse is the standout of any pen.”

Other winners at the AT&T Center were bareback rider Steven Peebles ($21,770), steer wrestler Wyatt Smith ($19,007), team ropers Erich Rogers and Cory Petska ($21,129 each), tie-down roper Jesse Clark ($17,174), bull rider Sage Kimzey ($18,029), steer roper Cody Lee ($19,584) and barrel racer Sabrina Ketcham ($20,840).

It was the second consecutive year that a bull rider – Josh Koschel did it a year ago – won both the rodeo and the San Antonio Xtreme Bulls on the same day. Kimzey earned $40,307 from the two events and now leads the 2014 Windham Weaponry High Performance PRCA World Standings with $64,662.