Wright’s Sights High for NFR

All-Around Champion Owns Big Lead in the Bull Riding Standings

As the sport of rodeo evolves, the face of Resistol cowboy Stetson Wright serves as its cover.

Since he blasted onto the scene in 2019, he’s earned five world championships – three straight all-around titles, one in bull riding from 2020 and the bronc riding crown last year . He’s been dominant in doing so, and he didn’t let down this year.

His list of titles in 2022 is extensive. He won 16 championships throughout the campaign, and that’s just in bull riding. He added another 17 titles in saddle bronc riding and 28 all-around crowns.

Sixty-one titles for one man in a single season is incredible. As the No. 1 bull rider in the world standings, Wright has earned $320,599 and owns a lead of more than $95,000 over the field as they prepare for the National Finals Rodeo, set for Dec. 1-10 at Las Vegas.

“Bronc riding always feels better when you do it right,” said Wright, 23, of Milford, Utah, “but there’s not a thing in the world like making an awesome bull ride and have people standing on their feet.”

He has people standing a great deal of time. He’s a fan-favorite, even in a family that boasts of so many world titlists, all in saddle bronc riding: Dad Cody has two, brother Ryder has two, and uncles Jesse and Spencer each have one.

“There are people who think my dad pushed that on us, but you don’t get that many world championships out of a family that’s forced to do it,” Stetson Wright said. “We had to beg and plead our dad to let us get on steers and broncs and bulls. I don’t even think he wanted us to do it.

“He knows how hard it is. Now that most of us have kids, we see what he missed out on. You miss out on seeing your kids grow up. It’s a dang tough life.”

Despite the challenges, it’s a life he loves. Of course, having as much success as he’s had at such a young age, it would be hard not to love. In addition to leading the bull riding race, Wright is also second on the saddle bronc riding money list. He is the odds-on favorite to win a fourth straight all-around title.

So far this season, he’s earned nearly $515,000 riding bucking animals in the PRCA. He’d love to be the first person since Trevor Brazile did it in 2010 to win the Triple Crown, earning three Montana Silversmiths gold buckles in a given season. As the only contestant in the field of 120 cowboys and cowgirls competing at this year’s NFR, he has a shot.

He’s one of four Resistol bull riders competing over those special Las Vegas nights.

Rexburg, Idaho

The injury bug has left its mark on Garrett Smith. He competed at the National Finals Rodeo in 2016, then an injury took him out of the 2017 finale after only a couple of go-rounds.

Smith stayed on the sidelines for much of 2018 and had to battle through some pain to qualify for the NFR again in 2019. After missing the last two championships, he has some things to prove this December when he arrives in Sin City. He enters the fray fourth in the world standings with $141,648

“I’m just looking at it one bull per night down there, and I’m going to do it with that exact attitude,” said Smith, 27. “We’re all competing in this together. We all have to ride our bulls and not worry about what the other guys are doing. I can’t control what they do or whether they stay on their bulls.

“I need to worry about staying on my bull, then moving on to the next one. The more bulls you ride there, the more chances you’re giving yourself to win money.”


Mackay, Queensland, Australia

Three has always been a watermark for National Finals Rodeo qualifiers, and three is definitely lucky for Ky Hamilton.

This year marks his third straight appearance at the NFR, and he’ll roll into Las Vegas No. 9 in the world standings with $112,651.

Hamilton’s inaugural run at ProRodeo’s marquee event happened in 2020 during its one-year run in Arlington, Texas. The Australian cowboy found a great deal of success there, too. He placed in five go-rounds and finished fourth in the aggregate race to earn more than $112,000 inside Globe Life Field.

He made his first trip to the City of Lights last December and won the opening go-round. He placed on two other nights and finished the year 10th in the world standings.

He’ll have another chance to prove his mettle over the final 10 nights of the 2022 campaign.