Idaho fans don’t often get the chance to watch the world’s best athlete in any sport compete on Gem State soil.
But the Caldwell Night Rodeo has a knack for attracting stars, and on Thursday, spectators were treated to a live performance from the No. 1 saddle bronc rider on the professional tour — Texas cowboy Jacobs Crawley. The defending world champ is on pace to compete in his sixth National Finals Rodeo later this year, and he’s rapidly closing in on $1 million in career earnings.
“Everything I learned last year and all the momentum I built has carried over,” Crawley said. “It’s the same mental preparation and the same approach every time I get on a bucking horse, whether it’s here in Caldwell or (at the NFR) in Las Vegas.”
Success is nothing new for Crawley, who has racked up more than 100 professional victories, including 17 this year. He also was the 2011 College National Finals Rodeo saddle bronc champion at Texas A&M.
“I grew up riding horses,” Crawley said. “When I was younger, I was one of the few guys who both roped and rode bulls. Saddle bronc riding combines the riding skills of roping with the adrenaline of riding bulls, so it was a perfect fit for me.”
On Thursday, Crawley competed alongside his travel partner and younger brother, Sterling Crawley. The younger Crawley is an accomplished saddle bronc rider in his own right, with two NFR qualifications, the 2011 PRCA Rookie of the Year award and more than $340,000 in winnings to his name.
Sterling Crawley is ranked No. 10 in the world. And as he chases another NFR appearance, he has the good fortune of spending countless hours on the road with the reigning world champ.
“It’s a pretty special deal to ride with your best friend, your older brother and your mentor,” Sterling Crawley said. “It definitely makes you work harder because everywhere you go, you have to ride against the world champion.”
Jacobs Crawley scored a 77-point ride Thursday, while Sterling Crawley posted a 79. Both are in contention for Saturday’s championship round — and each brother cheered loudly for the other during their respective CNR rides.
“I always want Sterling to ride his best,” Jacobs Crawley said. “I just want to ride better.”
Sterling Crawley relishes the good-natured sibling rivalry.
“Iron sharpens iron,” he said. “Being around great makes you want to be great.”
The Crawley brothers are known for riding in style outside the arena, too. They used to travel the pro circuit in an all-black, remodeled ambulance, but they’ve since traded it in for a tricked-out, FedEx-style spinner van, complete with queen-sized beds and a TV.
“It’s like a mini RV,” Jacobs Crawley said. “The ambulance was awesome, but it got a little rough after all those miles. It was time for an upgrade.”
An Idaho cowboy started Thursday night’s action with a bang. Morgan Wilde of McCammon posted a 79.5-point ride aboard Aussie Aussie Aussie, good enough to win the go-round and secure a spot in Saturday’s championship round.
Local cowboy Ringo Robinson is set to compete in the steer wrestling competition, and he’s in contention for the money.
Robinson, a Vallivue High graduate, is a fullback for the College of Idaho football team, which plays its games next door to the CNR Grounds at Simplot Stadium.
The junior rodeo starts at 6:30 p.m. Friday and the pro rodeo begins at 8. The championship finals start at the same time Saturday night as the five-day pro rodeo comes to an end.
Bareback Riding: 1, Morgan Wilde, McCammon, Idaho, 79.5 points on D & H Cattle Company’s Aussie Aussie Aussie. 2, R.C. Landingham, Hat Creek, Calif., 74.5. 3, J.R. Vezain, Cowley, Wyo., 74. 4, Anthony Thomas, Kimberly, Australia, 73.
Steer wrestling: 1, Taz Olson, Prairie City, S.D., 5.2 seconds. 2, Tom Lewis, Lehi, Utah, 5.4. 3, Kody Woodward, Dupree, S.D., 6.5. 4, Nik Hamm, Battle Ground, Wash., 8.7.
Team roping: (two times) 1, Coleman Proctor, Pryor, Okla., and Billie Jack Saebens, Nowata, Okla., 6.9 seconds. 2, Travis Whitlow, Queen Creek, Ariz., and Tyler Getzwiller, Scottsdale, Ariz., 7.1.
Saddle bronc riding: 1, Sam Spreadborough, Snyder, Texas, 80 points on Powder River Rodeo’s Shaken Not Stirred. 2, Sterling Crawley, Stephenville, Texas, 79. 3, Jacobs Crawley, Boerne, Texas, 77. 4, Brady Nicholes, Hoytsville, Utah, 76.
Tie-down roping: 1, (tie) wyatt Williams, Glenns Ferry, Idaho and Colton Farquer, Oakdale, Calif., 10.4 seconds each. 3, Roger Nonella, Redmond, Ore., 11.1. 4, Clay Schricker, Adrian, Ore., 12.8.
Barrel racing: 1, Stevi Hillman, Weatherford, Texas, 17.31 seconds. 2, Andrea Busby, Brock, Texas, 17.40. 3, Sammi Bessert, Grand Junction, Colo., 17.43. 4, Kim Schulze, Larkspur, Colo., 17.46.
Bull riding: (no qualified rides)
Bareback Riding: (first round) 1, Casey Breuer, Mandan, N.D., 80 points on Burch Rodeo’s Big Blue. 2, Morgan Wilde, McCammon, Idaho, 79.5. 3, Orin Larsen, Inglis, Manitoba, 78. 4, Cody Kiser, Carson City, Nev., 77. 5, Caleb Bennett, Tremonton, Utah, 76. 6, Bill Tutor, Huntsville, Texas, 74. 7, (tie) Chad Rutherford, Lake Charles, La., and J.R. Vezain, Cowley, Wyo., 74.
Steer wrestling: (second round) 1, Rowdy Parrott, Mamou, La., 4.1 seconds. 2, (tie) Straws Milan, Cochrane, Alberta, and Seth Brockman, Wheatland, Wyo., 4.2. 4, (tie) Olin Hannum, Malad, Idaho, and Tyler Waguespack, Gonzales, La., 4.4. (total on two) 1, Judd Austin, Preston, Idaho, 9.8 seconds. 2, Dakota Eldridge, Elko, Nev., 9.9. 3, Nick Guy, Sparta, Wisc., 10.1. 4, Olin Hannum, Malad, Idaho, 10.2. 5, (tie) Trevor Knowles, Mount Vernon, Ore., and Dean Gorsuch, Gering, Neb., 10.4. 7, Matt Reeves, Cross Plains, Texas, 10.6. 8, Josh Clark, Belgrade, Mont., 10.8.
Team roping: (second round) Paul David Tierney, Oral, S.D., and Cesar de la Cruz, Tucson, Ariz., 4.7. 2, Clay Smith, Broken Bow, Okla., and Paul Eaves, Lonedell, Mo., 4.8. 3, Spencer Mitchell, Colusa, Calif., and Justin Davis, Cottonwood, Calif., 5.0. 4, John Alley, Adams, Tenn., and Clark, Adcock, Smithville, Tenn., 5.6. (total on two) 1, (tie) Kaleb Driggers, Albany, Ga., and Junior Nogueiria, Burleson, Texas; and Randon Adams, Logandale, Nev., and Jory Levy, Logandale, Nev.; 12.1 each. 3, Coleman Proctor, Pryor, Okla., and Billie Jack Saebens, Nowata, Okla., 13.0. 4, J.B. James Jr., Bennett, Colo., and Brock Hanson, Casa Grande, Ariz., 13.7. 5, Travis Whitlow, Queen Creek, Ariz., and Tyler Getzwiller, Scottsdale, Ariz., 14.6. 6, Lane Ivy, Adrian, Texas, and B.J. Dugger, Three Rivers, Texas, 15.3. 7, Cody Snow, Los Olivos, Calif., and Dugan Kelly, Paso Robles, Calif., 17.0. 8, Matt Sherwood, Pima, Ariz., and Quinn Kesler, Holden, Utah, 19.0.
Saddle bronc riding: (first round) 1, Joe Lufkin, Sallisaw, Okla., 87.5 points on Burch Rodeo’s Lunatic Fringe. 2, Zeke Thurston, Big Valley, Alberta, 82.5. 3, CoBurn Bradshaw, Beaver, Utah, 80.5. 4, (tie) Tyrell Smith, Great Falls, Mont., and Jesse Wright, Milford, Utah, 80. 6, Cody DeMoss, Heflin, La., 79.5.
Tie-down roping: (second round) 1, Tyson Durfey, Weatherford, Texas, 7.9 seconds. 2, (tie) Westyn Hughes, Caldwell, Texas, and Cody McCartney, Ottawa Lake, Mich., 8.2. 4, Sterling Smith, Stephenville, Texas, 8.4. (total on two) 1, Westyn Hughes, Caldwell, Texas, 16.9. 2, Tyson Durfey, Weatherford, Texas, 17.7. 3, Cade Swor, Winnie, Texas, 18.1. 4, Paul David Tierney, Oral, S.D., 18.3. 5, J.C. Malone, Hooper, Utah, 18.4. 6, Adam Gray, Seymour, Texas, 18.5.
Barrel racing: (second round) 1, Stevi Hillman, Weatherford, Texas, 17.31. 2, Michele McLeod, Whitesboro, Texas, 17.37. 4, Andrea Busby, Brock, Texas, 17.40. (total on two) 1, Sherry Cervi, Marana, Ariz., 34.72. 2, Stevi Hillman, Weatherford, Texas, 34.88. 3, Jane Melby, Burneyville, Okla., 34.90. 4, Katelyn Mcleod, Whitesboro, Texas, 35.12. 5, Kim Schulze, Larkspur, Colo., 17.46. 6, Sammi Bessert, Grand Junction, Colo., 35.15. 7, (tie) Kelsey Lutjen, Casa Grande, Ariz., and Tyra Kane, Dublin, Texas, 35.25.
Bull riding: (one ride) 1, Lonnie West, Cadogan, Alberta, 78.5 points on Powder River Rodeo’s Landshark.