Brian Nicholson, Deseret News
OGDEN — Brady Nicholes can't stop himself from laughing as his traveling partner considers the ridiculousness of the suggestion.
What if Spencer Wright, one of seven Wright brothers from Milford, who seem to have saddle bronc riding in their genetic make-up, had decided he'd like to be a ballet dancer instead of riding bucking horses for a living?
"Well, I'm sure they (his family) would have supported me," he said, grinning at Nicholes.
Luckily, no one has to wonder what Spencer Wright might have been, as he is shaping up to be quite a bronc rider in his own right. It's not easy growing up in the shadow of his oldest brother, Cody Wright, who is a two-time world champion in the sport. On top of that, two of his brothers, including Cody, who set an arena record in Ogden on Friday with a 91-point ride, are ranked in the top 10. All four of his bronc-riding brothers are in the top 33 in the world.
So, does he feel a little pressure being the baby brother of one of the world's best?
"Not really, but in some small way, yes, I guess," he said after earning 77 points riding Hairy Mary at Ogden's Pioneer Days Rodeo on Saturday night. "Some people expect you to ride like him, which I try to do."
Wright travels with Nicholes and both are entering their sophomore year at Panhandle State University in Oklahoma on rodeo scholarships. They're competing this summer on their PRCA permits, which means they may not get into the country's top paying rodeos.
"This year has been a lot of fun," said Nicholes.
Adds Wright, "It's a lot better this year. The broncs are better."
And, as any rider will attest, drawing a good horse is the key to a successful season.
Both young men said they're not sure if they'll finish school should their ability to earn a living riding bucking horses continue to improve.
"The only thing I don't like is that the stock isn't as good," Wright said. "We're sort of the test pilots. But we're supposed to be in the toughest region."
Both men have already earned enough money to enable them to compete next year on their rookie cards, but for now they'll continue to work on their degrees while riding ornery horses.
"It's hard not to enjoy the life of a cowboy," said Wright grinning at Nicholes.
The nearly packed Pioneer Stadium had another treat when bareback rider Kaycee Feild, of Payson, managed to make the whistle on Tequila Sheila and earn 82 points. It was the third-best score of the night, behind Wes Stevenson with 85 points and Tom McFarland with 84.
Feild has been competing with a pelvic injury that was really bothering him two days ago at the Days of '47 Rodeo. Currently ranked third in the country, Feild is enjoying a successful season in spite of the pain.
He was one of the cowboys the PRCA invited to travel to the Middle East in May to visit with U.S. troops.
"We just visited them, meet and greets," he said. "I couldn't believe how many rodeo fans there were. There are tons and tons of western guys in the military."
He spent time talking with them, exchanging stories and even teaching a few of them how to rope.
"Going over there motivated me indescribably," he said. "It was awesome to go over there and meet them."
Before the rodeo began, the crowd honored retired U.S. Army master sergeant Gordon Ewell, who was part of an elite bomb-finding unit in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was part of the rodeo committee's tribute to the American Cowboy, as Saturday was the National Day of the American Cowboy.
Saturday's rodeo results
Bareback riding: 1. Wes Stevenson, 85 points; 2. Tom McFarland, 84; 3. Kaycee Feild, 82.
Steer wrestling: 1. Lex Smith, 4.7 seconds; 2. Coby Jones, 5.6; 3. Pat Page, 6.2.
Team roping: 1. Tom Richards and Bobby Baize, 6.8 seconds.
Saddle bronc riding: 1. Erik Wolford, 84 points; 2. Spencer Wright, 77; 3. Max Filippini, 72.
Tie-down roping: 1. Kenneth Winn, 8.9 seconds; 2. Justin Parke, 9.0; 3. Radar Shepherd, 20.4.
Barrel racing: 1. Jill Atkinson, 17.69 seconds; 2. Benette Barrington, 17.72; 3. Mary Aller, 18.06.
NOTE: No cowboys posted bull riding scores.
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