Bareback riding: 2018 WNFR Game Analysis

By | October 10, 2018

Bareback horse riding is the sister event to the bull riding event. Both are extremely similar and most people think that bull riding is a lot more dangerous than bareback riding when in reality bareback riding is the most dangerous event in all of the rodeo. Bareback riders suffer the most injuries and have the most long-term damage of all the cowboys. The National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas will feature bareback riding for 10 straight thrilling nights from December 6th to the 15th.

NFR Bareback riding

Let’s go over the basics of bareback riding for those who have never watched the event before. The event is similar to bull riding as the goal of the event is to stay atop the animal for as long as possible. The rider has to hold onto a rigging made of leather that is placed on top of the horse that resembles a suitcase handle. When the event start the horse will come out of the gate and the rider must have both spurs touching the horse’s shoulders until the horse’s feet hit the ground after the initial move from the chute. If the rider does not he will be disqualified.

The riders are also judged on their spurring technique as well as how long they can stay on their horse. The technique that is graded is the degree to which his toes remain turned out while he is spurring and his willingness to take whatever might come during his ride. This makes barebacking not just a strength event but a technical event as well.

Tim O’Connell is expected to take home his 3rd world championship in a row. He has won a lot this season but the gap between first and second this year is not as large as it has been the past couple of years so there is a chance that the number two spot will take home the title. O’Connell broke the $1 million dollar career mark this year already at the age of 26, he is set to turn 27 on October 24th and he has already accomplished a great deal that he set out to do.

“I don’t think it’s sunk in. That was such a blessing to go out and accomplish a lifetime goal. But the next season starts right away, so there’s not much time to let it sink in,” O’Connell said. “It was hard to re-motivate. Where do you go from there? I did a lot of praying, talked to my mentors, me and my wife talked a lot about getting refocused.”

O’Connell has slipped a little this season and it will be interesting to see if he can continue his dominance in a sport that rarely has a repeat champion.

Caleb Bennett has been a contender as well this season finishing just $15,000 behind O’Connell. The 29-year-old has had the best season of his career and he has been a part of the PRCA since 2007. He finished 6th overall in the world last season and he just crossed the $1 million dollar mark for his career earnings in the last couple of months. Look out for Bennett to seriously contend in Las Vegas come December as he tries to unseat the two-time world champion.

Clayton Biglow also has a good shot at the world title this year. He was the PRCA rookie of the year back in 2016 in bareback riding. He is only 22 years old and the fact that he has made 3 straight NFR is incredibly impressive and the future is in his hands. He could easily contend for the world championship this December and he will be a figure in riding bareback for a long time.

Related Content: Top 15 Steer Wrestlers in the WNFR 2018

Bareback riding is one of the premier events at the NFR and fans are always thrilled to watch the exciting event. Make sure that you do not miss out on one night of the WNFR from December 6th to the 15th where there will be bareback riding every single night.

The Top 15 Bareback Riders in the 2018 National Finals Rodeo:

1          Tim O’Connell
2          Caleb Bennett
3          Clayton Biglow
4          Orin Larsen
5          Bill Tutor
6          Richmond Champion
7          Kaycee Feild
8          Steven Dent
9          Jake Brown
10        Mason Clements
11        Tilden Hooper
12        Ty Breuer
13        Shane O’Connell
14        J.R. Vezain
15        Wyatt Denny

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