You know you’re having a great run when you can draw a decent badass animal at any regular season rodeo and be like, “Oh yeah, I remember.” At the National Finals Rodeo, I rode it.
Brody Cress, a saddle bronc jockey, was competing in the Battle of the Best in Coarsegold, Calif., on Sunday. The saddle bronc jockeys were divided into six groups of four, with the winner of each group progressing to a six-man sprint.
Despite scoring just 78.5 points at the Four Star Rodeo’s Dakota Star, Cress advanced.
He is a talented young man, but Cress believes that he is still unpredictable. Fortunately, all six of us were riding tough horses, so my score was good enough.
Even better, Cress was given a far superior draw for the short run: Bar T Rodeo’s Hell Boy.
That is one of their most talented horses of his. Cress said, “I actually outclassed him at the 2020 NFR. He did more than just take his case. Cress finished second in Round 7 of the 2020 Wrangler NFR with an 88.5, earning over $21,000.”
At the Battle of the Best, Cress was ready to ride Hell Boy again. He is a horse that always offers pleasant rides. Cress said, “I just thought it was a really good opportunity, especially in a six-man short round.” On paper, having a horse like this promises a lot.
However, there is the paper part and then there is the driving part.
I knew all I had to do was the focus and I would have a shot at winning, Cress said, noting that it wasn’t like his journey at NFR in 2020. He had a slightly different journey. He got a bit heavier as the game progressed. However, I was able to finish strong and make everything go well.
In fact, Cress tied his 2020 Hell Boy score with an 88.5-point ride to win and continue his terrific start to the season. Cress is now fourth in the PRCA | RAM world ranking with nearly $60,000 in Wrangler NFR qualifying earnings. He has qualified for five straight NFRs and won three average NFR titles, including the 2021 edition.
As summer approaches, Cress hopes to keep up the pace.
Cress, who is originally from Hillsdale, Wyoming, but now resides in Weatherford, Texas, said, “I’ve had the privilege of bringing in some good horses at rodeos with a lot of good pay.” I only care about the things I can influence, and the rest will take care of itself. So far, this year has been a success. Hopefully, we can keep the ball rolling.