Thurston finds success in Angelo

SAN ANGELO, Texas – The San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo has become a bit of a honey hole for saddle bronc rider Zeke Thurston.

Over the previous three years, he has earned $10,864, including a spectacular run in 2019. He won the first round, placed in the final round and finished second overall, pocketing $6,798 in the process. It was one of the guiding forces that led to his second world championship in four years.

He’ll add to that total this year.

“You’ve got to stay consistent at these rodeos, especially when you get on more than one horse,” said Thurston, who rode Hampton Pro Rodeo’s Rising Tide for 90 points in Saturday’s matinee to take the lead. “To do good helps out. I’ve done pretty well there before.”

That familiarity helps, but so does riding good bucking horses. Though he wasn’t sure what to expect out of Rising Tide, he found out quickly the horse has some moves. Part of the learning curve comes with the Hampton firm being new to ProRodeo.

“That horse had some really good things about it,” said Thurston, 25, of Big Valley, Alberta. “She bucked really good and had some direction changes. It was just action-reaction. That little horse was really bucking. Usually if you’re 90 and things are going right, it’s all happening pretty fast.”

He may have earned good cash early in the season a year ago, but he really added to it over the course of the regular season and the National Finals Rodeo. He finished the campaign with $347,056, with more than $170,000 of it coming in Vegas this past December.

“Being a two-time world champion is awesome,” he said. “I always dreamed I’d win the world title, and for it to happen as fast in my career was amazing. Everybody dreams of it, and they very seldom get one. To do it more than once is incredible.”

Thurston, though, has proven why he has those opportunities. He first qualified for the NFR in 2015 to close out his rookie campaign. He won the world title a year later and hasn’t missed a chance to battle for the gold buckle since. He’s finished among the top five in three of the last four seasons.

His Saturday ride was just the fifth horse he’s been on since the new year, so he’s just getting started.

“I feel like I’ve been riding good, but (Saturday) was the first one I’ve been on that really bucked,” Thurston said. “The draw’s a big part of that. Because there are so many guys that ride so good and so consistently, you’ve got to have the right dancing partner.”

He found that and more inside Foster Communications Coliseum.

“San Angelo is not just any rodeo,” he said. “They put on a good production, an they’ve got lots of pyro and lights to start the rodeo. It seats quite a few people, but it’s always full, even on Saturday afternoon. I’ve never been to that rodeo when they had extra seats.

“It’s a really good rodeo.”


San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo
Jan. 30-Feb. 14
Bareback riding leaders:
1. Kody Lamb, 88 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Hometown Girl; 2. Leighton Berry, 87.5; 3. Austin Foss, 87; 4. Tim O’Connell, 86; 5. Richmond Champion, 85; 6. (tie) Tilden Hooper and Chad Rutherford, 84; 8. (tie) Bill Tutor and Cauy Pool, 83.5; 10. Spur Lacasse, 82; 11. Jesse Pope, 81; 12. Jade Taton, 80.

Steer wrestling: First round leaders: 1. Ty Erickson, 3.8 seconds; 2. Taz Olson, 3.9; 3. Stockton Graves, 4.1; 4. (tie) Tait Kvistad and Dalton Massey, 4.3; 6. (tie) Ryan McKay Nettle and Jacob Talley, 4.4; 8. (tie) Gary Gilbert and Jason Thomas, 4.5. Second round leaders: 1. Cameron Morman, 3.9 seconds; 2. (tie) Chance Howard and Cade Staton, 4.0; 4. (tie) Dakota Eldridge and Tanner Brunner, 4.1; 6. Jesse Brown, 4.2; 7. (tie) Sterling Lambert, Luke Branquinho and Cade Goodman, 4.3. Average leaders: 1. (tie) Dalton Massey and Jacob Talley, 8.9 seconds on two runs; 3. Tanner Brunner, 9.2; 4. Cade Staton, 9.3; 5. Cody Harmon, 9.4; 6. Ty Erickson, 9.6; 7. (tie) Taz Olson, Bridger Anderson and Jule Hazen, 9.7; 10. (tie) Scott Guenthner and Heath Thomas, 10.0; 12. Joe Nelson, 10.1.

Team roping: First round leaders: 1. Spencer Mitchell/Cesar de la Cruz, 3.7 seconds; 2. (tie) Kaleb Driggers/Junior Nogueira and Clay Smith/Jade Corkill, 3.8; 4. (tie) Laramie Allen/Whit Kitchens and Colton Campbell/Jordan Ketscher, 3.9; 6. Reno Cash Stoebner/Colton Brittain, 4.1; 7. Tanner Tomlinson/Coleby Payne, 4.2; 8. (tie) Aaron Tsinigine/Kyle Lockett and Manny Equsquiza Jr./York Gill, 4.3. Second round leaders: 1. Dustin Eguesquiza/Travis Graves, 3.7 seconds; 2. Erich Rogers/Paden Bray, 3.8; 3. (tie) Dawson Graham/Dillon Graham and Clint Summers/Douglas Rich, 3.9; 5. Trey Blackmore/Kory Bramwell, 4.0; 6. Jake Orman/Daniel Braman, 4.3; 7. (tie) Gavin Foster/Daniel Reed, Kellan Johnson/Carson Johnson, Steven Duby/Jason Duby and Laramie Allen/Whit Kitchens, 4.4. Average leaders: 1. (tie) Clay Smith/Jade Corkill and Laramie Allen/Whit Kitchens, 8.3; 3. Manny Equsquiza Jr./York Gill, 9.1; 4. Colton Campbell/Jordan Ketscher, 9.3; 5. Spencer Mitchell/Cesar de la Cruz, 9.9; 6. Cory Smothers/Brandon Gonzales, 10.0; 7. (tie) Brenten Hall/Chase Tryan and Kolton Schmidt/Hunter Koch, 10.4; 9. Jaguar Terrill/Travis Woodard, 11.8; 10. J.B. James Jr./Brock Hanson, 12.5; 11. Billy Bob Brown/Chad Williams, 12.9; 12. Dawson Graham/Dillon Graham, 14.2.

Saddle bronc riding leaders: 1. Zeke Thurston, 90 points on Hampton Pro Rodeo’s Rising Tide; 2. Jacobs Crawley, 88; 3. Carter Elshere, 85.5; 4. Cody DeMoss, 85; 5. Jesse Wright, 84.5; 6. (tie) Kolby Wanchuk and Rusty Wright, 84; 8. Tegan Smith, 83.5; 9. Leon Fountain, 83; 10. (tie) Jacob Lewis and Riggin Smith, 82.5.

Tie-down roping: First round leaders: 1. Lane Livingston, 7.2 seconds; 2. Shad Mayfield, 7.4; 3. (tie) Caleb Smidt and Bryson Sechrist, 7.5; 5. L.D. Meier, 7.7; 6. (tie) Blane Cox and Marcos Costa, 7.8; 8. Bo Pickett, 7.9. Second round leaders: 1. Justin Smith, 7.0 seconds; 2. Marty Yates, 7.1.; 3. (tie) Ike Fontenot and Riley Pruitt, 7.4; 5. (tie) Cory Solomon and Kincade Cullen Henry, 7.6; 7. (tie) Blane Cox and Luke Potter, 7.8. Average leaders: 1. Blane Cox, 15.6 seconds on two runs; 2. Caleb Smidt, 16.0; 3. (tie) Dakota Felton and Kincade Cullen Henry, 15.4; 5. Sterling Smith, 16.6; 6. Reid H. Zapalac, 16.7; 7. Jake Pratt, 16.8; 8. (tie) Bryson Sechrist and Stetson Vest,16,9; 10. Ty Harris, 17.0; 11. Monty Lewis, 17.1; 12. Lane Livingston, 17.3.

Barrel racing: Second round leaders: 1. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, 14.10 seconds; 2. (tie) Haley Wolfe and Ivy Conrado-Saebens, 14.26; 4. (tie) Kathy Grimes and Lindsay Sears, 14.27; 6. Carlee Otero, 14.32; 7. Kortney Kizer, 14.34; 8. Sadie Wolaver, 14.36; 9. Shelby Janssen, 14.39; 10. Cheyenne Wimberley, 14.42. Average leaders: 1. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, 30.22 seconds; 2. Emily Efurd, 30.42; 3. Ivy Conrado-Saebens, 30.49; 4. Lindsay Sears, 30.56; 5. Kathy Grimes, 30.57; 6. Haley Wolfe, 30.62; 7. Kortney Kizer, 30.64; 8. Carlee Otero, 30.65; 9. (tie) Timber Aallenbrand and Margo Crowther, 30.73; 11. Jacque Woolman, 30.75; 12. Abby Phillips, 30.81.

Bull riding leaders: 1. Stetson Wright, 89 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Candy Man; 2. Elliot Jacoby, 86.5; 3. (tie) Ty Wallace, Boudreaux Campbell and Parker Cole McCown, 84; 6. Jeston Mead, 83.5; 7. Brody Yeary, 82; 8. (tie) Shane Proctor and Tyler Bingham, 81; 10. D.J. LaFleur, 80.5.



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