New stars emerged August 11-15 at the WCRA Stampede at The E as the World Champions Rodeo Alliance returned to Guthrie, Oklahoma, to host the summer’s largest rodeo with nearly $440,000 payout.
Article and photos provided courtesy World Champions Rodeo Alliance
When ladies breakaway roping and barrel racing took center stage, the female athletes of the WCRA shined bright. Chelsey Abernathy (Athens, Alabama) won the breakaway roping title at the Stampede at The E courtesy of her 2.14-second run in the long round and 2.09-second run in the Showdown Round, both the quickest times of the rounds. Abernathy topped Kelsie Chace’s 2.50-second time, knocking Chace out of the race for the Triple Crown of Rodeo $1 million bonus.
In the barrel racing, 2019 Titletown Stampede Major champion Michelle Darling (Medford, Oklahoma) and her outstanding mare Morning Traffic (Frenchmans Guy x Evening Traffic x Dash Thru Traffic) expertly navigated the course. Darling and “Martini’s” 15.481-second run in the Showdown Round was the quickest, distancing runner-up Wenda Johnson (Pawhuska, Oklahoma), who recorded a 15.676-second run.
As the first discipline of the Stampede at The E, bareback riding had the fans inside Lazy E Arena on the edge of their seats throughout the action-packed night. After Jake Brown (Cleveland, Texas) and Orin Larsen (Inglis, Manitoba) advanced to the Showdown Round in a tie courtesy of matching 86.5-point rides, the two quickly became immersed in a shootout for the $12,500 payday in the Showdown Round. Outscoring Larsen by 0.5 points, the victor from the 2020 Royal City Roundup seeking his second win in the Triple Crown delivered a critical 87.5-point ride on Top Flight to capture the victory.
A hotly contested race began to unfurl in the saddle bronc riding. Tying for the long-round win, Shorty Garrett (Dupree, South Dakota) and Taos Muncy (Corona, New Mexico) entered the Showdown Round with equally scored 83-point rides earned aboard Real Fancy and Damaged Goods, respectively. Calm and collected, Garret remained poised on the chutes as he readied for what would be a career-defining moment. Reaching the requisite 8 aboard Delta Dawn for 82.5 points, Garrett captured his first-ever WCRA Major win and accompanying $12,500 payday.
In the bull riding, Professional Bull Riders world standings No. 1 rider Jose Vitor Leme (Ribas do Rio Pardo, Brazil) rode supreme. Capping his perfect two-for-two effort Saturday evening, the former semi-professional soccer player rode Nailed for a monstrous 89.5 points to net an equally impressive check for $62,500. Unlike the other disciplines at the Sooner State event, which paid out a combined $28,000, the bull riding featured a $78,000 purse. The $50,000 championship payout from the Kansas City Royal City Roundup Major carried over after no qualified rides were recorded in the Showdown Round.
The team roping title went home with the duo of header Colby Lovell (Madisonville, Texas) and heeler Paul Eaves (Londedell, Missouri), notching a 11.04-second run. They edged the runner-up duo of Erich Rogers (Round Rock, Arizona) and Paden Bray (Stephenville, Texas) who logged an 11.2-second effort. The second-place finish dashed the hopes of Rogers and Bray, who were hoping to leave the Lazy E with their second victory in the WCRA Triple Crown of Rodeo after topping the discipline at the first Major of the year in Kansas City in February.
Stockton Graves (Alva, Oklahoma) was unstoppable in the steer wrestling. The Northwestern Oklahoma State University steer wrestling coach recorded a 3.85-second run in the long round, prior to delivering a lightning-fast 5.08-second effort in the Showdown Round. The victory is Graves’ second WCRA Major win after capturing his first title in 2019 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
In tie down roping, 17-year-old Riley Webb (Decatur, Texas) was the undeniable star of the discipline, delivering what would be the most groundbreaking performance of the event. As the only athlete to deliver a qualified run in the Showdown Round, his 8.5-second effort elevated him to a $16,500 payday. Fresh off his win at the National High School Finals Rodeo, Webb won his first career WCRA Major, advancing to the main event through the Division Youth pool. Not only did Webb emerge victorious, but he did so by defeating WCRA Royal City Roundup champion, 2019 NHSFR champion and the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s No. 1-ranked tie down roper Shad Mayfield (Clovis, New Mexico) who failed to catch in the Showdown Round. Webb also defeated 2013 PRCA World Champion Shane Hanchey (Carmine, Texas), the final athlete to compete in the Showdown Round.
Since launching in May of 2018, the WCRA and its partners have awarded more than $7.7 million in new money to rodeo athletes.
On August 29 fans, will be able to tune into the Stampede at The E on a CBS network broadcast at 8:00 p.m. ET.
Fans can relive all the action from the WCRA’s Stampede at The E on August 16 at 8:00 a.m. EST on RidePass, at RidePass.com or via the RidePass app available on iOS, Android and Roku.
All results from the event can be found here.
WCRA is a professional sport and entertainment entity, created to develop and advance the sport of rodeo by aligning all levels of competition. In association with the PBR, WCRA produces major rodeo events, developing additional opportunities for rodeo-industry competitors, stakeholders, and fans. To learn more, visit wcrarodeo.com. For athletes interested in learning more about the WCRA Virtual Rodeo Qualifier (VRQ) system, visit app.wcrarodeo.com.