PENDLETON — The Pendleton Round-Up and Cheyenne Frontier Days are widely known in the rodeo world as being two of the biggest and best-paying rodeos on the circuit.
And now in 2017, bronc rider Brody Cress has walked away from each place as the winner. The 21-year-old from Hillsdale, Wyoming, won the 107th Pendleton Round-Up on Saturday afternoon with 168 points on two rides, edging out CoBurn Bradshaw who had 167.5 points, to earn the victory lap in his very first trip to Pendleton.
Cress matched up with Stampede Warrior from the Calgary Stampede pen and scored 85 points to earn the victory. Coincidentally, Cress rode the same horse just last week at the Washington State Fair Pro Rodeo in Puyallup, Washington for 89 points and a second place finish, so he felt confident going into Saturday’s ride.
“Stampede Warrior, that’s my favorite horse of all time ... I was very excited to have her again,” an excited Cress said afterwards. “You feel more comfortable, but with those great horses you never know what they’re going to do. She was a little harder to ride today than in Puyallup, she had a few more moves but I just stayed focused.”
There was quite a bit of action in Saturday’s finals, as the top three riders were separated by just one point. Behind Cress, CoBurn Bradshaw scored 86 points on Korkow Rodeo’s Kitty Whistle to win the final round for a $1,650 check to get his total of 167.5, and then Hardy Braden (Welch, Oklahoma) rodeo Calgary’s Weekend Departure for 82 points for a total of 167 points on two head.
A win at the Round-Up is just another addition to what has been a career-year for Cress. Last season, Cress finished 98th in the world standings with just over $5,000 in earnings, and this year he currently sits inside the top 10 and is heading towards his first trip to the NFR with more than $90,000 in earnings this season. Between placing in the long and short round as well as the overall winner, Cress left Pendleton with a $8,891 check.
“Sometimes I catch myself thinking ‘Wow, this is about as good of a year to have other than winning the world,” Cress said. “I try not to think too much and stay focused, but it’s been a lot of fun to be this successful, because rodeo is hard.
And after winning Pendleton in his first trip, Cress said he’ll be back for years to come.
“There’s so much history behind this rodeo. Having the element of the grass, it makes it really wild and western,” he said. “And it’s awesome to be able to win this.”
Saddle bronc riding
First round: 1. Hardy Braden, 85 points on Sankey Pro Rodeo & Robinson Bulls’ Sheridan Wyo’s Tango, $4,989; 2. Ryder Wright, 84.5, $3,825; 3. Brody Cress, 83, $2,827; 4. Sterling Crawley, 82.5, $1,829; 5. (tie) Dylan Henson and Isaac Diaz, 82, $998 each; 7. (tie) Clay Elliott and CoBurn Bradshaw, 81.5, $582 each. Finals: 1. CoBurn Bradshaw, 86 points on Korkow Rodeos’ Kitty Whistle, $1,650; 2. (tie) Clay Elliott and Brody Cress, 85, $1,075 each; 4. Heith DeMoss, 84.5, $600; 5. (tie) Zeke Thurston and Hardy Braden, 82, $300 each. Average: 1. Brody Cress, 168 points on two head, $4,989; 2. CoBurn Bradshaw, 167.5, $3,825; 3. Hardy Braden, 167, $2,827; 4. Clay Elliott, 166.5, $1,829; 5. Heith DeMoss, 164.5, $1,164; 6. Zeke Thurston, 162.5, $831; 7. Bradley Harter, 160, $665; 8. Cort Scheer, 159, $499.