PENDLETON — Stetson Wright is just 22 years old, but he has accomplished more in those short years than more cowboys do their entire career.
The Milford, Utah, cowboy has won three world titles — two in the all-around (2019-20) and one in bull riding (2020).
Wright also is closing in on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association record for the most money earned in the all-around standings before the National Finals Rodeo. That record is held by rodeo icon Trevor Brazile, who earned $282,242 before the NFR in 2015.
Wright, who has won the all-around title at 22 rodeos this year, has earned $275,412. He trails Brazile by $5,978. The regular season ends Sept. 30.
“That would be pretty sweet to start breaking some of his records,” Wright said. “He set the bar pretty high. To have my name mentioned in the same sentence as him is badass to me. For me, it has never been about the money, I just want to be a world champion.”
A good week in Pendleton could push Wright past Brazile. He will compete in the Xtreme Bulls on Monday and Tuesday, and will compete in Thursday’s main performance Thursday in the bulls and saddle bronc.
Wright would also like to get his hands on what he calls the triple crown — world titles in the bulls, saddle bronc and all-around. All are writhing his grasp.
He has nearly a $150,000 lead over the next man in the all-around standings, he ranks second to older brother Ryder Wright in the saddle bronc, and he trails six-time world champion Sage Kimzey in bull riding.
The bull riding title may be a tall task. He trails Kimzey by $60,899.
“I do like to look at the standings.,” Wright said. “I think it’s fun. A lot of guys say not to because it messes with concentrating on what you should be doing, but I don’t think it has hurt me.”
It’s a family thing
Wright and his older brothers, Rusty and Ryder, all went to the NFR last year in the saddle bronc, and Wright also was in the bull riding. Stetson and Ryder are headed back to the NFR, but Rusty, who has qualified for five NFRs, is sitting 35th and there aren’t enough rodeos left to try and move up 20 spots.
“We don’t really show anyone that we have a rivalry,” Wright said. “We have our rivalries, but we keep that in the truck. As long as the title goes to a Wright, we’re happy, but I won’t complain if it’s me. We all want to win, but we all want each other to win. Even when you win, you want them to win. I think maybe we hurt ourselves sometimes because we want each other to do so well.”
While his brothers dominate in the saddle bronc like their dad, Cody, a two-time world champion, and uncles Jesse, Jake, Spencer (2014 world title), Alex, Calvin and CoBurn Bradshaw, Wright’s first love is bull riding.
“All of 2019 and half of 2020, all I cared about was bulls,” Wright said. “I wasn’t where Rusty and Ryder were. They dominated day in and day out. I dominated the bulls. I was mediocre in the broncs. In 2020, I didn’t know if I should have been there (NFR saddle bronc). Now, I like them both. Last year was that much harder to make the finals. The top 15 guys in every event were the ones who showed up at the limited amount of rodeos that were out there.”
Wright has made two trips to the NFR, and a Wright has made a trip to the NFR each year for the past 18 years.
In 2014, Cody, Jesse, Jake and Spencer all qualified in the saddle bronc. In 2016, Cody qualified for the NFR with sons Rusty and Ryder.
“Rusty and Ryder have told me stories,” Wright said. “The few times I went with my dad were special. I always try to get him to come back out.”
The Wrights also have done well at Pendleton.
Jake (2013), Jesse (2016), Spencer (2015) and Cody (2010) all have won there.
No one will likely admit it, but there have to be nights where guys look at the day sheet and think, ‘crap, the Wrights are here.’
“That’s what I’d like to think,” Wright said.