When Matt Bright won the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo in the Oklahoma Panhandle earlier this month, it was a great sign for the Tennessee cowboy who now lives near Fort Worth, Texas.
Bright suffered a fracture of his lumbar spine last December when the Carr Pro Rodeo horse Real Deal rared in the chute during the eighth go-round of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. He spent a lot of time on the sidelines, but since he returned to the game, he’s earned two bareback riding victories – in Guymon and in Shreveport, La.
Still, his late start means he has a lot of ground to make up if he intends to finish the 2011 regular season among the top 15 in the world standings, thereby earning his second straight trip to the NFR.
“Look at Justin McDaniel,” Bright said of the 2008 bareback riding world champion. “He doesn’t even start rodeoing hard until later in the year, but he still makes the finals.”
In fact, McDaniel had back surgery in February 2010 and didn’t return to competition until June. Still, he earned nearly $82,000 in less than four months, qualified for the NFR, then won the average during the 10-round championship. McDaniel won more than $103,000 last December in Vegas and moved to No. 2 in the world standings.
That”s motivation for some, but they have to look on the Bright side. Matt sure does.