Matt Bright got out of his pickup, stretched a bit, then walked back to open the door to his camper.
That’s where he stopped.
With his hand on the door, Bright’s head slumped a bit. He stormed back to the front of the truck, grabbed his phone and headed to the Will Rogers Roundup Club Arena in Claremore, Okla. He was a man on a mission, and a few minutes after witnessing all that, I found out why.
You see Bright, a two-time bareback riding qualifier to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, didn’t have his much needed gear back in his truck. The bag – which contains his rigging, vest, boots and spurs, riding jeans, MGM Grand chaps and neck roll – had been left in the trunk of his brother’s vehicle.
Unsure of what to do, the Azle, Texas, cowboy started asking around. He found another right-handed bareback rider, Johnathan Taylor, who allowed Bright to borrow the rigging and specially made bareback riding glove. He located boots, chaps and a vest from saddle bronc rider Jesse James Kirby and borrowed those.
When it came time for competition, Bright matched moves with the Rafter H Rodeo colt Red Head and scored 72 points – that held up to finish in a tie for second place worth $736. Everything worked out OK, except for that last few seconds of riding on the young horse.
“It felt fine until the 6-second mark, and that’s when I really missed my neck roll,” Bright said – bareback riders, whose hands are wedged into a rigging that’s strapped tightly around a horse’s chest, feel the impact of almost every jump and kick a horse makes during that eight-second ride, so the neck roll helps relieve some of the pressure that comes from that.
While he made a nice paycheck in Claremore, I don’t see him riding without that piece of equipment again. Neither does Matt Bright.