The first time I told Tate Stratton’s story was nearly a decade ago when he was an up-and-coming bull rider in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.
He’d just won the Lawton (Okla.) Rangers Rodeo, and he was hoping to make a name for himself riding bulls for a living. Fast-forward to 2012, where Stratton is having another magnificent season.
He sits seventh in the bull riding world standings, having earned more than $66,000. He has all but secured his third Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualification in four years. Much has changed over the last few years, but one thing has remained in the young New Mexican’s life; he’s got a strong will to succeed.
Sometimes that’s just the thing it takes to push an athlete over the edge, and I believe that’s the focus for Stratton as he closes out the remainder of his 2012 season. Already he’s less than $15,000 shy of surpassing his earnings from 2011.
This past Tuesday, he got a nice boost by winning the Xtreme Bulls Tour event in Kennewick, Wash. He also won the first round and the average titles in Caldwell, Idaho, which concluded a week ago – in the last week and a half, Stratton has pocketed $9,204; that’s how he moved from 10th to seventh in the world standings in short order.
It took Stratton a little longer than he had hoped to qualify for the NFR, ProRodeo’s grand finale. Now he’s a fixture in Las Vegas and has earned his place among the greatest that have ever played the game.