REIGNING CHAMPS GAIN CONFIDENCE WITH RUNS IN KANSAS CITY
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A year ago, bull rider Tim Bingham was down and almost out. The year-long struggles had worn him out, and the end of the 2013 season couldn’t come soon enough.
That changed in just eight seconds on the final weekend of September, when Bingham rode Wild Card Rodeo’s bull 822 for 88 points to win the American Royal PRCA Rodeo. He finished his campaign on a high note, and that has capitalized him toward top of the bull riding mountain in 2014.
“That one ride just gave me a ton of confidence,” said Bingham, 23, of Honeyville, Utah. “I was burned out. I was just going to finish out the year, take a break and reignite my fire, but going there and winning it changed my attitude fast. I had a bull that hadn’t been ridden that often, and I made one of the better rides I’ve ever made in my career.”
Those are the type of rides that will be featured at this year’s American Royal PRCA Rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26, and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 27, at Hale Arena. Many contestants will make their way to Kansas City on the final weekend of the 2014 regular season looking to capitalize on their solid campaign or to gain needed momentum.
“After I left Kansas City, I took a couple weeks off, then went to Billings (Mont.) and San Francisco to start my new season,” Bingham said, noting that he placed second in Billings and won San Francisco. “I went to some amateur events in Utah after that, and I won all three that I went to.
“Between those six rides, I had no doubt in my mind that I was going to make the NFR this year.”
The Wrangler National Finals Rodeo is the sport’s year-end championship, which takes place every December in Las Vegas. Only the top 15 contestants in each event qualify for the finale, which is where world champions will be crowned. Bingham is fifth on the money list with nearly $78,000 this season.
“I got that motivation and that confidence in Kansas City, so I just decided to fire off and get the next season started good,” he said. “It hasn’t slowed down since.”
While Bingham used his momentum as an accelerant for this season, saddle broncs rider Tyler Corrington utilized his American Royal victory as a way to get back to basics before the NFR.
“It was really important for me to do well,” said Corrington, who finished the 2013 season ninth in the world standings.
Now the Hastings, Minn., cowboy rolls into the final few weeks of the season seventh in the standings. Corrington and Bingham are just two of the five reigning American Royal champions who are a virtual lock to be at the NFR in two and a half months, joining team bareback rider Winn Ratliff, heeler Patrick Smith and header Trevor Brazile, the most decorated champion in ProRodeo history.
They gained that needed confidence inside the American Royal complex, and they’re carrying it over to championship runs this season.
“This NFR has been a long time coming,” Bingham said. “Making it is just a dream come true.”