THE WOODLANDS, Texas – It was the rematch that bareback rider Richmond Champion had dreamed about since he arrived in Las Vegas last week.
On Monday night, Champion rode Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Dirty Jacket for 88.5 points to win the fifth round at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Four months ago, the two matched moves for 91 points to win the Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days Rodeo.
The Texas cowboy utilized that momentum to qualify for the NFR for the first time, and Dirty Jacket rode the tidal wave all the way to his Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s Bareback Horse of the Year title.
“Dirty Jacket might’ve even looked better than he did that day in Cheyenne,” Champion said. “There’s not another horse like him. There wasn’t a bad one in that pen, but to have Dirty Jacket again at the NFR and to win the round is awesome.”
Champion earned a small paycheck Sunday night by finishing in a tie for sixth place. He padded his bank account by $19,000 Monday. He has pushed his PRCA season earnings to more than $110,000 and sits eighth on the money list. He has a lot of room to grow that money; this marks the halfway point of this year’s championship
“I’m just glad I get to do it five more times,” Champion said. “There’s not another night that you get to walk down an alley with that caliber of a horse standing all next to each other. That same feeling runs in all of us to see that kind of horse lined up for us just standing outside the Thomas and Mack. That’s what dreams are made of in this sport.”