The last week of rodeos was tough on a couple of bareback riders who were battling for qualifications to the 2015 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
Canadian Luke Creasy suffered a broken left forearm that required surgery Tuesday, while Texan Matt Bright had a rib injury. It’s not the first bout with injuries this season for the two cowboys.
A few weeks ago, the right-handed riding Creasy broke the fifth metecarpal bone in his right hand and had surgery to repair the ailment. Sitting inside the top 20 all season, the cowboy – now living in Lovington, N.M. – knew he needed to keep riding if he wanted to earn his first trip to the NFR.
So he went back to work and tried to make a living riding bareback horses with his left hand. His plan was to do so until his injured finger was heeled enough so that he could begin riding with his primary hand wedged into the rigging. His return lasted just one event on the ProRodeo trail. Creasy broke his left arm in Douglas, Wyo., but not before earning an $85 check for finishing in a tie for sixth.
As of this week, he is 19th in the world standings. He still plans to make a run for the finals once his hand injury is ready.
Bright, of Fort Worth, Texas, had spent a considerable amount of time on the sidelines this season because of groin injuries. He returned with a vengeance in July and had rapidly moved up the money list. He finished second in Cheyenne, Wyo., and won the average championship in Dodge City, Kan. He suffered either a separated or cracked rib this past weekend in Hermiston, Ore.
With a little more than a month left in the regular season, Bright has realized that his chances at the NFR are minimal. He has returned home to heal. If things go better than expected, he may make a late-season run at this year’s NFR.
For now, though, he sits 26th in the world standings and knows he can start the 2016 campaign in good standings while also allowing himself the time it takes to heal completely.
As with any athlete, cowboys rely on their bodies. With no guaranteed income, dealing with injuries comes down to making important business decisions.