HEMPSTEAD, Texas – For Bill Tutor, the pressure of competition never really leaves. He’s just fine with that.
Five days ago, he wrapped up the 2018 regular season by earning nearly $120,000 through Sept. 30. He’s No. 5 in the bareback riding world standings and is headed to his second straight Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
But it all started over on Friday night during the second performance of the Waller County Fair and Rodeo, where he matched moves with Bright Lights of the Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo string for 83 points to take the bareback riding lead in Hempstead.
“That horse is fast and electric, and you’ve really got to keep up with her,” said Tutor, 27, of Huntsville, Texas. “I felt like I was a touch behind, like I was trying to catch up the whole time. It was a battle. I wasn’t in as complete control as I wanted to be, but it’s good to be sitting first.”
He’ll have to wait for Saturday night’s final performance to see if his score holds up for the win, but he recognizes that getting a good start on the 2019 regular season is vital, even if he hasn’t quite completed this campaign – he will compete in ProRodeo’s championship over 10 December nights in Las Vegas, which features the greatest purse in the game. It’s where the world champions will be crowned.
“This time of year is important to me,” he said. “It’s hard, because you just get done. I went to 100 rodeos this past year, and you’ve got to continue it the next weekend. Getting a jump on the new year is big to me, so I’m not going to let that advantage slip away from me.
“The season never really ends. These are good rodeos going on right now, and they’re in my backyard. November will be the time for me to rest a little bit and let the body heal.”
Tutor has much to look forward to yet in 2018. Nightly go-round winners will pocket more than $26,000 over the 10-night championship. He has a big chance at a big payday in the Nevada desert, but he has business to tend to first.
“You’ve got to look forward to next season,” Tutor said. “The goal is to make it back to the finals in 2019, and you’ve got to capitalize on the opportunities you have, and those are right now.”
It’s also important for Tutor to maintain his level of competitiveness as he prepares for the NFR.
“Even now, you have to do your best every ride,” he said. “It’s a confidence game. If you’re riding good your confidence is high. I want to be very confident heading into the finals.”
If Friday night is any indication, Tutor is as ready as he needs to be for ProRodeo’s grand finale.
Waller County Fair and Rodeo
Bareback riding: 1. Bill Tutor, 83 points on Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Bright Lights; 2. Winn Ratliff, 79; 3. Paden Hurst, 78.5; 4. Zach Hibler, 77; 5. Leighton Berry, 73.5; no other qualified scores
Steer wrestling: 1. Clayton Hass, 3.4 seconds; 2. Jason Thomas, 3.7; 3. Rowdy Thomas, 4.4; 4. Cole Staton, 4.5; 5. Kodie Jang, 4.6; 6. (tie) Justin Shaffer and Matt Reeves, 4.8; 8. Blake Mindemann, 4.9.
Team roping: 1. Clay Tryan/Travis Graves, 4.6 seconds; 2. Lane Ivy/Buddy Hawkins II, 4.8; 3. Caleb Mitchell/Seth Smithson, 5.0; 4. Laramie Allen/McCoy Profili, 5.4; 5. Clayton Hass/Boogie Ray, 5.6; 6. Garett Chick/Ross Ashford, 5.8; 7. Chance Oftedahl/Iceman Miller, 5.9; 8. Brandon Gonzales/Michael Tash, 6.3; 9. Joe Beaver/Cody Thornton, 6.6; 10. Chuck Doebbler/Randall Eggmeyer, 6.7.
Saddle bronc riding: 1. Jacobs Crawley, 86 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Miss Congeniality; 2. Garet Aldridge, 82; 3. Dean Wadsworth, 77.5; 4. Jarrod Hammons, 74; 5. Parker Fleet, 72.5; no other qualified rides.
Tie-down roping leaders: 1. Monty Lewis, 8.0 seconds; 2. Shane Hanchey, 8.1; 3. Ty Harris, 8.2; 4. Scott Kormos, 8.3; 5. Ricky Canton, 8.4; 6. Bobby Abernathy, 8.5; 7. Tuf Cooper, 8.6; 8. Cooper Mathews, 8.7.
Barrel racing leaders: 1. Chenne Wimberley, 14.54 seconds; 2. Lauren Crawley, 14.56; 3. Taci Bettis, 14.59; 4. Angela Ganter, 14.72; 5. Jimmie Smith, 14.78; 6. Jill Wilson, 14.80; 7. Janet Staton, 14.84; 8. Zoe Braman, 14.88; 9. (tie) Shelley Morgan and Becky Maass, 14.91; 11. Jennifer Sharp, 14.96; 12. Tammy Fischer, 14.98.
Bull riding: 1. Bayle Worden, 86 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Kracker Jack; 2. (tie) Scottie Knapp, Dakota Louis and Cody Rostockyj, 83.5; 5. (tie) Dalan Duncan and Jeff Askey, 83; 7. Aaron Pass, 82.5; 8. Gavin Michel, 82.