He’s taken a Tuff stance

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If it’s happened in bull riding, Tuff Hedeman’s probably seen it.

Tuff Hedeman
Tuff Hedeman

He’s won three bull riding world championships in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and one in the Professional Bull Riders, where he once served as the organization’s president. Now he’s president of Championship Bull Riding, another stand-alone bull riding association.

The CBR is following the lines Hedeman had when he and 19 other bull riders ventured off on their own and created the PBR two decades ago. The idea, he said, is to create more opportunities for cowboys competing in the most popular fan event in rodeo. Both the PBR and CBR have done that.

And while both organizations have similar roots, they go about business in very different ways. It’s why there were six CBR regulars at this year’s Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and one regular from the PBR’s premier tour, the Built Ford Tough Series.

In visiting with Hedeman on Thursday, he was very proud of how well the CBR bull riders did in Las Vegas to open December. J.W. Harris, Wesley Silcox, Ardie Maier, Steve Woolsey, Clayton Williams and Cody Whitney combined to take nearly $385,000 from the NFR.

Contestants who compete in the PRCA and CBR seem to enjoy the freedom they have. Hedeman points to caring for the CBR cowboys like he wanted to be treated when he was competing.

Let’s hope that philosophy works wonders and becomes contageous in society.


Comments (3)
Kelli Wright / December 31, 2010

Excellent commentary Ted – as always. Happy New Year to everybody!

Ted Stovin / January 5, 2011

What are some of the things that the CBR does to allow freedom in their association compared to the PBR? I have heard that the PBR frowns upon their competitors going to other association’s events. I think I even got a letter in the mail from them one time saying just that. I’m going to guess at my own question and say the CBR doesn’t really care where you go as long as you make their tour events a priority. That seems more fair than telling someone where they can go. There was an association up my way here that tried to tell the riders where they could go and they took some trouble for it. They said that the bull riders would lose their standing if they went to an open event. Well it turns out my event was and still is an open event. I don’t see the need to sanction it with how much money we have added and don’t see why I should even have to sanction it because I already know all the people needed to make it happen. I would rather just pay out the $10500 directly to the bull riders instead of losing 10% or more to the association just so that it can count to their standings. I guess I could say I’m following Calgary’s footsteps and now Houston’s of being a big jackpot. In the three years I have had it so far we have had at least ten guys that rode in Calgary too the same year. So I guess it must work but do you think it’s good for rodeo? Our individual events can be really good but what does it do for the sport overall? Where is the common meeting ground going to be? I know one thing, I don’t think any money should be taken out of the competitor’s purse. And as long as I put on my own events that will be one thing I won’t back down on.

Ted Harbin / January 5, 2011

You’re almost right, Ted. The CBR doesn’t even ask the contestants to make the CBR events a priority. The goal, Tuff told me, is to provide the kinds of bulls the guys want to ride and the kind of money that will draw them to CBR events.

If you’ve qualified to ride on the PBR’s premier tour, the Built Ford Tough Series, you are required to be at those events. Alternates are not required, but the 40 that are qualified must be at the events, unless otherwise unable because of injury. The penalty is severe: One year’s ejection from the PBR, the stand-alone bull riding organization that offers the largest purse at its premier events.

Terry Don West suffered the penalty in September 2001 after he failed to make it to an event after the 9/11 attacks. There’s a lot more to it, but there’s no need to rehash it here. Nonetheless, it’s one of the points the CBR is making. Tuff indicated to me he doesn’t want guys to miss a chance to make money at a PRCA rodeo or other event to compete at a CBR event.

Hope that helps.


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