CLAREMORE, Okla. – From many of the best cowboys in the world to the top bucking animals, Claremore’s Extreme Roughstock presented by the Kubota Center of Oklahoma has quickly become a major event.
“It was a really cool idea,” said Hardy Braden of nearby Welch, Okla., who won the saddle bronc riding title and $3,500. “It was a lot of the top guys, ones that I’ve seen all year.”
Braden has seen plenty and done plenty in 2017. He earned nearly $103,000 riding bucking horses through the end of September and is heading to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo for the first time in his career. The victory in Claremore was his second of the season – he also won the Will Rogers Stampede in May.
“I enjoyed this event a lot,” said Braden, who rode United Rodeo’s Rusty for 87.25 points to claim the crown. “Especially this time of year, I think it was really good. It was good to go to and get on good horses before you head to Vegas.”
Braden led a solid group of contenders in saddle bronc riding, including fellow NFR qualifier Audy Reed and Isaac Diaz, who has made the finals five times in his career. To top it off, Claremore cowboy Kade Alberty scored 87.5 points to share the victory with Andrew Alvidrez of Seminole, Texas, in bull riding.
“It was really good, especially considering this was the first year,” said Andy Stewart, the event’s announcer. “We had a very good crowd, and it was a nice setup. It was cool, because they were the bucking chutes from last year’s NFR.”
It was a star-studded event, whether it was bull riding great McKennon Wimberley riding for 85.75 points or NFR veteran Trevor Kastner unable to make the whistle.
“Five of the first nine bulls that were out are all going to the NFR this year,” Stewart said. “That’s the kind of bull power and horse power that we had in Claremore.”
Braden definitely found it to his liking. His mount, Rusty, has been part of the Texas Circuit Finals and was a nice fit.
“She was really nice,” he said of the horse. “Things felt really good, and I was excited to get on her. When I got there, I just wanted to feel good about my ride, and I accomplished that.
“I thought the horses were amazing overall. That was just part of what made it so much fun.”
Saddle bronc riding: 1. Hardy Braden, 87.25 points, $3,500; 2. Isaac Diaz, 85.75, $2,500; 3. Wyatt Casper, 84.5, $1,000; 4. (tie) Colt Gordon and Audy Reed, 83, $250 each
Bull riding: 1. (tie) Andrew Alvidrez and Kade Alberty, 87.5 points, $2,950 each; 3. McKennon Wimberley, 85.75, $950; 4. Lane Nobles, 83, $450.