When Hardy Braden comes to Abilene, he likes to see his friends.
But it’s nice to win a check, too.
And that’s what the Oklahoma cowboy did this week at the Wild Bill Hickok Rodeo.
He scored 84.5 points on the Andrews Rodeo horse Capone to win first place and a check for more than $1500, plus he had a chance to visit with Sammy Andrews and James Andrews, owners of the stock contracting firm with the bucking horses and bulls.
Braden, who is 33 years old, used to compete full time, qualifying for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, pro rodeo’s world stage, in 2017.
But obligations on the family ranch near Welch, Okla., and high fuel prices, have kept him closer to home this year.
He’s “easing around,” he said, “not (rodeoing) very hard. It cost too dang much to go. A guy better be winning a lot of money at five dollar” a gallon fuel prices.
“I always try to make a business decision out of it,” he said. “I don’t rodeo to lose money. The goal is to try to make a dollar.”
He’s ranked twelfth in the Prairie Circuit and at the 2017 National Finals, finished fourth in the world standings.
And when he’s at the rodeo, he likes to visit with the Andrews, Sammy and son James. “I like Sammy, always have,” Braden said. “He’s a good guy, and James is, too.”
In the bareback riding, a Texas man left with a Kansas prize.
Kade Berry, Weatherford, Texas, rode the Andrews Rodeo horse Double Cross for 81 points and the bareback title.
The horse was one his older brother, Leighton Berry, who is ranked twelfth in the PRCA world standings, has ridden for a whole bunch of points and some big checks.
“I’ve seen my big brother climb aboard that horse and win a lot of money,” Berry said. “That’s a horse I’ve wanted to get on since I started riding bucking horses. She’s a great-built bucking horse, and everything a guy could want. If you wanted to build a bucking horse, you couldn’t find one any better than that.”
A nineteen-year-old student at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, Berry is in his PRCA permit year, working towards full membership and a degree in agribusiness.
He and brother Leighton, who’s been a PRCA competitor since 2018, are competitive. “Everything was a race,” Kade said. “If it was who could finish their plate the fastest at the dinner table or who could get to the barn the quickest to saddle their horse, it was always a competition.”
Berry’s father, Kirby, rode bareback horses for fifteen years, competing in Abilene multiple times and finishing as the Texas Circuit champion twice. “He’s the stepping stone for me and my brother. He’s taught me and Leighton everything we know. It’s so cool for me to follow in those footsteps.”
Other 2022 champions include steer wrestler Jeff Richardson, Kearney, Neb. (4.5 seconds); tie-down roper Mason Appleton, Chelsea, Okla. (8.7 seconds); team ropers Paul David Tierney, Oklahoma City, Okla. and Tanner Braden, Dewey, Okla. (4.6 seconds); barrel racer BryAnna Haluptzok, Tenstrike, Minn. (15.26 seconds) and bull rider Creek Young, Rogersville, Mo. (88 points).
During the rodeo, a big check was presented to the Elsie Brooks Memorial Cancer Fund in the amount of $5,087.06. The monies were raised through donations by rodeo fans and personnel, and go to help those fighting cancer in Dickinson County.
Next year’s Wild Bill Hickok Rodeo will be held August 1-4, 2023.
Results, Wild Bill Hickok Rodeo – Abilene, Kansas August 3-6, 2022
All-Around champion: Mason Appleton, Chelsea, Okla., tie-down roping and team roping
Bareback riding champion: Kade Berry, Weatherford, Texas
- Kade Berry, Weatherford, Texas 81 points on Andrews Rodeo Co.’s Double Cross; 2. Ty Blessing, DeSoto, Kan. 79; 3, Bubba Holcomb, New Harmony, Utah 77; 4, AJ Ruth, Huntsville, Texas 76; 5. Yance Day, Tahlequah, Okla. 75; 6. (tie) Dakota Mendez, Alvarado, Texas and Quintonn Lunsford, McCune, Kan. 74 each.
Steer wrestling champion – Jeff Richardson, Kearney, Neb.
- Jeff Richardson, Kearney, Neb. 4.5 seconds; 2. Riley Duvall, Checotah, Okla. 4.8; 3. Tucker Alberts, Pleasanton, Kan. 5.6; 4. Peter Fager, Peculiar, Mo. 5.9; 5. Jule Hazen, Ashland, Kan. 6.1; 6. Denver Berry, Checotah, Okla. 6.2; 7. Tanner Brunner, Ramona, Kan. 6.4; 8. Wyatt Johnson, Checotah, Okla., 6.5.
Saddle bronc riding champion – Hardy Braden, Welch, Okla.
- Hardy Braden, Welch, Okla. 84.5 points on Andrew Rodeo Co.’s Capone; 2. Jake Finlay, Goondiwindi, Australia 83.5; 3. Tyrel Larsen, Carnegie, Okla. 82.5; 4. (tie) Logan Cook, Alto, Texas and Riggin Smith, Winterset, Iowa 81 points; 6. Ean Price, Goodwell, Okla. 80.5; 7. (tie) Chance Masters, Leon, Iowa and Weston Pierschbacher, Kellerton, Iowa 80 each.
Tie-down roping champion – Mason Appleton, Chelsea, Okla.
- Mason Appleton, Chelsea, Okla. 8.7; 2. Cooper Martin, Salado, Texas 9.1; 3. JT Adamson, Cody, Neb. 9.2; 4. Denton Oestmann, Alva, Okla. 9.8; 5. Jody Green, Ada, Okla. and Bryson Sechrist, Apache, Okla. 9.9 each; 7. Chance Oftedahl, Pemberton, Minn. 10.1; 8. Austin Lawrence, Sperry, Okla. 10.3.
Team roping champions – Paul David Tierney, Oklahoma City, Okla. and Tanner Braden, Dewey, Okla.
- Paul David Tierney, Oklahoma City, Okla./Tanner Braden, Dewey, Okla. 4.6 seconds; 2. Clay Smith, Iowa Park, Texas/Jake Long, Morgan Mill, Texas 4.9; 3. Jake Clay, Sapulpa, Okla./Billie Jack Saebens, Nowata, Okla. 5.0; 4. Chad Masters, Cedar Hill, Tenn./Paul Eaves, Millsap, Texas 5.1; 5. Coleman Proctor, Pryor, Okla./Logan Medlin, Tatum, N.M. 5.5; 6. Brandon Farris, Gracemont, Okla./Brandon Bates, Wickenberg, Ariz. 5.7; 7. (tie) Nick Becker, Garden City, Kan./Tyrel Taton, Bessie, Okla. and JC Yeahquo, Crescent, Okla./LJ Yeahquo, Crescent, Okla. 6.2 each.
Barrel racing champion – BryAnna Haluptzok, Tenstrike, Minn.
- BryAnna Haluptzok, Tenstrike, Minn. 15.26 seconds; 2. Suzanne Brooks, Seminole, Okla. 15.45; 3. Michelle Darling, Medford, Okla. 15.48; 4. Jessica Routier, Buffalo, S.D. 15.54; 5. Tamara Reinhardt, Canadian, Texas 15.56; 6. Jamie Chaffin, Burwell, Neb. 15.71; 7. Ari-Anna Flynn, Charleston, Ark. 15.72; 8. Sadie Wolaver, Weatherford, Okla. 15.77; 9. (tie) Stephanie Fryar, Waco, Texas and Leslie Smalygo, Skiatook, Okla. 15.80 each.
Bull riding champion: Creek Young, Rogersville, Mo.
- Creek Young, Rogersville, Mo. 88 points on Andrews Rodeo’s Deal Me In; 2. Tyler Vogele, Cedar Vale, Kan. 86; 3. Coy Pollmeier, Ft. Scott, Kan. 85.5; 4. Jeff Askey, Eustace, Texas 83; 5. Gavin Michel, Nixa, Mo. 82.5; 6. Jace Trosclair, Chauvin, La. 81; 7. Ernie Courson Jr., Okeechobee, Fla. 75.
Photos via Wild Bill Hickok Rodeo.
Top Photo: Hardy Braden, Welch, Okla., is the saddle bronc riding champion at the 2022 Abilene Rodeo. Photo by Fly Thomas.