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Bradley Harter hauls in Lovington crown

by Jolee Jordan | Aug 11, 2019

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LOVINGTON, N.M. – The drive from Sentinel Butte, N.D., to Weatherford, Texas, is a long one – 27 hours to be exact. But it was just what 10-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier Bradley Harter needed.

A few nights’ rest in the saddle bronc rider’s own bed seemed to be the ticket for Harter who claimed the championship at the Lea County PRCA Rodeo in Lovington, N.M., Saturday night, with an 86-point ride on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Big Tex.

The $4,569, as well as the corresponding points on the Pro Rodeo Tour, come at a perfect time for Harter, who is closing in on an 11th Wrangler NFR qualification. He entered the weekend ranked 11th in the PRCA | RAM World Standings and 13th in the Pro Rodeo Tour standings.

“At this point in my career, I’ve been to the Finals a decent amount of times but the last couple of years have been a struggle,” he said. His last appearance in Las Vegas came in 2015. “Now, every win is important, and I want to win first every time I nod my head. But it’s just a little icing on the cake when it’s a Pro Rodeo Tour rodeo.”

Winning requires a great dancing partner, and Harter knew he had that in Big Tex, a multi-time Wrangler NFR bucking horse and the 2010 PRCA Bareback Horse of the Year.

“We were sitting up in Kansas at some rodeos when the stock draw came out, and I was telling Wyatt (Casper) and Lefty (Holman), my hauling partners, that I was due to draw one of those really good ones. It wasn’t a half an hour later we got the draw.”

Believing he had the horse to win the rodeo, Harter chose to compete only in Sikeston, Mo., before Lovington.

“I’m old and I get a little sore, so I just rested up and waited for today,” he said. “Lefty is 20 years old, and when we get out of the rig (after a long drive), he bounces and I’m stiff and sore. It takes lots of ibuprofen. They know not to talk to me in the morning until I’m two cups of coffee in.”

In Lovington, Harter was looking for a bit of revenge from a less than stellar appearance against Big Tex at the 2013 Wrangler NFR.

“I didn’t ride him to my full potential, and I’d been waiting a long time to get back on him,” Harter said.

“It was a huge blessing to draw that horse. I needed it for the money for my position in the standings but also for my confidence.”

After his quick stop at home – which included time getting his two boys lined out for the start of the school year – Harter won’t see home again until the conclusion of the regular season on Sept. 30.

“Everyone gets excited about the Fourth of July or the winter run,” he said, “but every week is a good one to rodeo. There’s a lot of pressure now, but it’s a great time to see what people are really made of.”

After a decade of Wrangler NFR trips, Harter has been in this position before.

“I don’t know if I know how to handle it,” he said with a laugh, “but I guess I know what to expect.”

Tanner Aus tied the arena record with 90 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Good TImes Charlie, matching the mark set by Will Lowe in 2007 and matched by Orin Larsen 10 years later.

In the steer wrestling, both the single-round and average records were broken. Cody Harmon broke the single-round record of 3.2 seconds when he stopped the clock in 3.1 during the second round. In the average, Cody Cabral’s 7.3 was one-tenth better than the record previously set by K.C. Jones in 2013.

Other winners at the $233,203 rodeo were all-around cowboy Trevor Brazile, ($2,351, tie-down roping and steer roping); bareback rider Aus (90 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Good Times Charlie); steer wrestler Cabral (7.3 seconds on two head); team ropers Coleman Proctor and Ryan Motes (9.5 seconds on two head); tie-down roper Shad Mayfield (16.4 seconds on two head); barrel racer Cindy Smith (17.37 seconds); steer roper Billy Good (39.9 seconds on three head); and bull rider Trey Kimzey (88 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Legacy).

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