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Bull riding: Norman native Sean Willingham wins WinStar Invitational

Willingham collects $35,806. He's the only cowboy to successfully ride three bulls over the weekend.
by Ed Godfrey Published: January 27, 2013
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An Oklahoma-born cowboy won the PBR event in Oklahoma City on Sunday, but his name wasn't Ryan Dirteater or Austin Meier.

Sean Willingham, who lives in Summerville, Ga., but was born in Norman, was the only cowboy to successfully ride three bulls over the weekend to win the WinStar World Casino Invitational at the Chesapeake Energy Arena and $35,806.

“I was born right down the road,” Willingham said. “This is kind of my second home, I guess. I lived here (in Oklahoma) until I was 5- or 6-years-old and then we moved back to Georgia where my dad grew up.

“I have always done pretty good here. I love riding in Oklahoma City. They bring the best bulls in the world here. You are going to have some good bulls to get on each and every round. This weekend I drawed some great bulls and was able to stay on them.”

Willingham, 31, got bucked off by the bull “Train Wreck” on the final ride of Sunday's championship round but it didn't matter. The other nine bull riders who advanced to the championship round also got dusted.

Willingham was the only cowboy who entered the championship round that had scored on all three bulls in the first three rounds.

“I would have loved to finish it off with a ride and get more points (in the championship round), but luckily everybody else bucked off, too,” Willingham said.

Willingham made it into the WinStar World Invitational as an alternate when another bull rider was injured. He was able to ride in Oklahoma City on the Built Ford Tough Series event, which is reserved for the top 35 riders on the PBR tour, after winning a PBR Challenger event last weekend.

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by Ed Godfrey
Copy Editor, Outdoors Editor, Rodeo, River Sports Reporter
Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more...
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