Shawn Minor has more gold buckles than any other cowboy at this weekend's International Finals Rodeo.
Minor has won 13 International Professional Rodeo Association world titles, placing him second on the all-time list behind former Edmond bulldogger Dan Dailey's 29 gold buckles.
The former Southwestern Oklahoma State University bronc rider has won five the last six all-around titles on the IPRA circuit.
Last year, Minor became only the fourth cowboy to win three IPRA world crowns in the same season, capturing his fifth all-around title, his sixth bareback bronc riding championship and his second gold buckle in saddle broncs.
The Camden, Ohio, cowboy is the favorite to win the all-around again, but he might have to win world titles in both of his events, bareback and saddle bronc riding, to get his sixth all-around gold buckle.
Minor leads Justin Thigpen of Waycross, Ga., by just $8,562 in the all-around race entering Friday night's opening round of the IFR at State Fair Arena.
Like Minor, Thigpen has a chance for two world titles this weekend. He enters the IFR in first place in tie down roping and third in steer wrestling, but less than $1,000 behind the leader, Oklahoma bulldogger Walt Sherry of Atwood.
“I'm just focusing on both of my events and letting the all-around take care of itself,” Thigpen said. “If it's meant to be, it's meant to be.”
Thigpen, 28, won his first IPRA title last season in tie-down roping. He knows he will need some help from Minor to catch him in the all-around chase.
“He would have to stumble a little bit, and I would have to do my part to stay on top of the leader board,” Thigpen said.
“I would sure like to do it. That's what we travel all year for. It would feel like all my work has paid off.”
INTERNATIONAL FINALS RODEO
What: Championship rodeo for the International Professional Rodeo Association
Where: State Fair Arena
When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday at 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Sunday at 1:30 p.m.
Tickets: Available at the State Fair Arena box office, www.tickets.com or call 800-511-1552