Arizona bulldogger Ethan Thouvenell badly needed a big payday in the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo.
“I was broke,” said Thouvenell, a two-time qualifier to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. “I needed to win here. I needed to win something so I could keep going to these rodeos.”
Thouvenell earned a big paycheck by capturing pro rodeo's steer wrestling national championship Saturday night at State Fair Arena.
The Whittman, Ariz., cowboy was going to return home and “get some money built back up” if he didn't win big in Oklahoma City.
“This is going to keep me out there,” Thouvenell said.
Thouvenell won $14,396 in cash during the three-day rodeo plus an additional $20,000 voucher for a Ram pickup.
Thouvenell had qualified to the National Circuit Finals Rodeo four previous times, and the most he had ever won before was $1,000.
“It's a big relief,” he said of Saturday night's win. “I can pay my bills finally.”
GOOD THING HE STAYED
Oregon bareback bronc rider Bobby Mote was visiting the Oklahoma City Zoo on Saturday when he received a text message that he had qualified for Saturday night's championship round.
The top eight in the average qualified to ride Saturday night, when the slate was wiped clean. No previous scores counted.
“I almost went home yesterday because I was fifth in the average and there was one more (round),” Mote said. “I thought there was no way I was going to make it back.”
Mote's wife talked him into staying. Mote, a four-time world champion, then finished in the top four in the semifinals Saturday night, which qualified him for the finals, where the slate was wiped clean again.
Mote and Kansas cowboy Jared Keylon both scored an 87 in the finals. But Mote won the national championship because his score in the semifinals was higher.