2016 NFR Highlight: Saddle Bronc Rider Ryder Wright

It was a historic run for then-rookie and 18-year-old saddle bronc rider Ryder Wright at the 2016 National Finals Rodeo.

Ryder comes from a family of saddle bronc riders. His father, Cody Wright, is a two-time world champion and two of his brothers, Rusty and Stetson, currently compete alongside him. Stetson was crowned 2019’s all-around champion and Rusty was the 2015 Resistol Rookie of the Year.

Watching his father win two world titles is what got Ryder hooked on saddle bronc riding, and he got on his first bucking horse when he was 14 years old. In high school, Ryder would get on a bucking horse twice during the week for training and then compete in rodeos on the weekend. He credits his dad and Grandpa Bill for teaching him everything he knows about the sport.

In 2015, Ryder won the National High School Finals Rodeo for saddle bronc, which would set him up for his record-breaking run in 2016.

It was his first NFR of his career. For most, the nerves would be overwhelming, but Ryder put that notion to bed right out of the gate. Competing against hist father and brother Rusty, Ryder would win the first four rounds of the 2016 NFR and take the top spot in the ninth round as well.

“It’s awesome,” Wright told ProRodeo.com. “I just tried to stay positive and keep everything together — to remember that I didn’t get here off of luck and I deserved to be here.”

Five round wins would be a rookie record and catapult Ryder from 14th to 4th in the World Standings. In total, he would win over $130,000 at the 2016 NFR.

While he came up short of a world championship that year, he didn’t have to wait long to secure his first world title. In 2017 Ryder was crowned world champion after winning four rounds and placing in eight total.

Watch Ryder as a rookie compete in his first NFR beginning tonight during the premiere of 40 Nights of NFR. The Cowboy Channel‘s new ProRodeo series kicks off TONIGHT at 8:00 PM ET with Round 1 of the 2016 National Finals.