Wrangler NFR 2019: Zeke Thurston wins Round 7, remains first in world standings


In a night where only five saddle bronc riders scored better than 80, Zeke Thurston was the star of the show, shattering the NFR Round 7 record with a 92.5-point ride to win the go-round.

Thurston was riding “Get Smart,” the 2019 saddle bronc Pendleton Whisky “Let ’er Buck” Stock of the Year.

“He really has no moves, he’s tricky to get spurred up but he’s honest as the day is long but he just bucks so hard and he bucks so many guys off that you can’t not put him in there,” he said. “I was glad to see my name beside him.......That horse has a special place in my heart, I may have to retire him at my house and bathe him and feed him sugar cubes or something. I’ve won so much on that horse.”

Thurston now holds a $16,000 lead on Ryder Wright in the world standings and the two men are the only ones over $200,000 in total world earnings. Wright placed second with an 88.5-point ride Wednesday.

“It’s just about getting things going,” Thurston said. “I started off good and placed here and there. I had a couple nights of bad luck too, but you just look past it and keep rolling on. You just stick to the basics, and they’ll tell you who wins at the end.”

Round 6 winner Jake Watson finished third Wednesday night and Brody Cress, who leads the NFR average, took fourth.

Saddle Bronc World Standings (NFR money in parentheses)

1. Zeke Thurston - $277,953 ($100,961)

2. Ryder Wright - $261,988 ($37,500)

3. Rusty Wright - $195,884 ($77,962)

4. Brody Cress - $185,538 ($79,666)

5. Spencer Wright - $183,553 ($63,448)