RodeoHouston, which was held March 3-22, is similar to the Calgary Stampede in that it is an invite–only, tournament–style competition.
Zeke Thurston wasn’t invited. He’s only 20 years old, unranked in last year’s pro rodeo standings and was relatively unknown when the invitations went out.
But, he’d been having an exceptionally strong rookie season in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and, when there was a no-show at Houston, he got the nod. He progressed out of his first grouping, despite having one less bronc to win money on. Then he advanced out of the semifinals and, on the final day, he put together two 89-point bronc rides to collect the $50,000 cheque. All told he won $54,900 and a trophy saddle. It’s a safe bet that the Big Valley, Alta., bronc rider will be at the top of the list next year!
By the way, there’s now two RodeoHouston trophy saddles in the Thurston household. Zeke’s dad Skeeter won the Saddle Bronc Riding there in 1986 along with $7,273.