RODEO: Wright family prepares for important stretch at West of the Pecos Rodeo

The Wright family is one of the most well-known groups in rodeo, seeing its members stand out in events like saddle bronc riding and bull riding.

Four members of the family were in attendance at the opening night of the 2022 West of the Pecos Rodeo, all competing in the saddle bronc in front of an excited crowd Wednesday at the Buck Jackson Arena in Pecos.

The showing in Pecos was part of the most important stretch of the season for rodeo competitors, known as Cowboy Christmas.

Like most cowboys, the Wrights will go on long road trips to compete in as many rodeos as they can to make progress toward qualifying for the National Finals Rodeo.

“We’re in Santa Fe, N.M. [Thursday], Lehi (Utha) the next day and then hopefully Reno (Nev.) short round,” Ryder Wright said.

Ryder Wright is no stranger to the grind that comes with Cowboy Christmas, locking up six straight qualifications to the National Finals Rodeo.

He also has two Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world championships in the saddle bronc, claiming those awards in 2017 and 2020.

He is also currently ranked fifth in the saddle bronc world standings, sitting one spot behind Wyatt Casper and ahead of Layton Green.

Wright knows that he has to keep his body prepared for the tough rides he’ll experience on an almost nightly basis.

“We’ll try to work out and exercise when we can,” Wright said. “[Wednesday] we got here a little early, so we got a little bit of exercise in.

“Just try to stay limber.”

The Wright family members were wearing their trademark blue long sleeve shirts and showed full support when each individual was out on the arena floor.

Ryder Wright competed alongside Spencer, Statler and Jesse.

The only family member missing from the first night of the Pecos rodeo was Stetson, who was scheduled to compete in the bull riding event but pulled out after experiencing soreness from a previous showing.

“It’s awesome traveling with our family, like when you’re traveling with your buddies they’re not going to want to tell you what you’re doing wrong,” Ryder Wright said. “They’re just going to tell you good job, so it’s nice to have them to tell you that you’re messing up and what needs to be fixed.”

Ryder, the brother of Statler and Stetson, ended up having the strongest showing on the night as he recorded an 86.5 marking on Pete Carr Rodeo’s Night Train.

The other Wrights didn’t have the same luck, seeing their rides fall short from putting up qualifying scores.

Ryder Wright said it was important for his family members to dust themselves off after tough outings because they would have enough time to recover at other rodeos.

“This is rodeo, it happens,” Ryder Wright said. “No matter how good you are, you’re going to fall off sometimes.

“You’ve just got to let it go and be ready for tomorrow.”

This year’s event marked the fourth time Ryder Wright has competed in the event, adding that it has almost always been good to him.

Having an engaged audience like the one he saw Wednesday is part of the fuel that drives him.

Although Ryder Wright is still a young competitor, having the two world championships under his belt helps him maintain the high level of confidence he needs to go up against strong fields in a short amount of time.

“Having confidence in yourself is the biggest thing,” Ryder Wright said. “With experience comes the confidence.

“I’m just trying to have fun.”

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