Statler Wright just won the saddle bronc riding at the 2022 Resistol Rookie Roundup in Fort Worth, Texas. The 18-year-old from Beaver, Utah, walks a trail in rodeo much trodden by his family, who continue to break records and make history with each rodeo season.
The youngest of his three brothers, Rusty, Ryder, and Stetson, Statler finds equal parts inspiration and competitiveness through his siblings. Between his dad, Cody Wright, and his brothers and uncles, the Wrights have more than 40 WNFR qualifications to their name and won 10 world titles, 6 of them in the saddle bronc riding. Statler intends his hard work to land him on the gold-buckle list as well.
Currently, the high school senior is sitting fifth in the PRCA Resistol Rookie saddle bronc standings with $9,713. He filled his permit in little more than a week, winning the first three PRCA rodeos he entered. His win at the Resistol Rookie Roundup earned him $3,539 total and boosted him by one in the standings. Statler also made the highest scoring ride of his career so far there with an 88.5 on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s bronc Border Town. “When I got the draw for the short round, I could’ve done backflips in the locker room, I was so excited. Ryder had ridden him a few times, and I had just been on him in San Angelo. I think every horse I drew in the Roundup one of my family members had been on.”
Statler just started rodeoing seriously in 2020, and originally thought he wanted to ride bulls. He tried his hand riding bulls as a freshman but broke his collarbone. Several other sports injuries set him back, but Statler found his stride in 2020 and started being more careful in competition. “I didn’t want to put in the work until my junior year. I had a little reality check that it was about time to get going. So I turned my focus to rodeo and I haven’t looked back since.”
Statler’s dad, Cody, picked up several young broncs from a friend for Statler to ride, as well as Round Robin, a bronc that Cody won a round on at the 2014 WNFR. “That was my reward. If I could spur one of the other horses, I could get on Round Robin, so I was always striving to get on that one,” says Statler. “There were stretches when I was learning and I wouldn’t stay on the horse, but I would never leave the practice pen on a bad note. Some stretches were extremely hard for me, but geez, Stetson has five world titles, and Ryder has two—I have seven world titles right there telling me what to do.” Cody—a two-time world champion—is Statler’s greatest inspiration, and he travels with Statler to all of his high school rodeos. “Every time before I get on, whether he’s there or not, I call my dad and he tells me, ‘Lift, stay back, and gas it.’ There isn’t much to bronc riding other than that.”
Gold Buckle Goals
Statler is sitting high in the Utah High School Rodeo Association standings and plans to qualify for the National High School Finals Rodeo again. He is one of very few high school competitors in the state to simultaneously compete in the PRCA. Prior to the UHSRA state finals, he’s headed to the Redding Rodeo in California, and he’s excited to see his name on the scoreboard at Cheyenne Frontier Days and the Pendleton Round-Up later this season. “My dad is the one who does the entering for all of us boys,” says Statler, who is traveling with his brother Ryder and uncles Jesse and Spencer for the summer run. “Once I hit one rodeo, whatever notification comes up is where I’m headed next.
“My first goal as of right now is to win Redding, and I know I want to make the [WNFR] Finals. I don’t want to say it’s a longshot, because everything is possible and there’s so much money in the PRCA now. If everything could go right and I could win Nationals and the [WNFR] world title, that would be the icing on the cake for me.”
About the Author
Lillian Landreth is a freelance writer and editor. She particularly enjoys writing about rodeo and the extraordinary people and animals who make the lifestyle fascinating. The author of more than 1,000 stories, her writing has appeared in the Rodeo News; The Ketchpen, published by the Rodeo Historical Society and National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum; and local newspapers. She is also working on her first novel. When she’s not writing, Lily enjoys riding with the Snake River Stampeders night light drill team, coaching the EhCapa Bareback Riders, a PRCA specialty act, and teaching horseback riding lessons. She makes her home in Southwest Idaho with her entrepreneurial husband, their dog, horse, and cows.