John L. Moore reflections on the 2021 National Finals Rodeo were posted on his Facebook page and reposted here with his permission.
Featured Image: Stetson Dell Wright Facebook page
THE LAST NIGHT OF THE NFR.
I always hate to see the National Finals Rodeo end and this year especially. Withstanding the constant barrage of bad news in this world is hard for the strongest of us and we pansies really struggle. Cowboys, cowgirls, horses, and bulls are a great diversion.
Take last night. Wyoming bronc rider Brody Cress fidgeted and fussed in the chute waiting for things to be perfect, even defying the judges who were telling home to nod for the gate. Was he being selfish, a diva in chaps? No. As he explained later, he was doing it for the young bronc. He wanted the mare to be comfortable and have a good trip so she’d want to continue her calling and return to Las Vegas as a star. Bronc riders love the broncs.
Take Haven Meged. As judges nagged him, he waited until his calf got to its feet in the roping chute so he’d have a fair chance at $27,000. He waited, nodded, and took home the money. He’d struggled early in the Finals until eight-time world champion Joe Beaver admonished him to quit being such a nice guy. Haven got more aggressive, but he’s still a nice guy.
Take Braden Richardson. Riding with broken ribs in his back he’d not made the whistle in eight trips. Last night he topped a rank bull and won the performance handily. At the buckle ceremony later he said a total of about ten words. Most of them were “yes, sir.”
Take Stetson Wright. He runs away with a third All-Around Cowboy title, sets a record for monies won in a single season, and continues to ride the rankest broncs and bulls you can under him.
But what I love most is the spirit of honor and respect. Our flag and Canada’s are honored and each session begins with a prayer that mentions Jesus by name. Could I do without the light show, pyrotechnics, and hard rock music? Absolutely and the sooner the better, but even those harsh distractions cannot dampen the mood of patriotism, reverence, and camaraderie.
And best of all, my city-born wife sits beside me. She is learning the rules, learning the cowboys and cowgirls, asking me questions about their backstories, and cheers (mildly) wildly for our hometown champion, tie-down roper Meged.
I miss the Finals when they are gone.
Haven Meged signing autographs for fans after winning the Tie-Down World Championship in 2019. Photo: John L. Moore Facebook page
Stetson Wright, center, behind the chutes at the Match Bronc Riding at the Miles City Bucking Horse Sale. Photo: John L. Moore Facebook page
Stetson Wright at the Miles City Match. Photo: John L. Moore Facebook page