Oklahoma cowboy wins, visits friends; bareback rider follows in dad’s footsteps.
Abilene, Kans. August 6, 2022 – When Hardy Braden comes to Abilene, he likes to see his friends.
But it’s nice to win a check, too.
And that’s what the Oklahoma cowboy did this week at the Wild Bill Hickok Rodeo.
He scored 84.5 points on the Andrews Rodeo horse Capone to win first place and a check for more than $1500, plus he had a chance to visit with Sammy Andrews and James Andrews, owners of the stock contracting firm with the bucking horses and bulls.
Braden, who is 33 years old, used to compete full time, qualifying for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, pro rodeo’s world stage, in 2017.
But obligations on the family ranch near Welch, Okla., and high fuel prices, have kept him closer to home this year.
He’s “easing around,” he said, “not (rodeoing) very hard. It cost too dang much to go. A guy better be winning a lot of money at five dollar” a gallon fuel prices.
“I always try to make a business decision out of it,” he said. “I don’t rodeo to lose money. The goal is to try to make a dollar.”
He’s ranked twelfth in the Prairie Circuit and at the 2017 National Finals, finished fourth in the world standings.
And when he’s at the rodeo, he likes to visit with the Andrews, Sammy and son James. “I like Sammy, always have,” Braden said. “He’s a good guy, and James is, too.”
In the bareback riding, a Texas man left with a Kansas prize.
Kade Berry, Weatherford, Texas, rode the Andrews Rodeo horse Double Cross for 81 points and the bareback title.
The horse was one his older brother, Leighton Berry, who is ranked twelfth in the PRCA world standings, has ridden for a whole bunch of points and some big checks.
“I’ve seen my big brother climb aboard that horse and win a lot of money,” Berry said. “That’s a horse I’ve wanted to get on since I started riding bucking horses. She’s a great-built bucking horse, and everything a guy could want. If you wanted to build a bucking horse, you couldn’t find one any better than that.”
A nineteen-year-old student at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, Berry is in his PRCA permit year, working towards full membership and a degree in agribusiness.
He and brother Leighton, who’s been a PRCA competitor since 2018, are competitive. “Everything was a race,” Kade said. “If it was who could finish their plate the fastest at the dinner table or who could get to the barn the quickest to saddle their horse, it was always a competition.”
Berry’s father, Kirby, rode bareback horses for fifteen years, competing in Abilene multiple times and finishing as the Texas Circuit champion twice. “He’s the stepping stone for me and my brother. He’s taught me and Leighton everything we know. It’s so cool for me to follow in those footsteps.”
Other 2022 champions include steer wrestler Jeff Richardson, Kearney, Neb. (4.5 seconds); tie-down roper Mason Appleton, Chelsea, Okla. (8.7 seconds); team ropers Paul David Tierney, Oklahoma City, Okla. and Tanner Braden, Dewey, Okla. (4.6 seconds); barrel racer BryAnna Haluptzok, Tenstrike, Minn. (15.26 seconds) and bull rider Creek Young, Rogersville, Mo. (88 points).
During the rodeo, a big check was presented to the Elsie Brooks Memorial Cancer Fund in the amount of $5,087.06. The monies were raised through donations by rodeo fans and personnel, and go to help those fighting cancer in Dickinson County.