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ABILENE VICTORS: N. Mexico cowboy on hot streak; bareback riding friends share title

Bareback riders and friends Bill Tutor (on the left) and Jake Brown pose together after winning the Abilene, Kan. rodeo. Each man scored 85 points to tie for first at the rodeo, which celebrated its 75th anniversary this year.

Abilene, Kans. August 8, 2021 – A New Mexico cowboy won the saddle bronc riding at the Wild Bill Hickok Rodeo in Abilene.

 

Ross Griffin, originally of Tularosa but now living in Corona, rode the Andrews Rodeo Co. horse Hissy Fit for 87 points for the win and a check for $2876.

 

It was a ride that challenged him. “When the horse turned out (of the chute), he was really jumping and had a lot of timing to him. He came around tight at the end, which added a little difficulty, and I was able to keep going, keep swinging my feet, so it worked out pretty good.”

 

The 24-year-old has done well lately. A few weeks ago, he won the Eagle, Colo., rodeo, and this week, he’s won checks at Dalhart, Texas and Sidney, Iowa (second place at both rodeos) and a third-place check at Lovington, N.M.

 

Lady Luck can swing both ways for rodeo cowboys, and he’s happy she’s smiling at him, at least for now.

 

“It’s a roller coaster, that’s for sure,” he said. “When it’s not going good, it’s really hard to turn it around, just because you get a bad attitude and it’s not working. You’re spending a bunch of money trying, and you’re trying too hard, and then it really doesn’t work then.

 

“The lows are hard to come out of, so you have to ride the highs as long as they last.”

 

A graduate of Western Texas College in Snyder, Texas, Griffin rodeos as much as he can while working for the family business. He’s the fourth generation of the family to be stone masons, covering house exteriors with rock, building fireplaces and retaining walls, and other jobs. He also starts colts and cowboys at local ranches.

 

With rodeo, his work schedule needs to be flexible. He’s contracted to lay some stone this month, thinking he’d have a few more days off than he did. “I really don’t have time (to do the job) but I gave (the customer) my word, so I’ll get my whole family together and we’re going to knock it out in the next couple of days.”

 

Griffin is engaged to be married to Saige Bell in October.

 

In the bareback riding, best friends tied for the title.

 

Jake Brown, Cleveland, Texas, and Bill Tutor, Huntsville, Texas, both scored 85 points to earn checks for $1262 each.

 

Brown was aboard Andrews Rodeo Co.’s Double Cross; Tutor rode Andrew’s Rylee’s Raisin Cane.

 

Tutor was thankful just to be on the rodeo trail, after the pandemic last year caused about half of the pro rodeos to be canceled.

 

“You know what, I’m grateful to even be having a year,” he said. “It’s going good. It’s steady.” Ranked 22nd in the PRCA world standings, he’d like to be in the top fifteen who go on to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in December.

 

“There’s plenty of rodeo left, and plenty of big rodeos to go to. No matter the outcome, we’re just thankful for those.”

 

The two bareback riders joked around about their friendship, such good friends that they served as the best man in each other’s wedding.

 

“We don’t mind tying,” Brown said. “We’re best friends and it’s fun.”

 

It’s been a different rodeo year for Brown, a six-time Wrangler NFR qualifier.

 

His wife, Nicole, and their eighteen-month-old son, Wacy Paul, have traveled with him since early July, and they’ve made more stops, for their son.

 

“We’ve done a lot of different things,” Brown said, “going to parks, swimming pools, more family things. It’s way better” traveling with family.

 

“They always say you ain’t living till you have kids, and I think they’re right. It’s pretty awesome.”

 

Other 2021 champions include steer wrestler Cody Devers, Balko, Okla. (3.7 seconds); tie-down roper Caleb Smidt, Bellville, Texas (8.3 seconds); team ropers J.C. Yeahquo and L.J. Yeahquo, both of Crescent, Okla. (5.4 seconds); barrel racer Jordon Briggs, Chilton, Texas (15.32) and bull riders Jeff Askey, Athens, Texas and Dustin Boquet, Bourg, La. (88 points each).

 

During the rodeo, a big check was presented to the Elsie Brooks Memorial Cancer Fund in the amount of $4,703.50. The monies were raised through donations by rodeo fans and personnel, and go to help those fighting cancer in Dickinson County.

 

Photo: Bareback riders and friends Bill Tutor (on the left) and Jake Brown pose together after winning the Abilene, Kan. rodeo. Each man scored 85 points to tie for first at the rodeo, which celebrated its 75th anniversary this year.

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