by Chris Dize
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Back in 2016, Cody Cabral made a bit of history as just the second Hawaiian cowboy to qualify and compete at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nev.

Making a bid for a return trip to the Finals hasn’t been on Cabral’s radar in recent years but a fortuitous opportunity had the steer wrestler thinking it might be possible again.

“I ended up getting into Colorado Springs,” Cabral noted of the $1 million NFR Open set to begin on July 13. Cabral finished third in the Columbia River Circuit in 2021 and only two cowboys from each circuit qualify. But when Columbia River Circuit Champion Jesse Brown opted to compete at the Calgary Stampede instead, the opening went to Cabral. “That prompted me to enter up through this month.”

Cabral got his momentum rolling on the second weekend of July with a pair of wins, including the NFR Playoff Series presented by Pendleton Whisky stop at the Silver State Stampede in Elko, Nevada on July 10. Cabral earned $3,661 along with valuable NFR Playoff Series points in Elko. He also won in Cheney (Wash.).

As one of the final cowboys to compete at the rodeo, Cabral’s 3.5-second run squeezed out a log jam of four guys with 3.6-second runs. It was also an arena record for Nevada’s oldest rodeo but the newest addition to the PRCA’s elite tour.

“That’s what they said so we’ll go with that,” Cabral laughed of the record. Elko has long given a pair of Garcia Spurs to the champion and Cabral remembers his then-hauling partner KC Jones winning the spurs in 2018. “It’s definitely something I’d been wanting to win.”

While he’s ridden Brown’s horse to reserve finishes at Playoff stops in Redding (Calif.) and Sisters (Ore.), Cabral borrowed Chet Boren’s horse for the Elko win.

“I’d never been on him,” he admitted. “It just all came together. Tristan Martin had been 3.8 on that steer earlier in the week and I knew he’d let me catch up fast.”

The win was in doubt for a moment as Cabral wasn’t sure he hadn’t beaten the barrier.

“I miraculously got out,” he joked. “I guess I pushed it as far as you could. Even when I got up, I wasn’t sure if I’d gotten out. I drew a good steer and was able to do my job.”

Cabral will ride the win into Colorado Springs this week.

“I definitely plan on having a good Colorado Springs,” he said. “I haven’t been going hard the last couple of years, but I always said if I can get a good hit out of somewhere big, it gives me a chance to try again (for the Wrangler NFR).

“That’s always the dream.”

Now ranked near the top 40, Cabral was appreciative of the Silver State Rodeo committee who nearly doubled their prize money in 2022 in order to join the NFR Playoff Series.

“We really appreciate them for upping their money like that.”

Other winners at the $160,297 rodeo were bareback rider Waylon Bourgeois (88 points on Championship Pro Rodeo’s Boom Boom Girl); team ropers Travis Whitlow and Tyler Whitlow (4.1 seconds); saddle bronc rider Colt Gordon (87.5 points on Frontier Rodeo’s Maple Leaf); tie-down ropers Shane Hanchey and John Douch (8.3 seconds each); barrel racer Terri Wood Gates (17.01 seconds); and bull rider Creek Young (92 points on Frontier Rodeo’s County Jail).

Article Courtesy of PRCA

Photo By: WT Brucer

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