by Chris Dize
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Ernie Courson Jr. has been riding livestock since he was 10 years old, but it wasn’t until he was nearly 25 that he thought the time was right to try his hand as a ProRodeo bull rider.

That long road led to the biggest win of his career over the weekend at the RAM Southeastern Circuit Finals Rodeo in Davie, Fla.

The circuit championship came down to the final round and Courson Jr. made it count. He covered 4L & Diamond S Rodeo’s Slow An Easy for a 73-point score, which ended up being the only marked ride of the round. That locked up the championship for the Bowling Green, Fla., cowboy, with 155 points on two head.

“I had three good bulls the entire week I was down there in Davie (Fla.),” said Courson Jr., 27. “The first one I let get me down early. I went back to the hotel room, and I told all the guys ‘no matter what happens those last two round I’m not opening my hand.’ It paid off, I’ve always been that guy that has always been right there and finally the hard work paid off for me.”

All told Courson Jr. ended up earning $12,113 in Davie over the weekend. Headed into the rodeo he had never won more than $9,708 in a single season let alone just one event. He said the reality of the win has yet to set in.

“I’m pretty sure this is the biggest win I’ve had in my rodeo career,” Courson Jr. said. “I’ve got my buckles in the car and the saddle, I know I won it, but I don’t think the full moment has hit me yet to be honest with you.”

He said with the support of his family he has big things in store for the 2022 season. He plans to go all in on with hopes of qualifying for his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo next December.

“My family is so important to my success, and I think we are going to try to make us a run this year and see if we can’t make it to the NFR,” Courson Jr. said.

With the win in Davie, Courson Jr. has set himself up as a qualifier for the NFR Open powered by RAM, which will be held July 13-16 in Colorado Springs, Colo., at the annual Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo.

Other winners at the $219,014 rodeo were all-around cowboy Bart Brunson, ($8,117, tie-down roping and team roping); bareback rider Matthew Smith (235 points on three head); steer wrestler Gavin Soileau (11.4 seconds on three head); team ropers Marcus Theriot/Cole Curry (17.0 seconds on three head); saddle bronc rider Parker Kempfer (243.5 points on three head); tie-down roper Bart Brunson (25.9 seconds on three head); and barrel racer Kelley Carrington (45.00 seconds on three runs).

Article Courtesy of PRCA

Photo By: Jessica Burns

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