by Chris Dize
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JR Stratford made his first trip to Rodeo Rapid City (S.D.) in February of 2021, and it turned out to be one he’ll never forget.

In his first out of the 2021 ProRodeo season the Byers, Kan., cowboy delivered the highest scored bull ride of the year in the PRCA. He had a 93.5-point trip on New Frontier Rodeo’s High Expectations, which broke the previous record of 93 points set by Terry Don West in 2003.

“I was pretty nervous I had just come back from shoulder surgery,” said Stratford, 19. “It couldn’t have gone any better, I didn’t expect to hear a score like that, but shoot it sure tickled me when I did.”

It was the highest scored ride of Stratford’s young career. He said it was at that moment he realized he could compete alongside the sport’s best.

“I had been 90 before but I had never been over that,” he said. “It was definitely a defining moment in my career. It kind of made me realize that I was meant to be there with those guys. It was just cool to know that I can do this on the sport’s biggest stage.”

It’s a moment he said he’ll never forget as he was overcome with emotion standing on the arena floor that night.

“I threw my hat. I won’t throw my hat very often, but I knew that one was good enough,” Stratford said. “When I heard the score, it brought tears of joy to my face. I had never really cried in the arena, but I just couldn’t believe it when I looked at the scoreboard.”

He can’t wait to return to Rapid City and give it another go in The Mount Rushmore State next week.

“I’m really stocked, I have a good bull,” he said. “I’m ready to get to ride in the new building and just ready to be back in Rapid City.”

Rodeo Rapid City will be broadcast live on The Cowboy Channel and PRCA on The Cowboy Channel Plus App, Feb. 3-5.

Rodeo Rapid City Records
Total payout:               $237,396, 2011
All-around:                  $8,081, Landon McClaugherty (team roping and tie-down roping, 2013)
Bareback riding:          90.5 points, Wyatt Denny, 2019 (174/2, McFarland, 2003)
Steer wrestling:           2.9 seconds, Ron Zimmerman, 1983 (7.1/2, Bob Christophersen, 1991)
Team roping:               3.8 seconds, Garrett Tonozzi/Kinney Harrell, 2009; Dustin Bird/Paul Eaves, 2013 (9.1/2, Blaine Linaweaver/Richard Durham, 2009; 16.6/3, Nick Pullara/C.L. Morgan)
Saddle bronc riding:    91 points, Cody DeMoss, 2021 (168/2, J.J. Elshere, 2008)
Tie-down roping:         7.3 seconds, Jud Nowotny, 2011 (17.3/2, Hunter Herrin, 2011; 27.2/3, Trevor Brazile, 2001)
Barrel racing:              11.80 seconds, Randee Prindle, 2021 (24.63/2, Lisa Lockhart, 1998; 37.27/3, Tamra Musick, 2008)
Bull riding:                   93.5 points, JR Stratford, 2021 (175/2, Brian Curtis, 2008)

Article Courtesy of PRCA

Photo By Clay Guardipee

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