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A Texas-size win

Bull rider turns luck around in Sunday's PBR event

Four-year-old Jace Booco holds on to a sheep during a break in the action at the Steamboat Springs Bull Bash on Sunday. Future bull riders Booco and Clay Mende, entertained the audience between go-rounds.
John F. Russell

— Laddan Ledbetter was in a slump.

He hadn’t ridden a bull or won any money on the Professional Bull Riding Enterprise Series in two months.

Knowing that Sunday’s PBR Rocky Mountain Bull Bash in Steamboat Springs would be his last event of the summer, the Gardendale, Texas, native put it all on the line.



“It was a last-ditch effort,” Ledbetter said. “You never know with these deals. I didn’t know a lot about these bulls because I usually don’t come up this far.”

Still, Ledbetter was the only cowboy to put two successful rides together Sunday afternoon at Brent Romick Rodeo Arena in downtown Steamboat. In the long go-round, Ledbetter was the first cowboy to put up a successful ride. His score of 85.5 put him in first place heading into the short go-round.



After watching six other riders fail in the short go, Ledbetter knew he had the title wrapped up with only his first-round score. Although Ledbetter could have just jumped off his bull in the short go and still won, he said he wanted a “true win.” He scored an 82.5 in the short go.

Ledbetter earned more than $4,000 for the win – his first on the PBR tour in four years of competition.

“I’ve been waiting a long time for this,” the 23-year-old said. “Everything I’ve done my whole life, every bull I’ve ridden, every buck-off was made worth it today.”

Professional Bull Riding made its return to Steamboat after being noticeably absent from the list of Labor Day activities last year.

Judd Mortensen, his wife, Annie, and his father-in-law, J.C. Trujillo, decided it was time to unveil the Bull Bash in Steamboat.

Mortensen, who promotes PBR events across the country, said that after the success of this year’s event he anticipates it being back next year.

“With what just happened,” he said, “I do believe it will be here next year.”


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