Paden Hurst went into the rodeo circuit’s break on a high note.
The Anderson-Shiro High School graduate earned $6,000 in bareback riding at the Houston Livestock and Rodeo Show, his final competition before the professional circuit suspended events because of the pandemic.
“I was a last-minute call-in,” he said about his entry into the Houston event.
He competed in the event for the first time and had his cash haul before it shut early. He earned $3,000 by finishing first in the first round of the second bracket and $3,000 by placing first in the bracket’s second round.
For the 2020 season, Hurst is 18th in bareback riding on the unofficial Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association/RAM world standings, with $15,309.33 in earnings. He is third in the Texas Circuit standings with $7,045.14.
“It’s been a blessing,” he said about the season. “I’ve been drawing the right horses. I’ve been working hard at it.”
Since competition stopped, he has not been practicing his riding but said “I’ve been keeping myself in shape” f o r what he thinks will be a June return to action.
Hurst expects the break to be good in a way. In past years when he had minor ailments, a break rejuvenated him physically and mentally.
“I always feel I do better after a break,” he said. “I always come back stronger.”
When he resumes competing, he is not sure where his first stop will be. “I’ve been choosing more carefully about where I go,” he said, noting that he is trying to avoid venues where the horses are not the best.
Drawing the wrong horses goes beyond affecting performance, though. “The bad horses can also affect the way you ride,” he said. “It can put doubts in your mind.”
Most of the venues this season are ones from past years. The Dickies Arena in Fort Worth was an exception. The 14,000-seat coliseum was host to its first event in November, and Hurst performed well during a late January/early February event there. “It was a really cool coliseum,” he said.
Send updates about area athletes to Barbara Boxleitner at firstname.lastname@example.org.