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Harter captures Fort Smith



FORT SMITH, Ark. –  Saddle bronc rider Bradley Harter has been to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo almost as many times as he’s been to the Old Fort Days Rodeo in Fort Smith, Ark. Up until this year, Harter hadn’t won either of them, but now that he’s checked off winning Fort Smith from his to-do list, he can continue to focus on winning his first world title. 

“I’ve had a great career and I love rodeo, I missed the NFR last year, so my goal is to win a gold buckle before I get too old," Harter said. “My goal is to win money every time I nod my head and have fun.”

Harter, 36, joined the PRCA in December 2001 and qualified for the Wrangler NFR in 2005-06 and 2008-15. He’s also never missed competing at the Fort Smith rodeo.

“I’ve been going to that rodeo every year since 2002 and had success there, but never won it,” Harter said. "It was pretty amazing to have a good horse and win first there." 

Harter’s 86-point score on Stace Smith Pro Rodeos’ Junior Bonner was well ahead of the pack, but it didn’t come easy. Junior Bonner bucked at the Wrangler NFR in bareback riding and saddle bronc riding when he was owned by Three Hills Rodeo. 

“He leaves hard and so it’s hard to spur out, and he won’t always do the same thing twice,” Harter said. “My goal was to get a good spur out and make sure I was riding to stay ahead of him.”

Fort Smith was the bronc’s first time bucking since Harter’s friend Stace Smith bought him.

“It was pretty cool because it was my buddy’s horse and the first time he bucked it since buying it,” Harter said. “I’m thankful to stay on. In rodeo you have to overcome adversity and any time you win first is great.”

Harter’s plan paid off to the tune of $2,718. 

“It’s probably already spent – I live in Louisiana and it’s super hot, and my wife told the kids I won and then they hollered, ‘We’re getting a pool!'” Harter laughed about his sons, Houston, 8, and Branson, 4.  

Before the win, Harter was 17th in the May 29 RAM | PRCA World Standings with $22,911.

“My goal all season long when I started was to be No. 1, and when I ride I try to win,” Harter said. “I don’t sit and look at the standings because I don’t want to get sidetracked.”

Harter said his mentor, Tom Reeves, has told him not to aim just for the Top 15. 

“If you want to make the playoffs, you’re going to get beat in the playoffs,” Harter said. “But, if you want to win the World Series, you have to strive to win the World Series.” 

Winning a big rodeo at the beginning of June is a great way to boost a rider’s confidence before hitting the road for the Reno (Nev.) Rodeo and then Cowboy Christmas shortly after, Harter said. 

Harter will be checking off the rest of his rodeo to-do list with Reno next in line. 

“I’m going everywhere,” Harter said. “What we do is really neat and the best job in the world, and I’ll try to win the big rodeos and enjoy every minute of it.”

Other winners at the $110,511 rodeo were all-around cowboy Zack Jongbloed ($1,345, tie-down roping and steer wrestling); bareback rider Ty Breuer (82 points on Andrews Rodeo's Phantom); steer wrestler Tristan Martin (9.6 seconds on two head); team ropers Clay Smith/Paul Eaves (3.9 seconds); tie-down roper Tyson Durfey (15.6 seconds on two head); barrel racer Cheyenne Kelly (16.62 seconds); and bull rider Parker Breding (85 points on Andrews Rodeo's Jail Break).

For more coverage of the Old Fort Days Rodeo, check out the June 15 online edition of  ProRodeo Sports News at ProRodeo.com.
 
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