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For the Record: Arcadia

by Matt Naber | Mar 06, 2019

The sun shines brighter in the Sunshine State for the winners of the Arcadia All-Florida Championship Rodeo, but only the best competitors leave their mark in the rodeo’s record book. 

Although 2019 marks the 91st Arcadia rodeo, this iconic southeastern rodeo has attracted some of ProRodeo’s biggest names since 1973. 

Tom Ferguson set the Arcadia steer wrestling record with his 3.6-second run in 1984. No one has topped his time in more than 30 years, marking it as the longest-standing Arcadia record.

Ferguson was in the middle of a hot streak that ultimately earned him an induction into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1999. The Oklahoma cowboy became the first to win more than $100,000 in a single season, the first to earn $1 million in career earnings and the first cowboy to capture six consecutive world titles in any category. 

Ferguson won nine world titles: six in all-around (1974-79), two in steer wrestling (1977-78) and one in tie-down roping (1974). He finished in the Top 15 in the world in two events for eight years and made 23 total qualifications for the National Finals Rodeo, qualifying in 1973, 1975-84 and 1986. 

Although he competed in all the timed events, he was best known as a tie-down roper and steer wrestler and was called “rodeo’s best two-event man.” 

Ferguson believed the keys to being the world’s No. 1 cowboy were constant practice and good horses. For two decades, he showed the rodeo world what was possible with those beliefs. 

Born Dec. 20, 1950, in Tahlequah, Okla., Ferguson’s road to rodeo’s elite began when he earned California’s tie-down roping championship in 1969. He competed in college rodeo for Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He won the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association tie-down roping title in 1970 and the all-around title in 1971-72, while fulfilling his PRCA permit requirements.

Cowboys have from March 7-10 to top Ferguson’s Arcadia record, and the rest, while claiming their share of the 2019 prize money.

Rodeo records

Total payout: $103,380 (2018)
All-around: $5,395, Clayton Foltyn, 2006
Bareback riding: 90 points, Jared Smith, 2009; Kaycee Feild, 2018
Steer wrestling: 3.6 seconds, Tom Ferguson, 1984
Team roping: 4.9 seconds, Clint Summers/Brad Culpepper, 2015
Saddle bronc riding: 92 points, Spencer Wright, 2015
Tie-down roping: 8.4 seconds, Brad Hartt, 2018
Barrel racing: 16.46 seconds, Amy Combee, 1996
Bull riding: 91 points, Clint Craig, 2013

Fans can watch the Arcadia rodeo on March 7-10 at 2 p.m. ET. 

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