23 year old Jay Thomas Pettitt traveled 1,106 miles from Odessa, Texas to Huron, South Dakota to compete at his first Championship Bull Riding (CBR) event and after 44 bull riders had their turn, Pettitt was declared the Horizon Series Champion on night one of the 12th Annual Red Wilk Construction CBR Bull Bash at the South Dakota State Fair.
It was a night of firsts in Huron where the rookie from west Texas not only participated in his first CBR, he earned the highest marked score of his career, 90 points, for the first time. His strong performance gained him a slot on the second night’s roster where he will ride in his first Mahindra Road to Cheyenne Tour event which is the official kick off of the 2016 nationally televised tour.
Pettitt nicknamed J.T, is a second generation bull rider who did not get on his first bull until his junior year in high school. He went on to ride for South Plains College in the intercollegiate competitions before turning pro in 2014. As to how he arrived here, Pettitt credits long-time stock contractor Lyndal Hurst from Lubbock.
“Lyndal Hurst saw me at some rodeos and thought I rode bulls well and suggested I try and enter the CBR competitions,” said Pettitt.
Pettit’s first draw went bad as the first bull he attempted hipped himself on the way out of the chute and he was awarded a re-ride option. That re-ride, Jeff Harris’s Ole School, gave Pettitt the opportunity he has been looking for as a professional. He had this to say about his 8 seconds ride, “He turned back into my hand and I knew he was going to change it up and go both ways, just a matter of time, whenever he did – I picked him up and he felt good.”
Harris, the 2014 CBR Stock Contractor of the year, was pleased with his rookie bull’s performance on the bull’s first CBR event and looks forward to this young bull becoming a part of his lineup for the 2016 CBR season.
In addition to the title and prize money earned by Pettit, the big reward was the opportunity to win $10,000 on 02 Beaver Creek Beau, the bounty bull selected by 4 time World Champion Bull Rider Tuff Hedeman. According to his owner, Beau, the son of the legendary bull Bodacious, overpowered Pettitt and he did not pocket the $10,000 bounty bonus offered by CBR to ride the bull for the required 8 seconds.
“I thought he was great tonight, he is really hard to ride – he really got up in the air. He likes to blow out of the chutes and JT really tried hard, but he is just a big strong bull – and I was really proud of him tonight,” said owner Chad Berger.
There was a total of 12 qualified rides on the first night of competition, with the highest score being a tie between Pettitt and Dustin Boquet of Montegut, Louisiana. Both were 90 points, but the tiebreaker favored Pettitt and he was awarded the bounty bull.
The four South Dakota bull riders including last year’s winner, Tanner Bothwell, all bucked off with Bothwell narrowly missing the 8 second whistle.
J.C. Knapp and Flip’em Off Buck’en Bulls were the other winners tonight as they took home the prize for their bulls’ collective performance in the CBR Bull Team Challenge competition. Super star bucker Corpus Red, the 2015 CBR Co-Bull of the Year, headlined their team with 93 Pepper and 147 Spotted Warfare combining their efforts for the 280.2 points and the win.
25 bull riders will return for Thursday’s installment of the Red Wilk Bull Bash where three World Champions will headline the three round tournament style format. The reigning CBR World Champion Cody Teel, the No.1 ranked PRCA bull rider in the world, Sage Kimzey, and the No. 2 PRCA cowboy who is also the 2015 World Finals Average winner, Brennon Eldred, will be part of the action as the Red Wilk Bull Bash continues as the lead grandstand event of the State Fair with doors opening at 6:30 and the bull riding action gets underway at 8 PM.
BULL BASH RESULTS
1. JT Pettitt Odessa, TX 90 $3,427.20
2. Dustin Boquet, Montegut, LA 90 $2,475.20
3. J. Barentine, John.Bayou, LA 89 $1,523.20
4. Jory Markiss, Stephenville,TX 88.5 $1,047.20
5. Lane Toon, Lane, OK 88 $666.40
6. Josh Call, Lincoln, NE 87.5 $380.80