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The 2015 ProRodeo season begins tonight during the first performance of the Waller County Fair and Rodeo in Hempstead, Texas.
And as most expect in this southeastern Texas community, many of the top athletes in the sport will test their mettle inside the arena. In the roughstock events, there are three cowboys who have qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo who will try to kick start the new season on a good note: bareback rider Richie Champion and saddle bronc riders Bradley Harter and Jacobs Crawley.
Harter is a nine-time NFR qualifier from Loranger, La., and he will be matched with Pete Carr Pro Rodeoâ€™s Rodeo Spot. Crawley, the 2013 NFR average champion and a four-time NFR qualifier from Stephenville, Texas, will try Pete Carrâ€™s Classicâ€™s Icycle.
From The Woodlands, Texas, Champion has qualified this year for his first NFR. Heâ€™s had an exceptional year, including his $1.1 million victory at RFD-TVâ€™s The American this past spring. He will be matched with Carrâ€™s Perfect Storm. His traveling partners, Taylor Price and Bill Tutor, both of Huntsville, Texas, will compete tonight. Taylor has Blame It On Rio, and Tutor will match Cimmaron.
In bull riding, two of the top animals from last yearâ€™s NFR will be part of Thursdayâ€™s show. Nic Lica of Garden City, Mich., will try his hand on Carrâ€™s Line Man, while Jay Turner of Stephenville will tackle Medicine Show.
Other top Carr animals in Thursdayâ€™s performance are bareback horse Scarletâ€™s Web, a bay mare that should go back to the NFR for the eighth straight year this coming December. At last yearâ€™s NFR, she guided cowboys to round victories in her two trips in Las Vegas. Another Carr mare, Grass Dancer, has bucked at the NFR four times.