DENVER – The 2023 ProRodeo season didn’t go the way bareback rider Garrett Shadbolt envisioned. A broken fibula in his right ankle forced him to miss the final four months of the season, which ultimately cost him a trip to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

The pain of missing the NFR for the first time since 2020 stung, but it allowed Shadbolt to not only heal his body but reflect on his goals in the sport of rodeo. He acknowledged for a split second he thought about hanging up his spurs.

“It gave me a lot of motivation and it gave me a lot of time at home to reflect on my goals and what I wanted to accomplish in rodeo,” said Shadbolt, 27. “I’m not going to lie there were a couple of seconds there where I thought about not coming back.

“So, coming back now and knowing what my goals are, is putting me where I need to be, to ride how I’m riding so far this year. Everything is feeling really good right now.”

That good feeling continued for Shadbolt at the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo. The Merriman, Neb., cowboy won the semifinal round on Jan. 20 at the Denver Coliseum with an 86-point ride on The Cervi Brothers’ Pearl Harbor. He parlayed that success into back-to-back National Western Stock Show and Rodeo titles during the finals on Jan. 21.

Shadbolt went head-to-head with Cervi Brothers Rodeo’s Dream Machine in the short round. The duo combined for 86.5 points, which was enough to edge out Bradlee Miller’s 86 points for the win. It was the type of match-up that dreams are made of.

“It felt like a dream honestly, I think I about kicked my wife out of bed spurring in my sleep last night,” he said. “I was really hoping to get this horse. He kind of took a run out of the chute and I had a strategy when he did that, I would give him a couple of quick strokes to get him going. When he finally got going, he was coming around that circle and jumping underneath himself and it felt amazing. I had the one and I was able to capitalize.”

Now he’ll turn his focus to the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo that runs Jan. 21-Feb. 3.

“My traveling buddies and I are going to load up and head to Fort Worth,” Shadbolt said. “So, I’m going to keep the heat rolling. When you’re hot, you’re hot and I’m feeling pretty hot right now. My plan is to keep the good draws up and keep riding well.”

Other winners at the PRCA Playoff Series Rodeo were steer wrestler Tyler Pearson (3.3 seconds); team ropers Dustin Egusquiza/Levi Lord (4.0 seconds); saddle bronc rider Brody Cress (91 points on Cervi Championship Rodeo’s R. Watson’s Ed Bishop); tie-down roper Tanner Green (7.3 seconds); barrel racers Halyn Lide and Hailey Kinsel (14.73 seconds each); and bull rider T Parker (83 points on Cervi Championship Rodeo’s Dirty Mike).

-courtesy of the PRCA-

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