KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Two Treasure State cowboys were crowned champions on Saturday night, receiving championship buckles at the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo here.
Montana bull rider Parker Breding of Edgar and bareback rider Richmond Champion of Stevensville rode to victory at the tournament-style rodeo.
A third cowboy who qualified for the national event through the Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit — Scott Guenthner of Provost, Alberta — was the champion in steer wrestling.
The 28-year-old Breding is the first bull rider to win four career National Circuit Finals titles the PRCA reported.
Breding won the semifinal round with an 88-point ride for $6,120 and then scored an 86.5 in the finals for another $6,120. Overall, Breding earned $13,006.
His other national titles at the event came in 2014, 2016 and 2018.
"That's really special to me," Breding told the PRCA about his four RAM NCFR championships. "I haven't done a whole lot of things any bigger than this. So far this rodeo kind of has been my small world title in a way. To be able to come here and get it done again is just amazing. I sure do love it here. They treat you really well, and this is one of my favorite rodeos by far."
Entering the event, Breding had earned $11,598.31 and was in 18th place in the world standings.
Breding won the average title at the 42nd Annual Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit Finals in Kalispell in January. He also was the Montana circuit year-end champion with $14,470.04 in earnings for the 2020 season.
"I haven't won a whole lot since I won our Montana Circuit Finals Rodeo," Breding said in an article on the prorodeo.com website. "I needed to come here and win something, and it worked out better than I even expected in the finals. I just kept telling myself to nod my head and get out of the chute and just react to whatever the bull does, and that's exactly what I was able to do. It ended up being an awesome little bull. I was pretty dang excited when I made the whistle."
In July of 2019, Breding suffered a left knee injury, tearing his ACL and PCL, at the Calgary Stampede. A three-time NFR qualifier (2018, 2015 and 2013), Breding finished 31st in the world standings in 2020. He has $825,680 in career winnings according to his PRCA biography.
"When I won tonight, I felt like I was able to overcome some things," Breding said in the PRCA story. "I was frustrated with how I had been riding and the injuries I have gone through the past couple of years, and it has put me out of the running to be anywhere. The moment I hit the ground (in the finals), I was ecstatic."
Champion, who finished eighth in the world standings last year with $142,123 in winnings, scored an 87-point ride aboard Risky Mistress for $6,158 in the sudden-death finals for the bareback title.
The 28-year-old was third in the average after the second round with rides of 85.5 and 86 points.
Overall, Champion collected $15,010 over the three-day rodeo.
Champion entered the RAM NCFR in fourth place in the world standings with $22,644.31 won.
"I didn't know a whole lot about that horse," Champion told the PRCA of Risky Mistress. "Tanner Aus had her at the Riggin Rally last week and she had stumbled, but he said she was really fun, and she was. It's amazing to win this rodeo. This is a saddle you want in your house and a buckle you want on your belt. I'm super grateful."
Champion finished second in the average at the MPRCF at Majestic Valley Arena in January and was the year-end champion for the Montana circuit with $14,922.17 in earnings.
Guenthner, 29, was the average champion in steer wrestling at the MPRCF and finished the season second in the standings with $9,382.53 won.
He scored a time of 3.6 seconds in the finals to secure the national championship in Florida.
According to story on prorodeo.com, Guenthner "had to balance time" between the United States and Canada last year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and his season didn't really begin until July.
Guenthner, who won the weekly rodeo in Big Timber in September, finished last year in 34th in the world steer wrestling standings.
The PRCA reported it was the first time Guenthner won the title at the national circuit finals. He earned $16,805 at the event.
"This is a big deal, especially with this counting for the world standings," Guenthner told the PRCA.
Other champions at the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo were: Andrew Ward/Buddy Hawkins II (team roping), Jake Finlay (saddle bronc), Hunger Herrin (tie-down roping) and Shelley Morgan (barrel racing).
Overall, 12 circuits were represented and Texas won the team title. Montana placed sixth.
Qualifiers for the rodeo were competing for $1 million in cash and prizes.
According to the schedule on the Montana Pro Rodeo website, the PRCA season in the Treasure State will begin in June.