Big Valley’s Zeke Thurston is the first saddle bronc rider since 2011 to capture both the world title and the Canadian title in the same year. (File Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Big Valley’s Zeke Thurston captures second world title at NFR

Zeke Thurston is quickly becoming one of the most decorated saddle bronc riders around.

The 24-year-old from Big Valley has three Calgary Stampede championship buckles, a Canadian title and now his second National Finals Rodeo World title.

Thurston set the NFR Round 7 record with a 92.5-point ride. He Round 1 with an 88-point ride on Mo Betta Rodeo’s Sue City Sue and Round 9 with a 91-point ride on Vold Rodeo Company’s Sun Glow.

In the final go-round in Las Vegas, Nevada, he posted an 88.5 on C5 Rodeo’s Kitty Whistle to tie for third and add $11,141 to his round earnings. Add in a fourth-place payout of $31,431 and overall the Albertan collected $170,064 in 10 days at the NFR.

On the season, he earned $347,055, more than $60K over Brody Cress, who was second. Simply dominant, is the only way to describe Thurston’s 2019 campaign.

I don’t know if I have words for how I feel right now. I wanted this one even more that I wanted that first one,” the 24 year-old second-generation bronc rider told Pro Rodeo Canada. “I’ve had more fun this year than I ever have. This is awesome, just awesome.”

Thurston’s combined victory — Canadian and World titles in the same year— is the first time it has happened since Taos Muncy accomplished the feat in 2011.

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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