DUNCAN — Stockton Graves’ focus all weekend was on winning the steer wrestling average championship at the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo.
He did that, clinching the coveted title on Saturday night during the third go-round of this year’s championship event at the Stephens County Fair and Expo Center in Duncan. Combined with the year-end title he’d clinched before the finale even began, the Newkirk, Okla., cowboy was quite happy with the outcome.
“It’s nice to win both,” said Graves, a three-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier. “I’ve done it numerous times. It’s a goal of mine when I came in here this weekend.”
By winning the average, he added $1,767 to his annual total. More importantly, it served as a great bonus; those earnings helped Graves hold off Trell Etbauer of Goodwell, Okla., for the year-end all-around title. Graves finished the year with $22,634, edging Etbauer by about $800.
“I had a good year in the bulldogging, so I thought I’d rope a couple calves and see if I could win the all-around,” Graves said, noting that he earned about $800 in tie-down roping at the Topeka (Kan.) PRCA Rodeo in August. “Trell’s an outstanding athlete, and I thought he’d get me because he’s so good at all three events. I don’t like the calf roping that much; it takes a lot of work and I don’t want to put that much work into it.”
But it paid off in the long run; that tie-down roping paycheck was just the difference in Graves’ first Prairie Circuit all-around championship. But Graves is one of the best steer wrestlers in the world, so his $21,836 earned at rodeos primarily in Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska was his a priority. He did so on an old friend, 20-year-old Chump, a steer wrestling horse he bought from Gene Loch of Maryville, Mo.