Billy Etbauer finally wins Cheyenne Saddlebronc Title!
After 20 years of trying, Billy Etbauer finally captured the only major title that has eluded him. The 46 year old Oklahoma cowboy is a rodeo legend and destined for the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame. In 1988 Billy Etbauer got his PRCA card and in 1989 qualified for his first NFR Final. He followed up that first appearance with 19 more and along the way won five Gold Buckles in Saddlebronc and three times set a record for single event earnings at the NFR. His lifetime earnings are approaching the 3 million dollar mark.
Despite all of his success, one major title continued to elude Etbauer, and that was the Cheyenne Frontier Days ‘Daddy of ’em All’. The 2009 Cheyenne Frontier Days proved to be the year that Billy Etbauer finally filled that empty space in his trophy case with a Cheyenne championship buckle and saddle.
Etbauer said, “I’ve done so well here in the past that I could never complain. It’s unreal to have finally won it. This is a cowboy’s rodeo with a big arena and great fans.”
The win did not come easy for Etbauer. He came into the final round with 162 points. He was tied for second place with Heith DeMoss and three points behind the leader, Wade Sundell. Before Etbauer made his ride, he had to watch a final round charge by three-time NFR qualifier Chet Johnson, who tied a 130 year old arena record with a 90 point ride on Barnes Rodeo’s Big Cat.
Etbauer had drawn Harry Vold’s Painted Valley, a heavily muscled and strong bucking horse that had thrown many top cowboys in the dirt. A lot of pressure, but Etbauer has many years of experience at handling just this kind of pressure. He said, “I just take it horse by horse, jump by jump, and day by day. We’ll just see what happens.”
What happened was Billy Etbauer had the ride of his life. He withstood the soaring bucks of Painted Valley and scored 89 points to move him into first place in the Average with 251 points, just two points ahead of second place finisher Chet Johnson.
With one ride Billy Etbauer filled the space in his trophy case that has sat empty for 20 years. The Cheyenne buckle was the real goal for Etbauer, but the $14,718 he won at Frontier Days moved him into 14th in the NFR standings and well on his way to a record setting, 21 consecutive Wrangler NFR qualifications.
Other Champions at the 113th Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo were: Clayton Foltyn, All-around; Will Lowe, Bareback; Jake Rinehart, Steer Wrestling; Chad Masters and Jade Corkill, Team Roping; Cody Ohl, Tie-down Roping; Tiffany Fox, Barrel Racing; Brad Pierce, Bull Riding; and Scott Snedecor, Steer Roping.