Cody Hancock is used to wild and fierce, bucking bulls.
That's the way the world champion bull rider from Taylor likes it. It's also one of the reasons why Hancock walked away with the champion buckle Sunday after winning the three-day bull-riding competition at the Turquoise Pro Rodeo Circuit Finals at SARA Park.
"Josh O'Byrne (bull riding veteran) and I were asked what type of bulls we wanted and we said, the 15 best you've got,' " Hancock said of the Salt River Rodeo Co., which supplied the bulls for the rodeo. "The bulls were awesome. They got an awesome bunch."
Hancock mounted Cherry Bomb Sr., on his final ride Sunday in front of a full house of sun-soaked spectators at the racing oval that was converted for the event into a rodeo ring.
Cherry Bomb Sr., whipped Hancock to the right, then to the left, but had a hard time bucking him off.
Finally, Hancock succumbed to the lashing but not before pushing into the lead with 81 points.
"Anything can happen in bull riding," Hancock said. "I weigh 150 pound against a bull that weighs 2,000. No other sport has those kind of odds like bull riding."
Hancock's score held against the other riders, including 37-year-old veteran O'Byrne from Animas, N.M. The five-time national rodeo qualifier was having a good ride on Blackhawk until he got hung up in the rope and eventually tossed from the bull.
Hancock's 81 also catapulted him to the top of the heap with a three-day average of 236 for a total cash prize of $1,226.
Cameron Mullins was second with 157, Jason Mattox was third with 123 and in a tie for fourth place were O'Byrne and Robertson Cody with 82.
Hancock was one of eight event champions awarded Sunday. Mattox of Wickenburg won the Turquoise Circuit year-end bull riding title.
Other winners included Brent Lewis of Pinon, N.M., who won both the rodeo and year-end title for calf roping. Justen Washburn of Cornona, N.M. also won both for the event and year-end in saddle bronc riding. For bareback riding, Gary Gordon of Grant, N.M. won the rodeo and was the year-end winner.
Sheri Sinor-Estrada of Alamogordo, N.M., won the barrel racing Sunday and the year-end title.
The team-roping duo of Rube Woolsey of Casa Grande and Matt Sherwood of Queen Creek won the event and year-end crown.
In steer wrestling, Damian Padilla of Nogales won the finals Sunday. Craig Hicks of Avondale won the year-end title.
The All-Around rodeo winner was Brent Lewis with $2,796 and year-end winner was calf-roper Russ Sullivan with $16,385. (See list of complete results on page15.)
Rodeo winners are off to the National Rodeo in Denver.
This was the first year Lake Havasu City hosted the Turquoise Pro Rodeo Circuit Finals and without a doubt drew many who were first-time rodeo goes.
Sunday, there were more baseball caps than cowboy hats among the enthusiastic crowd.
"I think it's awesome," Hancock said of having it here. "It got a lot of people here who hadn't seen a rodeo before.
"It made a lot of new fans and that's what we want. The Circuit Finals get good NFR-caliber riders."