Braylon Johnson is ready for a busy Monday. Despite a tough Sunday at the Junior World Finals, the eighth-grader from Prescott, Arizona, made it to the short go-round in all three roughstock events.
Johnson enters as the top seed in junior bareback bronc riding with a two-head score of 158 points. He finished second in the first go with an 80-point ride and won the second round with a 78.0. He failed to make it to the buzzer in either junior saddle bronc or the 12-13 division of bull riding on Sunday, but qualified for the finals with solid rides in the first round. Johnson was third in bull riding with a 78.0 and second in junior saddle bronc with a 66.0.
Shortly after he was bucked off CT Rodeo’s Pirate, Johnson was already thinking ahead to Monday.
“If I worry about today it’s just going to mess me up entirely for tomorrow,” he said. “I’ve just got to go home, get my head right and come back tomorrow.”
With no junior saddle bronc rider covering two head, Johnson enters Monday’s short go just 0.5 points back of Colton Haase of East Helena, Montana. He made the bull riding short go as one of three competitors with one qualified ride.
While Johnson enjoys all three events, he has an affinity for bareback.
“Bareback riding has definitely been my favorite for a long time,” he said. “It’s just the one that’s always felt the most comfortable to me and the one I’ve always felt like I had the most control of. It kind of became my favorite over time.”
Johnson heads into the short go with a five-point lead over Kole Younger of Grace, Idaho. Four other cowboys, including last year’s champ Tyson Schmelze of Gillette, Wyoming, also posted scores on two head.
Last year Johnson finished third in bareback and fifth in bull riding, but has his sights set higher this year.
The 13-year-old Johnson already has the mentality of a more-seasoned cowboy as he looks ahead to Monday.
“I’ll get some rest tonight and try not to think about everything that happened today,” he said. “I just have to go out tomorrow and do my job.”
Leading The Way
In addition to Johnson, the other bareback bronc riders sitting atop the average heading into Monday are Ryder Topolinski, Collin Roland and Brayze Schill.
Topolinski (Grand Prairie, California) leads the rookie division with 151 points on two head; Roland (Childersburg, Alabama), last year’s senior champion, is atop the senior standings with 153.5 points; and Schill (West Columbia, Texas) leads the novice division with 158 points.
Saddle bronc average leaders are: Westin Clemens (Winterset, Iowa) and last year’s champion Wade Magner (Breda, Iowa), both with 137 points on two head in the rookie division; Haase in the junior division; Ethan Cart (Hamshire, Texas) with 148.5 points in the senior division; and Hayz Madsen (Morgan, Utah) in the novice division with 152.5 points.
In bull riding, Kaysin Chaffin (Temecula, California) leads the 10-11 division with 159 points, J.R. Merritt (Taylor, Arizona) is the 12-13 division leader with 150.5 points, Hudson Bolton (Milan, Tennessee) sits atop the 14-15 division with 149 points, and Clay Guiton (Cherryville, North Carolina) leads the way in the 16-18 division.