Taking on a bareback world title, meet Kissimmee bareback champion Tilden Hooper - RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo

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Taking on a bareback world title, meet Kissimmee bareback champion Tilden Hooper

Taking on a bareback world title, meet Kissimmee bareback champion Tilden Hooper

Taking on a bareback world title, meet Kissimmee bareback champion Tilden Hooper

I bet you didn’t know in 2008, Tilden Hooper won round ten at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, on Scotty Lovelace’s horse Scarlet’s Web. Exactly ten years later, on the exact same horse, Tilden won round ten again in 2018! For those who aren’t familiar with the sport of rodeo or bareback riding, this is nothing short of amazing not only for the rider but also the animal! Meet your Kissimmee bareback champion, Tilden Hooper! 

Kissimmee bareback champion Tilden Hooper at the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo Tilden Hooper, son of Terry and Patti Hooper, was born and raised in Carthage, Texas. He didn’t come from your typical rodeo, ranching family background. At age 14, Tilden was surrounded by friends who roped and some that rode bulls. “I came across a photo of my dad bareback riding and thought I want to do that. I want to be a cowboy.” Though his father enjoyed riding bareback, he didn’t pursue it as his career. 

Terry helped Tilden get his start by building him a spur board. A spur board is an apparatus cowboys can use to practice on rather than jumping directly onto a horse. For a few years, Tilden practiced and attended rodeo schools. “Before I decided to get into bareback riding, I had only been on like three saddle horses in my life.” At the Stace Smith Ranch, a clinic was put on by Wes Stevenson and Will Lowe. “That’s when I really learned to ride. Bareback riding didn’t come easy for me. I had to really work at it.” Tilden said, his “ah-ha” moment was at the clinic. “I met those guys, saw how much fun they were having and how much money they were making. For me, it was never just a hobby.” 

“My first rodeo competition was the Little Britches Rodeo in Louisiana. I rode for only a second before getting bucked off.” Since Tilden got his start, he’s come a long way. He is currently ranked among the top 15 bareback riders in the world standings. If you ask him what his goals are, he has his mind set on winning the bareback world title at the Wrangler National Finals. “Winning the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Kissimmee was the most memorable for me. I got to spend time with my family, and they were able to be a part of it. I was 92 points on Red Zilla, Hi-Lo Pro Rodeo’s bucking horse. It was the most fun bareback ride I’ve ever had and felt perfect. I mean, I’m driving a new RAM truck and have a brand new Polaris Ranger sitting at my house! I can’t complain!” If he can pull off winning the Wrangler National Finals World title this December in Las Vegas, it will simply top off his best year ever! 

Kissimmee bareback champion Tilden Hooper at the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo Getting to the top of the pack didn’t come easy for Tilden. In 2012, Tilden had a serious neck injury resulting in surgery. He had to sit out an entire year. When he started back, things were good for a while. In 2015, at the American, he re-injured his neck. Doctors fused his C5 and C6 together. They recommended he find another career, but that wasn’t going to stop Tilden. “God has blessed me to keep riding, so that’s what I am going to do. I am very thankful and riding better than ever.” 

If you are new to the event of bareback riding, the main thing to watch “… is the rigging the cowboy’s hand is in. Watch how much and how fast it’s moving. That’s the pivot point where our hand is tied off to. Wherever it’s going, we’re going.” 

“Bareback riding isn’t the hardest event in rodeo, but it’s the most physical by far. I try to keep my mind clear before I get into the chute. I do visualizations before I ride. When I get into the chute, my subconscious takes over, my hand slides into position, and I feel my glove. It’s like I am watching myself before actually riding. Once the chute opens, I come out fast. For a half-second, there’s a slight pause until the horse and I get our rhythm. I can count in my head with each spur I make. I’m always amazed at the horse. They are big, strong, and smart animals, amazing athletes. If I make the whistle, I try to ride a few bucks past to get myself ready to dismount. When your feet hit the dirt, and you look up to see and hear a roaring crowd, there’s nothing better.” 

Come see what bareback riding is all about for yourself and watch champions like Tilden compete in the Silver Spurs Arena at the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo in April of 2020 in Kissimmee.meet Kissimmee bareback champion Tilden Hoopermeet Kissimmee bareback champion Tilden Hooper

 

 

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