Former world champion Mike Lee captures Tuff Hedeman championship

Former world champion Mike Lee of Alvord won the 26th annual Tuff Hedeman Championship Challenge on Sunday after finishing as the only bull rider who stayed on for the 8-second count during the final round.

When the title was at stake on Saturday night at Cowtown Coliseum in the Fort Worth Stockyards, Lee turned in a final score of 87.5. The other three finalists — Cody Jesus, Mickey Andrews and Cole Melancon — were bucked off.

Lee, 34, reached the four-man final, which was called the Shootout, after turning in an 88.5 in the first round and an 87.5 in the second round.

Lee earned $21,000.


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“For me, I just had to enjoy the talent [to ride bulls] that God has given me,” Lee said. “I just had to relax and trust it.”

The Fort Worth competition was a stop on the new Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Tour that has been launched by the four-time world champion from Morgan Mill.

Hedeman applauded Lee for clinching the title.

“When you win this, you have to earn it by making three good rides,” Hedeman said. “All you know about Mike Lee is he loves to ride.”

Lee snared the Professional Bull Riders world title in 2004.

National Circuit Finals

Defending world all-around champion Tuf Cooper, who has residences in Decatur and Weatherford, clinched the tie-down roping title and earned $18,005 at the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association/Women’s Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Ram National Circuit Finals over the weekend in Kissimmee, Fla.

During the four-man final round, Cooper paced the field with a time of 7.0 seconds. Tyson Durfey, the PRCA’s 2016 champion tie-down roper, finished second with a 9.3. He earned $16,016.

The National Circuit Finals featured both world class and weekend competitors who qualified by winning a regional title. Cooper and Durfey represented the Texas Circuit, which is among 12 geographic regions that determine champions each year.

In saddle bronc riding, five-time NFR qualifier Isaac Diaz of Desdemona clinched the title after turning in an 86 on a bronc named Low Bucks, which is owned by the Terrell-based Rafter G Rodeo Co. Diaz pocketed $14,594.

Former NFR qualifier Parker Breding clinched the bull riding title and earned $29,567, the most of all competitors. Other champions were bareback rider Mason Clements (86 points), team ropers Logan Olson and Matt Kasner (5.4 seconds) and barrel racer Taci Bettis (15.34 seconds).

PBR update

On the Professional Bull Riders tour, defending world champion Jess Lockwood clinched the title at last weekend’s Built Ford Tough Series tour stop in Sioux Falls, S.D. Lockwood is ranked seventh in the 2018 world title race with 1,525 points. Ramon de Lima, a Brazilian who lives in Decatur, is ranked No. 1 with 1,740.