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Thu Oct 31, 2019, 03:50 PM

Meet the family with nine professional cowboys

Meet the family with nine professional cowboys
A rodeo family in Southern Utah has become a dominant force in the sport, with five world championships among them. 60 Minutes reports on the Wrights, Sunday

2019
Oct 31

They have names like Stetson, Rusty, Ryder and Cody. They ride horses like they were born in the saddle. And they are among the best saddle bronc rodeo riders in the world. Bill Whitaker profiles the Wright family of Southern Utah, a clan sporting nine professional cowboys with five world rodeo titles among them who live the kind of lifestyle straight out of the old west. The Wrights will be featured on the next edition of 60 Minutes, Sunday, November 3 at 7:30 p.m. ET and 7 p.m. PT on CBS.

On the family cattle ranch on the edge of Zion National Park, the Wrights worked to become a dominant force in rodeo. The Wrights have made it to the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, the sport's Super Bowl, every year for the past decade and a half. The oldest, 42-year-old Cody Wright, has won the champion's gold buckles, the top prize, twice.

Saddle Bronc riding is a dangerous event in which the rider tries to hold on to a horse specially bred to buck them off with just one hand for eight wild seconds. Cody explains what he does on the bucking bronc. "When they jump and kick…they're stretched out, their feet are off the ground," he tells Whitaker. "[So] you want to be stretched out, your free arm straight back and your feet set as high on the neck as you can get them."

Cody emphasizes the importance of being in time with the horse as it bucks. "It can be the roughest ride in the world if you're out of time, or it can be the smoothest ride in the world… I like to think you are [dancing with the horse]. I dance a lot better with a horse than I do my wife. I ain't got no rhythm," he says with a laugh.

When a rider is out of time with the bronc, they can fall in spectacular fashion, sometimes causing serious injuries. Three of the Wrights came to a group interview on crutches. Among the wince-inducing injuries they have suffered: fractured skull, broken back, brain bleed. More common is minor, yet painful damage: Jake Wright says he has broken his nose "about 10 times."

The next generation of Wrights aims to continue the family tradition. Whitaker and 60 Minutes cameras captured Cody coach his youngest son, 16-year-old Statler, on his first bronc ride. "I was… super nervous until I got in there and then I just pretty much forgot about everything else but what my dad's taught me," says Statler. After about eight seconds, he was thrown off. "I hurt my butt, actually, but as soon as I hit the ground, I wanted to do it again."

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