North Dakota’s top pro bull rider has continued his steady rise in the PBR standings this season.
Williston’s Stetson Lawrence comes to Bismarck this weekend for the Dakota Community Bank & Trust PBR Bull Riding Challenge ranked No. 14 in the world.
Lawrence’s best season was in 2015 when he finished the year ranked No. 9 in the world and banked nearly $130,000 in winnings. The 30-year-old Lawrence, who played basketball and football at Trenton High School, is looking to continue his rise up the rankings.
“My goal every season is to get into the top 10 and ultimately win a world title,” he said. “I just need to be a little more consistent. I feel like I’m getting closer every time.”
Since 2015, Lawrence has finished no worse than 26th in the PBR standings.
“There isn’t really any secret to it. There are a lot of great guys out there. You can’t have many bad rides if you want to be at the top,” he said. “It all comes down to consistency. Just have to keep working toward that.”
Lawrence, in his eighth full season on the pro circuit, is looking forward to performing in his home state this week at Chad Berger’s $125,000 Bull Rider Team Challenge.
Lawrence was hand-picked by Berger to be one of five captains for the team competition. His all-Native American team features No. 9-ranked Ryan Dirteater, 11th-ranked Cody Jesus and Cannon Cravens, the No. 15 bull rider in the world.
Lawrence understands the significance of captaining the team, but is more focused on how he performs.
“Honestly, I try not to focus on anything other than how I ride,” he said. “We have a great team. I think we all understand who we’re representing, but what’s most important is that we go out there and focus on riding our bulls.
The format for the team competition allows each team three outs per night. The team with the highest combined aggregate score -- six rides at most -- wins. The other four captains are last year’s Bismarck champion Jess Lockwood -- ranked No. 4 in the world -- No. 1-ranked Jose Vitor Leme, No. 6-ranked Cooper Davis and two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney.
Davis will be teamed with third-ranked Chase Outlaw, Sage Kimzey and Braden Richardson. Vitor Leme selected Luciano De Castro, Marco Eguchi and Lucas Divino.
Mauney’s team features Joe Frost, Cody Teel and Scottie Knapp. Joining Lockwood are Derek Kolbaba, Jake Lockwood -- Jess’ brother -- and JT Moore.
“It’s a very big event. Anything Chad (Berger) does, you know it’s going to be a big deal," Lawrence said. "There’s a lot of money and a lot of points at stake. You know you’re going to be riding a really good bull and we just want to make the most of the opportunity and put on a good show.”
The PBR circuit is in the midst of its summer break. Some bull riders take time off to heal up from the physical grind of a long and grueling season. Lawrence, however, is not one of them.
What down time he does have he spends riding horses with his wife, who is a barrel racer.
“A lot of guys go on break,” Lawrence said. “But for me, I try to stay on tour and get on as many bulls as I can.”