Guthrie, Okla.— Hudson Bolton (Milan, Tennessee) etched his name in the IPRA (International Pro Rodeo Association) history books this afternoon in Guthrie, Oklahoma, completing a sweeping surge in the standings to win the 2023 IPRA World Championship.
The 17-year-old bull rider joins a short list of athletes to win the world title and Rookie of the Year honors in the same season. Bolton was the lone athlete in four days of competition to reach a perfect 4-for-4 atop his stock. He capped off his final performance in a tango with Ever Ready to be awarded 86.5 points behind Reid Arnold’s (Henning, Tennesse) 87.25. He finished his season with more than $79,705 in earnings.
Tanner Phipps (Dalton, Georgia) stood atop the podium on finals night after keeping his reign as IPRA Bareback Riding World Champion courtesy of his $43,845 earnings. Despite Lane Elsenpeter (Fairland, Oklahoma) winning rounds one and two, Phipps locked in the win after a tightly contested world title race, which separated the No.1 and No. 2 positions by less than $2,000 during round two. Phipps completed at 60 IPRA events in 2023 and held the No. 1 position throughout the IFR.
Justin Thigpen (Waycross, Georgia) continued to further his stronghold on the IPRA history books and overtook the top position on the all-around leaderboard after raking in $79,120 in earnings. The Georgia native grasped two more event titles, good for 25 record-breaking IPRA World Titles, making him one of the winningest cowboys in IPRA History.
In steer wrestling, the battle to the No. 1 spot never came down to a buzzer-beater moment as Thigpen and Traden Anderson (Hanna, Oklahoma) World Championship race unfurled in the final round. The top spot decision was down to the final round, as Anderson and Thigpen’s earnings were only a narrow $2,400 apart going into the round. Ultimately, the now 25x IPRA World Champion Justin Thigpen captured the world title after he led the pack in round four with a 3.8-second time. Thigpen wrapped up his 2023 steer wrestling earnings with a total of $30,535.
Thigpen firmly locked in his sights of holding onto the title of reigning IPRA Steer Wrestling World Champion after a landslide steer wrestling win with $30,535 in IPRA Winnings. He placed fifth in the final round behind West Smith’s (Emmet, Arkansas) 8.60.
Heath King (Leicester, North Carolina) and Stephen Britnell (Knoxville, Tennessee) ended the evening with the gold buckle, each finishing the event with over $45,000 in earnings. The pair broke the barrier in the final round, handing Wyatt Allen (Dadeville, Alabama) and Adam Plyler (Pageland, South Carolina) the victory on the fastest night of competition after they logged a 4.10. King/Britnell never relinquished the coveted top spot throughout the IFR, distancing their lead by more than $12,000 at one point.
Riding an incredible post-season wave of momentum, Joe Farren (Cottondale, Florida) capped a dominant season by winning the IFR54 to be crowned the 2023 IPRA World Champion in what was one of the most ferocious saddle bronc championship races in organizational history. As the IFR54 got underway, Farren delivered a 79.5 performance in Round 1 atop Crazy Alice and stayed consistent throughout the weekend, not placing lower than sixth. Despite being outscored by Kody Rinehart’s (Rienzi, Mississippi) 82.5 in round four, Farren was untouchable in the standings and ended his IPRA season with $46,250 on championship Sunday.
Kyla Matthews (Athens, Tennessee) made waves in the breakaway roping as the reigning world champion twice tied the IFR arena record for the organization's 54-year history with a lightning-fast 1.9 seconds. The 9x IFR qualifier stopped the clock at the record-breaking time on Friday night and Sunday. She was once again crowned the IPRA World Champion in 2023; the impressive Tennessee native would become the first roper in history to claim the honor of a two-time consecutive Breakaway World Champion. She pocketed nearly $40,000 in the 2023 season.
Julie Plourde (Chicoutimi, QU) was crowned the 2023 Barrel Racing Champion. After logging her second IFR visit, she came into the event as the No.1-ranked barrel racer, and her jaw-dropping 16.524 push through the Lazy E Arena on Night One solidified her world title. Even with Emily Stiles’ 16.422 Round Four win, Plourde ran away with the title after extending her $58,000 coming into the event to $61,509.
The organization has announced Kaelanne Quinonez as the 2024 Miss Rodeo USA. Quinonez, who previously held the title of Miss Rodeo Comanche Springs, holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal/Equine Science and a Master's degree in Business. She is an accomplished entrepreneur, having founded two successful start-ups, and an educator who creates educational material about the Western way of life. Kaelanne is also a lifetime member of Girl Scouts and actively mentors others. Her ultimate goal is to inspire young people everywhere to pursue their dreams in agriculture.