One of the best to ever go back into the International Finals Rodeo (IFR) boxes, Justin Thigpen once again writes his name in the IFR history books. Winning the All-Around, Tie-Down Roping, and Steer Wrestling, the Georgia native adds three more titles to his extensive resume. The father and rodeo producer has dedicated his career to being the best in the International Professional Rodeo Association (IPRA) in tie-down roping, steer wrestling, and team roping, making him a true all-around cowboy.
With 25 IPRA championship titles on a resume that spans decades, the Waycross, Georgia native has written his name in the history books again. Entering the 54th annual International Finals Rodeo (IFR), Thigpen led the competition by over $12,000 in tie-down roping and over $6,000 in steer wrestling. With a successful IFR showing, the Peach State native overtook the top position on the all-around leaderboard after raking in $79,120 in earnings. Dominating both events is a challenging feat. However, the veteran competitor does it efficiently while producing many IPRA rodeos in the Southeast.
Qualifying for the IFR nineteen times and winning the CINCH Timed Event Championship in 2019, Thigpen is no stranger to the Fabulous Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Oklahoma. While these qualifications and titles rank the Georgian cowboy among the best, it’s not the titles that mean the most to him.
“The championships come and go, and I’ve been very blessed to have these titles, but it's the memories and the people that make it special,” said Thigpen.
For the father of two young boys, the opportunities allotted by the IPRA have allowed him to continue to pursue his passions and encourage the next generation of cowboys and cowgirls. Thigpen explained that his boys, Slade and Trent, now 10 and 8 years old, also have ambitions of being involved in rodeo.
“It’s so exciting to see the growth in youth rodeo, and as a producer, it is exciting to create these opportunities for the next generation,” explained Thigpen, who now focuses on producing IPRA and associated rodeos in the Southeast, alongside his wife Laura.
As the 54th annual IFR concludes, Thigpen looks to stay true to his successful ways for years. With the experience and credentials only a few could top, the veteran all-around competitor looks to continue his record-setting legacy.
Thigpen expressed his gratitude for the IPRA, saying, “I am grateful for these opportunities and look forward to another great IFR.”