Tuf Cooper Climbs 10 World Standings Spots in 8 Rounds at 2023 NFR
Tuf Cooper has gone from No. 15 to No. 5 in just a few short days at the NFR.
Tuf Cooper goes 7.2 seconds in Round 6 of the NFR, adding to his bankroll.
Tuf Cooper goes 7.2 seconds in Round 6 of the NFR, adding to his bankroll. Photo by Jamie Arviso

Tuf Cooper slid into his 15th NFR in the last hole thanks to a late-season winning streak—and has continued his momentum, climbing 10 spots in 8 rounds so far to sit at No. 5 in the world with $213,969 earned and two rounds to go.

“I’ve been going at ‘em,” Cooper, 33, said. “I had nothing to lose coming here: I was No. 15; I wasn’t going to get any worse. You can win so much money here each night that you have to keep dropping the hammer and having fun.”

The road to the NFR

Cooper battled off the bubble late in the season to edge out No. 16 Luke Potter by about $20,000.

“I had a very mediocre summer,” Cooper said. “Nothing ever big [came]—didn’t win a rodeo until the last two weeks of the season. I was doing everything I could to win small checks, scratching and clawing to make it and it came down to the last few weeks.”

Cooper said a big factor in his success was giving his full focus and dedication to rodeo as well as lifting things up to God.

“I didn’t start winning until I started having fun,” Cooper said. “I tried to bring that energy out here to Vegas and it’s been working so far—even when I took that no-time in Round 8.”

Tuf Cooper’s 2023 NFR

Round 18.8
Round 27.6$18,325
Round 37.7$10,401
Round 47.2$18,325
Round 510.1
Round 67.2$24,268
Round 77.2$18,325
Round 8No time

So far, Cooper’s won $99,642 at the NFR (including the $10,000 given to all qualifiers). The only ropers who have won more are the three ahead of him in the average standings: Webb, Meged and Smidt. He was sitting No. 3 in the average until Round 8, when a missed loop and a lost piggin string kept him from getting a time.

“This being my 15th NFR, when a [no-time] happens—it’s not the first time,” Cooper said. “When a go-round win happens, it’s not the first time. You have experience dealing with all situations. It makes it a little bit easier.”

He’s done it all on Jeff Jordan’s 18-year-old gelding Annies Royal Boon, called “Relapse.”

“He’s an experienced horse,” Cooper said. “It’s the first time for him to come to Vegas, and he’s performing phenomenally. He is making my job easy. I have a ton of confidence in him, and he’s the only horse I brought.”

Originally ridden by Jordan’s son Tater, Relapse is slated to stay with Cooper a bit longer since Tater has picked up bull riding.

— CalfRoping.com —

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