Louisiana bronc rider tops standings.

On Tuesday, Bradley Harter was sitting at his home in Loranger, La., with no big plans for his weekend.

That’s when he got a phone call from an official at the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association asking if he would be interested in being a saddle bronc riding replacement at the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo for the injured Sterling Crawley.

“They called me two days ago to replace him,” said Harter, a seven-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier. “Thank God I was sitting at home and had nothing to do, so I hoped in the car and came up here.”

That was an 11-hour drive from southern Louisiana to Oklahoma City, but this is ProRodeo’s National Championship. Harter made the trip pay off, riding Powder River Rodeo’s Lipstick N Whisky for 86 points to win the first round at State Fair Arena.

“I had a many-time NFR horse that they win rounds on,” Harter said of the athletic bay. “I was really excited to see that was the horse I had.”

He earned $4,525 and holds the momentum heading into the final two days of competition. The second round is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday – because of the sheer number of contestants, it takes two performances to get all 192 contestants a shot at the go-round money. The contestants with the top eight cumulative times or scores after two go-rounds qualify for the semifinals, which begins at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

“The setup here at Oklahoma City is great for everybody,” Harter said. “The payoff is excellent. We get to come get on great bucking horses, ride for good money and you can win a voucher for a pickup. Other than being a world champion and going to the NFR, this is the next biggest step in rodeo.”