Mountain | The Wright Way

Saying the name Wright at a rodeo is like evoking Andretti at an auto track. Known as the royal family of rodeo, the legendary clan has been competing at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) — the Indianapolis 500 of Western events — for the past two decades and has taken the rodeo world by storm.

The cowboy dynasty began six generations ago when English immigrant Joseph Wright began running cows on the open range in southern Utah. This eventually led to the purchase of 1,200 acres outside Zion National Park and the establishment of Zion Wright Family Ranch. Since then, the subsequent generations have been raised ranching and farming.

For Cody Wright — two-time Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) World

Mountain | Wright Family
Photography provided by the Wright Family

Champion and 2022 Utah Sports Hall of Fame inductee — the cowboy life ignited an inner passion for saddle bronc riding. As a kid, he cut his teeth at local events. Soon, he was crushing his amateur competitors and making a name for himself. His enthusiasm and dedication also inspired his brothers to take up the sport. In 1998, with the support of his newlywed wife, ShaRee, he turned pro. As his fame grew, Cody became a crowd favorite on the rodeo circuit.

While training, traveling and competing, the young couple began building a family. They purchased a homestead in Milford where they taught their youngins — four boys and a girl — how to ranch and ride horses. “It was your average childhood, playing youth sports and rodeoing,” ShaRee remembered. “The kids would also help take care of the farm while dad was on the rodeo trail. They all say their fondest memories growing up were going to the NFR every year to support him.”

Mountain | The Wright Way

After 15 years of competitions, numerous accolades and countless injuries, 44-year-old Cody announced his semiretirement and passed the professional reins onto his boys. Currently, all four sons — 28-year-old Rusty, 25-year-old Ryder, 24-year-old Stetson and 20-year-old Statler — are competing (and winning) on the PRCA tour. Their 14-year-old sister, Lily, is “the greatest cheerleader for her brothers,” ShaRee told us. “She is truly their biggest fan and supporter.”

If you’re lucky enough to watch the Wright brothers compete, their pride and prowess are readily apparent. “They are all very competitive in their own ways, and each strives to be the best at what they do,” ShaRee explained. “All of the boys love to watch their siblings succeed and are very supportive of each other. But when they enter an event, they each want to win.”

This friendly rivalry was on full display in 2016, when Cody, Rusty and Ryder became the first father and two sons to compete in the same event at the Wrangler NFR. The trio went head-to-head-to-head in the saddle bronc riding rounds, with Rusty ranking 13th, Ryder taking 12th, and dad posting an incredible 90.5 (out of 100) on his final ride to capture ninth place.

With so many wins, the Wrights are the most celebrated siblings in PRCA history. Their accomplishments are massive, including Rusty’s 2014 PRCA Rookie of the Year title and Ryder’s 2017 crown for the youngest bronc riding world champion in the sport’s history. In 2022, Stetson was ranked No. 1 in bronc riding and bull riding, and he shattered the record for most money earned in a single season. Then last year, the spotlight shone on Statler, who was named Oakley Rodeo Champion and became the first Wright to take home the revered Silver Spurs from the Reno Rodeo.Mountain | The Wright Family

With a competition schedule that keeps the foursome on the road a lot, they spend much of their time in a truck or hotel room. If you were to check in on them, you’d probably find Rusty reading a crime thriller and Statler watching an old Western movie. Luckily for the boys, they really do enjoy one another’s company, so traveling together works well. “I like being on the road, because I like to bother the heck out of Ryder,” Stetson joked.

When the brothers return to Utah, they barely slow to a gallop. If they aren’t training in the arena, they’re helping out at Zion Wright Family Ranch. Cody’s parents, Bill and Evelyn, run the ranch, which is open to the public for camping, glamping and horseback riding. Their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren lend a hand when they can.

Mountain | The Wright FamilyIf you ever find the Wright boys out of the saddle, their individuality is apparent. Statler likes to golf, and Rusty is the snowboarder of the family. In high school, Ryder played football and baseball, while Stetson wrestled. For a meal out, Stetson likes sushi and Ryder prefers pizza.

So other than their love for bronco and bull riding, is there anything else they agree upon? “They all look up to their dad,” ShaRee beamed. “He is their hero.” But Cody is more than just his sons’ hero; countless cowboys and cowgirls admire him and his entire family. The local pride is apparent, too, with a sign welcoming Milford newcomers to the  home of the world champion saddle bronc riders.

Of course, the first family of rodeo has built an empire that reaches far beyond the small southern Utah town. Whether in the horse arena or elsewhere, their legacy has been firmly cemented and continues to grow. “Once their riding careers are over, they all plan to stay involved in the rodeo world some way or the other,” ShaRee confirmed. “In fact, they already have a nice herd of bucking bulls and broncs so their influence can continue on that side of the gate.”

Mountain | The Wright Family
Wright family left to right: Ryder, Rusty,Cody, Stetson and Statler


SOURCEBrandi Christoffersen
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