PBR's top rookie of '01 Snyder wins Last Cowboy Standing

Luke Snyder can add another great Las Vegas story to his bull riding memoir.

But he'd prefer the entries didn't come every 10 years.

The 28-year-old was the one rider among four advancing to the third round to complete an eight-second ride Saturday night to win the inaugural Last Cowboy Standing. The Professional Bull Riders title paid Snyder $216,500 before a crowd of 6,011 at Mandalay Bay Events Center.

"Boy, that's enough to turn your season around," said Snyder, who was the PBR's top rookie in 2001 after winning the World Finals championship that year in Las Vegas.

Snyder, of Raymore, Mo., was ranked 31st among the 40 PBR riders competing and had won only $16,343 before cashing in at Mandalay Bay. His total after Saturday moved him into the season money lead ahead of Brazilian Valdiron de Oliveira, who was eliminated in the second round, when 16 riders competed.

Snyder's rides were scored for 88, 90.5 and 90 points. He was the only rider with two 90-point rides, including the winning ride on Wild & Out, which is owned by the Chad Berger/Clay Struve/Box K Cattle Company.

The event nearly went to a fourth round.

Sean Willingham of Summerville, Ga., rode before Snyder in the third round, and officials ruled Willingham touched his bull at 7.99 seconds and declared a no-score. Snyder followed with the championship ride.

"I was too far off the bull to touch him," Willingham said, insisting to all who would listen that he completed the ride. "It's disappointing that it had to happen for such a big prize.

"You can't blink that quick. I'll just chalk it up and move on to next week."

In addition to Snyder and Willingham, Aaron Roy of Yellow Grass, Saskatchewan, and Pistol Robinson of Burleson, Texas, were the only riders to cover their first two bulls.

"We're all good buddies and were pulling for each other from the get-go," said Snyder, who also became the third PBR rider to compete in 300 events.

Contact reporter Jeff Wolf at jwolf@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0247.