ruger piva


Challis native Ruger Piva rode his way to success at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas in early December.

It was the first year Piva qualified to compete in the NFR, after coming close a couple of times before. The top 15 competitors in each event qualify to compete at Thomas & Mack Center in the NFR.

Piva sat at No. 10 in the world in bull riding for 2021 with earnings of $154,859 for the year. Piva is ranked No. 8 for 2022 by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

Piva, a son of Jennifer Piva, notched second- and third- and fourth-place finishes in nine rounds of bull riding on the big stage. He scored 82 points on Troy’s Kung Fu Magic in the ninth round for his second-place win. That netted him $21,336. He scored 87 points in round 6 to finish third, riding Happy Days. He won $16,111 for that ride. In the first round, on Rico Suave, his score of 86.5 put him in fourth place, winning $9,144.

The culminating rodeo in Vegas came after a solid year for Piva, who won five bull riding events in 2021 — in Buffalo, Wyoming; Mountain Home; San Bernardino, California; Idaho Falls and Fort Smith, Arkansas. He was co-champion at a Union, Oregon, event.

The 26-year-old Piva competed on the University of Montana Western Dillon rodeo team from 2015 to 2018, after graduating from Challis High School in 2014. He also wrestled in college, and won a national wrestling title his freshman year at Dillon. He now lives in Red Lodge, Montana, a town well-known for its rodeo prowess.

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