O’Mara recovers from concussion; finishes strong on bull riding circuit

Mary-Glenn Smith

Winning the average at the PRCA Southeastern Circuit Finals last weekend was icing on the cake of a successful rookie year for Prairieville bull rider, Jacob O’Mara.

The top 12 bull riders in the circuit, made up of cowboys from Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, gathered in Davie, Fla. Nov. 4-6 at Bergeron Rodeo Grounds to compete for top prize money as a conclusion to the 2010 rodeo season.

O’Mara, 19, dominated over his competition by covering all three of his bulls for a total of 239 points to win the average, taking home over $4,000.

“I knew I didn’t have a shot at winning it for the year coming in too far behind, so I went in with goals of riding all three bulls and winning the average and that’s exactly what happened,” O’Mara said. “Praise God it worked out.”

On Thursday night, O’Mara rode his bull for 78 points to finish 4th in the first round.

O’Mara won the second round on Friday night when he rode 4L and Diamond S Rodeo’s bull, Breaker Box for 80 points.

Feeling confident going into the third round on Saturday, O’Mara rode his bull for 81 points to take 2nd in the round and seal the deal on winning the average.

“The pen of bulls seemed pretty even,” O’Mara said. “Everybody has hard luck from time to time, and that’s how it was here. A few guys ran into some bad luck. I was just fortunate enough to ride all three.”

The event win at the finals landed O’Mara a spot at the Dodge National Circuit Rodeo in Oklahoma City, March 31-April 3, 2011.

O’Mara, along with 2010 Southeastern Circuit Champion, Justin Koon of Grapevine, Ark., will represent the circuit in competition with cowboys from the other 11 regional circuits that make up the PRCA.

The event win at the circuit finals is another accomplishment among many for the 19-year-old, O’Mara, to add to his list of successes for his first year of riding bulls professionally in the Professional Rodeo Cowboy’s Association.

O’Mara racked up wins and top finishes at several big rodeos, such as Salinas, Calif., Ogden, Utah, Reno, Nevada and a win in Canton, Texas, during the 2010 rodeo season, which ended last month. With PRCA World Standings based on money won during the year, O’Mara finished 38th by winning nearly $30,000 in 2010.

“I can’t complain with my finish for this year,” O’Mara said. “My goal was to win Rookie of the Year, got a little banged up and had to cut it short, but still had a good year overall for my first year full time on the road.”

O’Mara also finished second in the Rookie of the Year standings for 2010 behind fellow Southeastern Circuit bull rider Dylan Werner of Florida. O’Mara was on Werner’s heels for the title after a successful summer rodeo run, when he sustained a concussion at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo in Cheyenne, Wyo. in July. The injury forced O’Mara to return home and sit out the last two months of the season while he recovered.

“I learned a lot this year, kinda set me up for the new year,” O’Mara said. “So, God willing, I see myself going to the finals (National Finals Rodeo ) this year.”

O’Mara’s big win at the Southeastern Finals came less than a month after a second-place finish All American ProRodeo Finals in Waco, Texas, where he won $11, 487. The money won at the All American Finals does not count toward World Standing, but is used as more of bonus for cowboys who compete at rodeos with less $30,000 added money, throughout the year.

With his sights set on finishing among the top 15 cowboys in 2011 and earning a spot at the prestigious Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, held in Las Vegas each December, O’Mara is already off to am impressive start.

Currently he sits fourth in the World Standings, with help from a round win and second place finish in Kansas City, MO in October.  The American Royal Rodeo in Kansas City is one of the biggest in the country  and one of the PRCA’s “Gold Tour” rodeos.  For an 87 point ride, O’Mara left Kansas City winning just over $6,000.