Tilden Hooper, nine-time NFR qualifier, sidelined with neck issues

Bareback rider Tilden Hooper, a nine-time qualifier for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, confirmed to ProRodeo.com he has been sidelined since the 2022 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo with neck issues that he’s been dealing with for most of his career.

“I had (neck surgery) in 2012 and I have been managing it and doing the best I can,” said Hooper, 35. “Obviously I have had years where it didn’t bother me at all. I’m just going to take time off. It is just rest and rehab. That’s pretty much where we are at right now.”

Hooper has qualified for the NFR in 2008-09, 2011, 2014, 2018-22. He finished ninth in the 2022 PRCA | RAM World Standings with $188,477. He finished a career-best fourth in the 2021 world standings with $205,916. Hooper joined the PRCA in 2006.

“After the Finals (in December), once I started getting ready for this season, I realized everything wasn’t firing the way it was supposed to,” Hooper said. “The plan is to take time off and comeback stronger and better just like I have in the past. This is nothing I have not dealt with in the past.”

Following neck surgery in October of 2012, Hooper returned to competition in late June or July of 2013. After making the NFR in 2014, Hooper missed the entire 2015 season with neck issues. He returned fulltime to the PRCA in 2017 and in 2018 he started his run of five consecutive trips to the NFR.

“This isn’t a new problem, just a different variation of an old problem,” Hooper said. “We will get around it same as we have (before).”

courtesy of the PRCA

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