tilden hooper
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'Yellowstone' Featured Real Rodeo Star Tilden Hooper, the #1 Bareback Rider In The World

One of the best parts about the Paramount Network's hit series Yellowstone is in addition to starring numerous well-known actors, creator Taylor Sheridan also hires real folks who know their way around a ranch. Ranch hand Lloyd is played by Forrie J. Smith, who's actually a real cowboy outside of the series. And in season 3, Sheridan even hired a well-known rodeo star to appear as a bareback rider in the 10th episode — Tilden Hooper.

The Carthage, Texas native has come a long way since he first started competing in bareback riding competitions in high school. He is currently ranked the number one bareback rider in the world standings according to ProRodeo and currently ranked in second place at the San Angelo rodeo. He's been an NFR qualifier six times, received top placements in The American Rodeo, the San Antonio Rodeo, the Yellow Stone Riggin Rally in Darby, Montana, the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, the Silver Spurs Rodeo in Kissimmee, Florida, and currently has his sights set on winning a world championship. He was named the PRCA Resistol Rookie of the Year in 2007, the same year he was the Bareback Riding champion at the College National Finals Rodeo, and has continued to shine as a contestant in rodeo events all over the country ever since.

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For a seasoned rodeo pro like he is, how did Hooper end up on Yellowstone last year? It all came from a simple connection he explained to The Cowboy Channel that led to a video audition for Taylor Sheridan.

"It all started as part of my friendship with Kaycee Feild. He introduced me to the Steiners who, in turn, were part of the show and introduced Kaycee and I to Taylor Sheridan, the producer. Kaycee, myself, and a couple of other experienced PRCA bronc riders auditioned, and I ended up with the part."

Pretty soon after, he got the call and was able to head out to Montana to film the season 3 finale. According to Hooper, he'd love to consider acting again if the opportunity came up.

"Yes, it was a cool experience. I'd love to do it again. The scene I was in, we shot it 30 times before it was just right. It's neat to see all of the moving parts and how everything works."

As for what's next? Pretty much a little bit of everything!

"Right now, I've got my head down and am focused on winning a World Championship.  I love riding bucking horses now more than ever before.  I enjoyed the acting, and I am really excited about my future in event production. I expect big things!"

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