‘Yellowstone’ TV: Get to Know Real-Life Bareback Rider Tilden Hooper, Featured in Season 3 Finale

by Halle Ames
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Authenticity is key when filming an iconic Western drama. Meet the real-life Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association bareback rider, Tilden Hooper, who was featured in the Season 3 Finale.

Don’t be fooled. Those bad*ss men and women playing cowboys and rodeo cowboys on Yellowstone aren’t just actors. Almost every one of them is a professional in their field.

Even loyal ranch hand Lloyd Pierce, played by Forrie J. Smith, is an experienced cowboy.

In the last episode of season three of Yellowstone, the show featured a competing professional bareback rider, Tilden Hooper. Let’s meet the handsome devil.

Horse-Sized Trophy Case

Hooper is a 33-year-old Carthage, Texas native. He first found himself clinging to the back of a freight train bronco back in high school and has slowly inched his way up the ranks ever since.

According to ProRodeo.com, Tilden Hooper is currently the number one bareback rider in the world. However, he ranked second place at the San Angelo Rodeo.

Wide Open Country states that Tilden Hooper is a six-time NFR qualifier, “receiving 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 also named the PRCA Resistol Rookie of the Year in 2007. The same year Tilden Hooper was the Bareback Riding champion at the College National Finals Rodeo.

You know, just to name a few.

How Did Tilden Hooper Get to Be on ‘Yellowstone?’

Tilden Hooper explains how he came to be on the hit show. He said through connections he sent producer Taylor Sheridan a tryout video, and the next thing Hooper knew, he was riding horses in front of a camera.

“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,” Hooper said to The Cowboy Channel. “Kaycee, myself, and a couple of other experienced PRCA bronc riders auditioned, and I ended up with the part.”

Although the job was repetitive and tedious, Tilden Hooper reveals he loved the opportunity.

“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 right now, Tilden Hooper has to keep his acting career on the back burner. He currently has his eyes on winning the World Championship at the National Finals Rodeo.

Good luck Tilden, we are always here to support our Yellowstone family!

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