Monday Notebook, Feb. 5: A Look at the Lay of the Land Following Fort Worth
The first stop of the Texas Swing had major implications on the 2024 season
BY BRETT NIERENGARTEN @PRORODEOBRETT
The Monday Notebook has made its 2024 return!
For those who are new and those that need a refresher, this is a column meant to give you as many interesting nuggets as possible from the past weekend in ProRodeo. And with the conclusion of the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, there is plenty to talk about.
The $20,000 paydays for the champions inside Dickies Arena were awarded Saturday and the Texas Swing rolls into San Antone next.
Through the first month of the year, and the first four months of the ProRodeo season, stars like Rocker Steiner, Shad Mayfield, and more have already made waves.
- Bareback rider Rocker Steiner has won his last six Go-Rounds at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo as he defended his title. Over the last two years in Cowtown, the 20-year-old Weatherford cowboy is 8-for-8 and averaging 88.7 points per ride. In 2024, as in 2023, he was 90+ in both the Semifinals and the Finals, winning the rodeo with 92.5 on J Bar J’s Straight Stick this year. He is No. 5 in the PRCA World Standings, despite Fort Worth being his first and only rodeo of the 2024 season.
- Tie-down roper Shad Mayfield leads the PRCA World Standings by over $38,000 - which is more money than any other cowboy has earned so far in the 2024 season. The five-time NFR qualifier has already made $69,789 in 2024 and the next closest tie-down roper is Chance Oftdeahl at $31,213. Based on the 2023 PRCA World Standings, Mayfield could not rope until the beginning of 100 Rodeos in 100 Days and still be No. 2 in the World come June. Mayfield, however, won’t be doing that. He told ProRodeo.com after his win in Fort Worth that he wants his regular season earnings record Riley Webb took from him in 2023 back.
- After breaking the PRCA regular season earnings record in 2023, steer wrestler Dalton Massey is back to No. 1 in the World. Massey’s $193,000+ in the 2023 regular season were the most a bulldogger has ever made. He ultimately finished No. 2 in the World in 2023 and after splitting the win in Fort Worth over the weekend, he’s back on top. Fort Worth runner-up Will Lummus is second and Fort Worth co-champion Tanner Brunner is third.
- Bareback rider Keenan Hayes is also No. 1 in the World after a record-setting 2023 season. Massey isn’t the only who burst onto the scene a year ago and stayed there. In 2023, Hayes made a record $434,050 as the first rookie to win the PRCA Bareback Riding World Championship. In 2024, wins at the Mountain State Circuit Finals (Colorado) and New Year’s Eve Buck and Ball (Wyoming) to go along with Finals appearances in Odessa, Denver and Fort Worth, have added $35,687 to his bank account.
- Saddle bronc rider Zeke Thurston made multiple 90-point rides at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, one of two cowboys to do so. The reigning World Champion made his season debut in Fort Worth and already sits No. 12 in the World after bringing in $4,000 for a 92-pointer on Calgary’s Exotic Warrior in the Semifinals and $12,000 for 90.5 on The Black Tie of Sankey Pro Rodeo and Phenom Genetics in the Finals. The other cowboy to go 90 twice was the aforementioned Rocker Steiner.
- Four bull riders have made more than $30,000 already, the most of any event. Cody Teel shot up to No. 2 in the World after winning Fort Worth joining Brody Yeary, Creek Young and T Parker as those who have cleared the $30,000 barrier.
- Top-ranked team roping header Clay Smith has started hot for the second straight season. While roping with Jake Long in 2023, Smith won the Sandhills Stock Show and Rodeo (Texas) and the National Western (Colorado). In 2024, he’s off to a similar start with partner Coleby Payne, whom he began roping with last summer. Smith/Payne tied for second in the Average in Odessa, finished second in Round 1 in Denver and then won the Finals in Fort Worth. All told, Smith now leads the PRCA World Standings by more than $10,000.
- Breakaway roper Danielle Lowman set an arena record in Fort Worth on her way to victory. Lowman turned in four times of 3 flat or faster and three times of 1.8 seconds or faster inside Dickies Arena. That included her record-breaking 1.6-second run in Bracket 7, Round 2.
- All eight cowboys rode for 86.5 points or more in the bareback riding Finals in Fort Worth, while six did so in the saddle bronc riding. The bareback riding was even more impressive when you consider who made up the Finals - all eight cowboys are 25 or younger. Rocker Steiner, Dean Thompson, Keenan Hayes, Ty Pope and Jacek Frost all cashed.
- Barrel racer Sara Winkleman turned in the fastest run of the rodeo in her Semifinal and went on to get her first Texas Swing win. The Minnesota cowgirl was 16.26 in the Second Semifinal before turning in a 16.40 in the Finals to get the biggest win of her career. A trio of Texas cowgirls who made the 2023 NFR - Sissy Winn, Hailey Kinsel and Ilyssa Riley - rounded out the paydays.
- Bull riders Ky Hamilton and Stetson Wright are both out for an extended period of time. The best friends, traveling partners and 2023 PRCA World Champions will both be sidelined until the summertime with Hamilton undergoing shoulder surgery and Wright getting his right hamstring repaired. Hamilton broke Wright’s single-season earnings record in 2023 with $595,414.