Monday Notebook, Texas Swing Edition April 29: The Course for the Summer Has Been Set

The five rodeos that make up the Texas Swing shape the rodeo season

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The Texas Swing’s importance cannot be understated in ProRodeo. From the middle of January until the middle of April, the sport is dominated by five rodeos that all pay at least $580,000 and all rank in the Top 12 in PRCA purse size, with three ranking in the Top 6.

In total, they pay out more than $6 million at just those five rodeos, and more and more we see them as the focal point for those with NFR aspirations. Many of the top cowboys and cowgirls now put their energy specifically toward trying to win of these massive indoor rodeos.

And there’s good reason for that. Simply put, if you win Fort Worth, San Antonio, Houston, Austin or San Angelo, which requires beating the most of the Top 40 in the World, you have about a 90 percent chance to make the NFR. If you are lucky enough to be in the Top 15 after the end of the Texas Swing, there’s about a 70 percent chance we’ll see you in Las Vegas.

  • Rocker Steiner, Danielle Lowman, Damian Brennan and Shad Mayfield all claimed multiple Texas Swing titles. Steiner, Lowman and Mayfield got their two wins out of the way early by winning Fort Worth and San Antonio, the first two Texas Swing rodeos of the year. Brennan had to wait a little, but not much longer and I’m sure he wasn’t upset. He took the top spot in Houston, which comes with a $50,000 check.
  • Steiner’s win in Fort Worth one of two Texas Swing title defenses in 2024, along with barrel racer Kassie Mowry. Steiner owns Fort Worth and has won both times he’s entered there in his career - and both times he was 90 points or more in the Finals. Overall, he is 8-for-8 and averaging more than 88 points per ride in his career there. Mowry, on the other hand, placed in the Top 3 on all five of her runs in San Antone this year and won with a time of 13.68 seconds in the Finals. Last year, she won with a 13.95.
  • The Top 5 in the WPRA Barrel Racing World Standings are separated by $18,000. Last year, No. 1 and No. 2 were separated by $22,000 at this time. Jordon Briggs was No. 1 after the Texas Swing in 2023, but it was Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, who was No. 6 in the middle of April and more than $40,000, who ultimately surged in the summer to win the Gold Buckle.
  • After both winning World Titles as 20-year-olds in 2023, bareback rider Keenan Hayes and tie-down roper Riley Webb are both No. 3 in the PRCA World Standings. Not only did both cowboys win the World Title, they also both both made record-breaking amounts of money in the process as both cowboys earned more than $400,000 to have the richest single season in their respective event’s history.
  • 79 of the 119 NFR qualifiers in 2023 were ranked in the Top 15 following the conclusion of the Texas Swing. That comes out to two-thirds of last year’s NFR qualifiers and furthermore, every World Champion except header header Tyler Wade was in the Top 6.
  • Saddle bronc rider Damian Brennan as many 90+ Point Rides during the Texas Swing than his entire career combined prior to 2024. Brennan had three 90+ Point Rides in his career before this season and all of them came between Aug. 5 and Sept. 4 of 2023. This year, they came at the best possible times - one in the Finals to win Fort Worth and two on Championship Sunday in Houston.
  • Tie-down roper Shad Mayfield is the first cowboy to ever make more than $100,000 before April without winning RodeoHouston. Overall, Mayfield has won $116,808 and $107,379 of that came prior to April. For comparison, Riley Webb had $98,847 at the end of March 2023 and that includes $50,000+ from RodeoHouston. Mayfield is well on pace to become the first tie-down roper ever to make more than $200,000 three straight regular seasons.
  • Dustin Egusquiza/Levi Lord recorded seven runs faster than 4 seconds during the Texas Swing and nine such runs overall in 2024. In 2023, this pair had more runs of 4.5 Seconds or Faster (26), 3.7 Seconds or Faster (6) and Go-Round Wins (20) than any other team in the PRCA. They made multiple runs in the 3s in San Antonio, Austin and San Angelo.
  • Every steer wrestling currently in the Top 10 of the PRCA World Standings has made the NFR and nine of them have been to four or more. The best of the best are proving it in the bulldogging and Dalton Massey, who set a regular season earnings record in 2023, is the man on top, followed closely behind by 10-time NFR qualifier Dakota Eldridge. There is, however, one very notable steer wrestler down at No. 21 - three-time reigning World Champion Tyler Waguespack.
  • Looking to make his first NFR since 2021, 25-year-old bull Clayton Sellars is No. 2 in the World. Sellars was one of the most exciting bull riders in the PRCA when he made three straight NFRs from 2019-2021. He has been mostly MIA from PRCA competition the last two years due to injury and PBR events, but he returned to full-time rodeo in 2024 and has not missed a beat. The Florida native is riding 55 percent of his bulls so far this year and won the San Angelo Xtreme Bulls and San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo.
  • Saddle bronc rider Lefty Holman made all five Texas Swing Finals. Holman thrived in the spotlight in Las Vegas in 2023 and he will have reason to bring the same swagger into the Thomas & Mack in 2024 as he competed against the best in ProRodeo more than anyone else this winter. Most notably, Holman finished second in both San Antonio and Houston where he won $18,750 and $28,250 respectively. Both trips in the Short Round came on Calgary’s Exotic Warrior.
  • World No. 1 bull rider Creek Young was 12-of-17 with an Average Score of 84.6 during the Texas Swing, including X Bulls events. That included win at RodeoHouston and a 92-pointer in the Fort Worth Xtreme Bulls. Young said after winning in Houston, riding well at the bigger rodeos was a priority for him in 2024 and the strategy immediately paid dividends.