With the 2018 ProRodeo season underway, some long-time partners are already choosing to go different routes for the remainder of the winter rodeos and beyond.
Chad Masters, who roped with Travis Graves from 2015 to early 2018, will rope with Joseph Harrison, who made his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 2017 with Charly Crawford.
"Anybody would be excited to rope with Chad Masters," Harrison, who roped with Bubba Buckaloo at the first few rodeos of the year, said. "He heads awesome and he’s a great guy. He’s super easy to get along with. It’s the same as roping with Charly. I grew up watching him on TV. So to get to enter with a guy of his caliber is awesome."
Masters and Harrison hope to rope well enough to ease off when it's time to head to the Northwest.
"We’re going to play it by ear," Harrison said. "Chad and I talked about it, and if we can win good and have the Finals made before the Northwest, it wouldn’t hurt his feelings not to have to go back to the Northwest. The first five weeks of the summer—Reno to Cheyenne and Dodge City—that part doesn’t bother me because you’re going somewhere and you’re rodeoing. In the Northwest, you do a lot of sitting. I’d be better served working. I could make the same amount of money working if not more. If you can have it made by the time you get to Dodge City, and don’t have to go to the Northwest, that would be my big goal. Chad says that works for him."
Clay Tryan, who has three gold buckles and won two of them with Jade Corkill, will once again rope with Travis Graves. They roped together from 2010 to 2012, and together have won the George Strait, the Wildfire, the BFI, and the Windy Ryon and won second at the US Finals, too.
"We live close, and we rope together every day and we work at it," Graves said. "We both have good horses and we have the same goal–a gold buckle...It’s why I’m doing it. When you’ve done it long enough, and you’ve been at the top, and you know what it takes, that’s where you want to be. To win the gold buckle is the ultimate dream. But I don’t want to talk about it much. I want to just do it."
Graves, who just bought Harrison's horse Dual Chip, will also have his great horse Manny and his backup horse Huey in the rig. Tryan has his aces Dew and Johnson, too.
"I think Clay's better than ever, honestly," Tryan said. "We both have gotten better. That’s why we work at it every day. I’m older and know more now. Same with him."
Corkill and Buckaloo are yet to announce who they'll rope with in 2018, and other partner changes are TBD.