Colorado's Trey Yates has dreamed of qualifying for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo for many years. We've watched from the start when Yates and Aaron Tsinigine teamed up to win the Reno (Nevada) Rodeo and have been on a hot streak since.
He will be finishing up the season roping with JoJo LeMond at the Amarillo (Texas) Tri-State Fair And Rodeo, and Logan Olson at the American Royal Rodeo in Kansas City and the River City Rodeo in Omaha, Nebraska.
Kaitlin Gustave: I remember sitting with you in Vegas last December and you shared your goals to make the WNFR this year. How do you feel now that you have that accomplished?
Trey Yates: I feel pretty good about it. I feel like I want to just go to Vegas. I feel like Aaron (Tsinigine) and I have pretty good chemistry and I'm looking forward to hopefully doing good at the finals.
KG: How did your partnership with Tsinigine come about?
TY: He called me one day and we were BSing and kind of mentioned it and talked about it for five to six days and decided to enter Reno.
KG: Before even going and riding into the heel box at the Thomas & Mack, what do you think it will be like?
TY: I'm going to be nervous, but it will be a good nervous because it's what I've worked for for a long time. I'm looking forward to it. I'm going to be excited and nervous I think, but in a good way.
KG: What horses did you ride this year?
TY: I have a bay horse that I call dude. I rode YY some, and I have a black horse that I can Tux. Dude is pretty versatile. He can really run, stops hard and finishes strong. He's helped me win a lot of money this year.
KG: Who else did you rope with this year?
TY: I roped with Kellan Johnson at a couple rodeos. I roped with Ty Blasingame, J.D. Yates, Garrett Rogers, Tyler Wade and I'm entered with JoJo LeMond at Amarillo and Logan Olson at Omaha and Kansas City.
KG: Who has had the most impact on your roping?
TY: It's hard to say. I'd say my dad and my grandpa. My dad's always been there when I get down and upset—he helps me get through it pretty good. My grandpa has been pretty influential.
KG: Who helped you with the entering?
TY: Aaron does quite a bit of the entering—him and Erich Rogers. We buddied, so they did almost all the entering.
KG: Do you have an idea of who you will ride in Vegas?
TY: I'm planning on starting on my bay horse, Dude. I'm going to take my black horse, Tux and here in a week or two, Kory Mytty has a dun horse that he's going to send me so I'll have him out there because he's going to rope at Vegas. But, I plan on starting out on my bay just because I've won a lot on him and hopefully I don't have to get off, honestly.
KG: What has been the biggest highlight of your year?
TY: You know, honestly, Reno was cool and Cody (Wyoming) was cool but the college finals was the coolest. Kellan and I are really good friends and I rodeoed for Casper College. The whole environment of that short round was awesome.
KG: Did you get into any slumps?
TY: Yeah. I had one week where I roped terrible but it seemed like I still caught steers for a lot of money. We won a round at Glasgow (Montana), we placed in the first round at Great Falls (Montana) and I roped a leg to win good at Glasgow and roped a leg at Great Falls, roped a leg to win Sydney, Montana. I caught at Heber City, Utah and Castle Rock, Colorado and we still won almost $6,000 that week.
KG: How did you work your way out of them?
TY: It's hard. I've had trouble handling it. Just back off and focus—what I do best. Just get where I need to be and rope two feet don't try to make things happen. All of the good runs we made this year we had good steers and made good runs. Like our run from Cody (Wyoming), Aaron nailed the barrier, stuck it on him fast and I heeled the steer on the first hop. I didn't try to make anything happen, it just worked good.