After qualifying through the WRCA Rodeo’s Women’s Rodeo World Championships progressive rounds that started on Nov. 12, 2020, Texas teenager Rylie Smith and Women’s Professional Rodeo Association World Champion Hope Thompson took the top honors in the team roping at the Inaugural Women’s Rodeo World Championships.
Smith, 19, who usually heels, and Thompson, who can be found on the head side, switched ends for this event Nov. 13, 2020, in Arlington, Texas, after roping their top six Main Event steer at the AT&T Stadium in 13.66 seconds, to take home $90,000, due to the other five teams missing.
“I’m pumped,” expressed Thompson, who won the WPRA once in the breakaway and once in the heading. “I’m more pumped than anything, but sitting here thinking about the amount of money that we won—I can’t even fathom. I feel like we were the underdogs going in because we switched ends. It’s life changing. In this industry we need it.”
Smith and Thompson drew the red steer tagged 584, which is a steer that they ran in one of the progressive rounds at the Will Rogers Coliseum to help qualify for the WRWC Main Event.
“I just wanted to make sure that I got out and tried to give her a good handle,” said Smith, who is attending South Texas Junior College. “I knew the steer wasn’t going to be the same in this big building, but I knew that I had to do the best that I could to give her a chance.”
Smith headed on her 9-year-old sorrel gelding, Floyd, that she started on the head side three months prior to this event.
“I was trying to sell one of my older calf horses,” Smith said. “Justin Maass actually found this man that was having trouble with this horse that I’m riding, and my horse really fit him. We ended up trading. This horse is actually a calf horse. We have little things to work on, but we can’t pick on him too much.”
Thompson rode Smith’s best heel horse, Curly Joe, 10, to get the timer stopped on their runs.
“Ever since day one she’s been my No. 1,” Smith said. “She’s never been able to be replaced. Last year for about 10 months I couldn’t ride her. She tore her suspensory. I pulled through with what I had, but having her back really helps.”
“She’s been great, and she’s special,” Thompson added. “I know how hard that is for anybody to lend their good horse out. I’m very thankful for Rylie and I’m sure she’s even more special to her now as she is to me.”
Thompson, who will rope at the inaugural National Finals of Breakaway Roping in Arlington, Texas, knows how big of an opportunity this event is for women in the team roping.
“Some of the breakaway ropers have gotten to go out on the big stage at a place like AT&T,” she said. “This was a new, big opportunity for team ropers. The steers change in here, we change in here. There’s a lot of fans, there’s a lot of lights and there’s a lot of money. I know that everyone is grateful that they got the opportunity to be on a stage like this.” TRJ
Follow The Breakaway Roping Journal for updates on the breakaway ropers.
1. Rylie Smith and Hope Thompson, 13.66 seconds, worth $90,000 a man
2/3/4/5/6. Jayme Marcrum and Martha Angelone, NT, worth $5,000 a man
2/3/4/5/6. Rylea Fabrizio and Debbie Fabrizio, NT, worth $5,000 a man
2/3/4/5/6. Taylor Schmidt and Jenna Dallyn, NT, worth $5,000 a man
2/3/4/5/6. Ruby Magnus and Jackie Crawford, NT, worth $5,000 a man
2/3/4/5/6. Beverly Robbins and Jessy Remsburg, NT, worth $5,000 a man
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