After a Wrangler National Finals Rodeo that saw Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira continue their team roping domination, the best in the world are all shaking things up for 2023 ProRodeo partnerships to try to slay the Driggers and Nogueira dragon—or just carve out a little better living on the road.
Based on the trade list for Odessa, Texas’s Sandhills Stock Show and Rodeo and the word on the street, these are some of the new partnerships to keep an eye on in 2023.
New PRCA team roping partnerships of note?
- Jake Smith and Eddie Medina. (Yes, the middle Smith brother is now heading—which we’ve seen him do exceptionally well as a helper for Clay at the Cinch Timed Event Championship for years.)
- Tyler Wade and Travis Graves (!) Wade’s achieving veteran status after five NFR qualifications, picking up one of the winningest heelers of all time.
- Kolton Schmidt and Jake Minor. This team makes great sense—particularly if Northern rodeos are part of the plan.
- Tyler Waters and Cutter Thomison. All-around hand Waters will show young-gun Thomison the ropes.
- Nelson Wyatt and Chase Tryan. Nelson Wyatt is coming off a win in Cowtown and Wickenburg.
- Dustin Egusquiza and Levi Lord (!) Did you see Levi Lord heel in Las Vegas?! This should be exciting.
- Clayton VanAken and Rich Skelton. Does the Wyo-based all-around hand has Rich Skelton on the trail for the year?!
- Pedro Egurrola and Billie Jack Saebens. Word is that Saebens will spend most of the year training futurity horses, though.
- JR Dees and Ross Ashford. Any chance to see that head horse of Dees’ work is primo.
- Jake Cooper and Tyler McKnight. “If I’m gonna stay broke, might as well be broke doing what I love.” —Tyler McKnight, on his return to rodeo.
- Keven Daniel and Douglas Rich. Lookout. KD is making a comeback on the heels of an American qualifier win.
- Shane Philipp and Will Woodfin. Former Wildfire Open to the World Champ Will Woodfin has been training horses and ranching, but he’s ready to make a PRCA comeback with horse trainer Shane Philipp.
- Coy Rahlmann and Jonathan Torres. Looking forward to seeing Blue back in action under his owner after Tanner Tomlinson dominated on him in Vegas?
- Brenten Hall and Paden Bray. Explosive?
- Manny Egusquiza and JR Gonzales. Entered for Odessa, but could swap things up beyond there?
- Jake Cooper Clay and Kollin VonAhn. Ok, not necessarily a new team, but new enough that we can say we’re stoked to watch VonAhn back on the trail.
- Chad Masters and Trey Yates. Consistency reigns with this duo, with the Mountain States Circuit in mind as well—giving Masters setups where his abilities and horses will shine.
- Erich Rogers and Paul Eaves. These two veteran world champs are pairing up for the first time in their careers in a partnership that makes great sense.