Rookie Race Stats

2023 Team Roping Resistol Rookies of the Year Class Out-Earning 2022’s By Wide Margin
The team ropers in the race for the 2023 Resistol Rookie of the Year title are out-earning their counterparts from past years.
Cutter Machado heading a steer at Lake Havasu, Arizona, in 2023.
Dalton Pearce heeling at Lake Havasu. Pearce and his family convert their home arena to mimic the NFR setup. | Avid Visual Imagery photo

Every sport aims for growth, and the team roping Resistol Rookie of the Year race is no different, with the rookies coming better prepared and mounted each year. 

But when it comes down to it, are the 2023 Resistol Rookie of the Year candidates earning more ProRodeo paychecks than those of years past?

The Team Roping Journal dove into the numbers, comparing two sets of rookie data to determine;

  1. How do the 2023 Resistol Rookie of the Year canidates compare to the 2022 rookies this time last year?
  2. How are the overall Resistol Rookie of the Year champion’s earnings trending from 2020 to 2022, and what can we expect from 2023?

Comparing 2022 and 2023 Resistol Rookie of the Year earnings

The data on the top five heading and heeling rookie candidates came from August 9, 2023 and August 16, 2022. So, last year’s rookies have about a week’s worth of earnings on this crop. 

August 16, 2022, Resistol Rookie of the Year Standings

1. Tanner James, $35,7441. Junior Zambrano, $21,835
2. Kreece Thompson, $27,2252. Blaine Turner, $21,273
3. Bodie Mattson, $12,2053. Thomas Smith, $20,978
4. Kash Bonnett, $9,5064. Trae Smith, $16,411
5. T.C. Hammack, $7,4295. Clay Green, $16,369

August 9, 2023, Resistol Rookie of the Year Standings

Headers Heelers
1. Cole Thomas, $44,8471. Kaden Profili, $41,076
2. Cutter Machado, $34,1412. Clay Clayman, $39,357
3. Mason Appleton, $23,9473. JR Gonzalez, $38,440
4. Corben Culley, $15,1334. Landen Glenn, $32,116
5. Wyatt Bray, $13,6955. Cooper Freeman, $29,492

The top five from each year were used to determine the median earnings and compare the groups. 

A median is considered a better measure of the overall tendency of the group, because it is not skewed by exceptionally high or low winners like an average calculation would be. Definition: denoting or relating to a value or quantity lying at the midpoint of a frequency distribution of observed values or quantities, such that there is an equal probability of falling above or below it.

When comparing 2022 and 2023, it’s evident that this year’s rookies have earned more than 2022’s group. The heading saw a 98% increase in median earnings while the heeling saw an 83% increase. (And remember, 2022’s data came from a week later in the year). The top-five headers have earned $39,654 more in 2023 than 2022 ($131,763 to $92,109), while the top-five heelers in 2023 have earned a massive $83,615 more than their 2022 counterparts so far this year ($180,481 to $96,866).

While the 2023 rookie’s magic may never be able to be fully explained one thing is for sure—they’ve got a talented roster. 

The group includes the reigning Great Lakes Circuit Champions Mason Appleton and Clay Clayman and reigning Southeastern Circuit Finals header Cole Thomas.

Looking at the top five in on the head and heels, a noticeable trend is—the heading race is more susceptible to a stand-out star, while the heeling race stays much tighter throughout the top five.

Comparing Final Resistol Rookie of the Year Champion earnings year over year

Year over year, the Resistol Rookie of the Year champion headers shows a consistent earnings growth while heeling—still earning more—have less consistency. The heeling rookie champion averaged $8,780 more than the headers from 2020-2022

“This is a tough rookie class,” 2019 Resistol Rookie of the Year Paden Bray said. “The payouts have gone way up, though, since 2019 and now. I finished 17th with $67,014 that year. They pay more holes, and they pay less for first. You can win a lot more for seventh or eighth. The competition is tough as ever, but the payout scale has changed in favor of the rookies. Plus, since 2019, the rodeo count has gone from 65 to 75, which means rookies are officialing more rodeos, too.”

Plus, Resistol added its Resistol Rookie Roundup in 2022, giving rookies a chance at even bigger payouts—against only other rookies—than ever before.

In nearly every comparison, the 2023 Resistol Rookie of the Year candidates are pushing the envelope. They boast more earnings than their 2022 conterparts during this time last year, and the year over year earnings—with the exception of the 2022 heeling champion—are on a positive trajectory. 

The team roping industry is alive and well, thanks to the dedication of horse breeders, clinicians, event producers and tenacious young ropers. 

Thanks to our friends at Resistol for supporting the Resistol Rookie of the Year coverage. 

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