Rodeo Trail

Calling Their Shot: Chad Masters, Wyatt Cox Win 2024 Red Bluff Round-Up Team Roping to Tee Up NFR Push
Cali is a TRIP for Masters and Cox.
Red Bluff Team Roping
Masters and Cox on their way to the win at the 2024 Red Bluff Round-Up. | Click Thompson Photo

Chad Masters first made ProRodeo’s California run 22 years ago—but his 2024 win at the Red Bluff Round-Up with Wyatt Cox is the two-time world champion’s first title at the spring-rodeo staple in two decades, paying out $9,042 a man.

Masters, 43, and Cox, 28, made four solid runs on Red Bluff’s long score to set the average bar at 29.3 on four head, including a high-call run of 8.1 seconds to finish fifth in the short round but secure the title.

“We really did draw the best three steers you could imagine,” Masters, 43, said. “I was not in winning mode any. I was in catch up, catch the steer, let Wyatt throw fast if he wanted to, and if he didn’t want to, that’s OK. But he did every time. When you draw three good steers and your heeler throws on the corner, it speeds you up. The fourth steer was tricky, but we did get by him, too.”


Chad Masters and Wyatt Cox conquered four steers on the Red Bluff Roundup’s long score for the 2024 win 🏆 They roped four in 29.3 seconds and pulled a check in every single round, pocketing them $9,042 a man. And did we mention Masters was riding a new horse AND Cox was on his backup?! We’ll have the full details on their win at the #linkinbio shortly, thanks to @resistol1927. #teamroping #redbluffroundup #calirun #calirodeos

♬ Wolves – KAAZE & Sam Tinnesz

The Red Bluff Round-Up team roping win was a watershed moment in California heeler Cox’s partnership with the two-time World Champ Masters after pairing up at the start of 2024.

“I have always been a Chad believer,” Cox said. “I always believed in what he does with horses, his scoring, his wild theories, you never know. But him and I got to getting along right off the bat, back in my rookie year. He’s helped coach and mentor me through my career. When I was stuck, I’d give him a call. When I wanted to go home, he’d talk me into sticking it out. Now, he talks like he’s thinking about retiring in the next handful of years. I know how he is—he’s a competitor and you can’t take that out of him. If we’re knocking them dead, he won’t walk away. We’ve talked quite a bit about it, and he said he only has a handful of years left, and I told him I wanted to ride it out until he doesn’t want to go anymore.”

Masters, who missed the Finals in 2023, is 19th in the PRCA world standings with $25,470.16 won as of April 22. Cox—a former Reno BFI Open Champion with Kolton Schmidt—is 15th with $29,091.71. Cox has finished as high as 22nd in the PRCA world standings since buying his card in 2014, having amassed $344,627 in career earnings at the ProRodeos.

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Chad Masters’ Red-Bluff-Winning Horsepower

Masters, who’s long trained his own horses, committed to not retiring just yet, buying a 17-year-old winner of a Paint gelding he calls Pinto with jet fuel running through his earlier this spring.

“He came from Mason Rust, and that’s been his horse for a long time,” Masters explained. “I’ve tried to buy him ever since Mason was young. I think a lot of other people have as well, but I’ve been trying since Mason was 14 years old. I have horses I think are good, and I have horses I think will be good. But it’s different than a proven one you can go win on. He fits me.”

The gelding is registered as SS Speedy Me, by the APHA stallion Scenics Symbol, out of the Quarter Horse mare Speedy Darlin by the famed racehorse sire Sixarun.

“This horse has nothing to do with me except Mason was nice enough to sell him to me,” Masters laughed. “I roped five steers on him and bought him. It made me sick not to have a horse. It was the point I needed to ante up or stay home.”

Wyatt Cox’s Second-Stringer Comes Through

Cox made up his mind to swap to his younger, second-string gelding he calls Snake for the spring run in California on the long scores behind Masters.

Wyatt Cox Horse with Traffic Cone on Foot
“Snake’s scared to death of orange cones, so I took this picture right before he tore the fence in front of him down,” Cox laughed. | Courtesy Wyatt Cox

“He fits this run behind the Paint horse,” Cox said. “Chad’s horse puts a lot of action on those steers. They’re hoping big, but there’s no stall on the corner. I have Max, my old horse, and I rode him behind a lot of reachers. Behind those guys, the steers die off in the turn, and they stall, and he eats them up. But when they move out through the turn, he’s slowing down and puts distance between me and the cow. It forces me to take a funny throw. Snake runs a lot harder and pushes through the turn. That’s the run we’re looking for. Snake maybe has more wheels, maybe is shorter strided. Snake moves his feet and is a freak athlete. It makes it easier when he sorts the corner out for you.”

Registered as Bognudas Chicsplayin, Snake is 11 and came from California breeders Roy and Cheryl Bognuda. He’s by their stud, Bognudas Chic Olena, out of the Badger Starlight mare Lucky Lil Starlight. Bognudas gave him to Cox as a yearling, and 10 years in, Cox hasn’t quite worked out all the quirks.

“I don’t want him around kids much,” Cox laughed. “I named him Snake for a reason. He’s a puppy dog on his back, but on the ground he’s watchy.”

More to It Than Just Team Roping

For Masters, having a partner like Cox is essential for this stage of his career—a career that’s seen $2.7 million in earnings, 15 NFR qualifications (2003-04, 2006-12, 2015, 2017-2020, 2022), two world titles (2007, 2012) and three NFR average titles (2006, 2012, 2017). Masters now has a wife, Kylee, and three kids—Coy, 3.5, Rye, 2, and Hardy, 8 months—and he’s got very little, if anything, left to prove.

“I’d love to make [the Finals] a couple more times,” Masters confessed. “I tell everyone I have one more year, every year. But the think I mean 10. But this time I actually mean a couple. I am so excited to rope with Wyatt—I just hope I can do my job and turn him good steers. It ain’t fun messing up any more. I don’t have to go—but I’m very excited to go—but I’ve learned my lesson: I don’t have to go if it ain’t going good. Wyatt’s going to go either way—he needs to, he deserves to, he’s good enough. I just hope I can keep turning him enough steers.

“Wyatt throws fast, he’s a good boy, he’s easy,” Masters added. “He ropes good. Wyatt is laid back enough to understand how much try I have—and I don’t want this to come off like I’m not trying, because I am. But with roping lessons, kids, horses I want to show, I can’t put in 50 steers a day like I used to. But there’s spots for us to do good at. He knows the days I’m having good days and the days I’m having bad days. If we’re practicing and we should try again tomorrow, he gets it.”

Cox agrees—he doesn’t mind the pace his partner likes to keep in the roping pen. And his goals for their partnership? Well they’re a little bit bigger than Masters’, and he reveals a little more of his often tight-lipped-partner’s motivations.

“He’s got high expectations, and I’m aware of that,” Cox revealed. “The Finals is where we’re headed, and he wants more world titles. That doesn’t happen overnight—he wants four gold buckles—he’s talking crazy, and I’m in.”

The pace of their practices might be slower, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less efficient. Masters’ veteran wisdom has helped him build a run with Cox that fits both strengths, and they’re comfortable breaking down any challenges they’ve faced, too.

“We practiced, maybe not a ton, but we practiced three days a week at his place before we went anywhere,” Cox said. “We always work at it. We’ve explored all avenues, all his different horses, what our strengths were. We’ve built something cool with this new horse he’s got—it’s opened a lot of doors. It takes some pressure off—his horse, first of all, the speed, oh my gosh. He hauls butt. That opens a lot of doors. We showed up at Red Bluff, and with the cattle there, and the long start—2-and-a-half-feet over— it’s a horse-race game. That horse was hauling butt. To win the rodeo, we win $9,000 and he didn’t even reach a coil. He was running all the way to them, swinging over them. We placed in every round, even the short round. And he never reached a coil. You don’t get to do that very often. The way that horse pushes through the turn—it has a lot to do with how Chad rides them—but the hops are slow motion in the corner… What we ran into—even just at Logandale—is that Chad handles the steer so well, that I was seeing the shot too soon. I was throwing before my horse was setup and the steer was setup. I had to slow my deal down to try to keep us in the rodeo from taking silly shots.”

Masters is calculated, and he and Cox have set goals for most of 2024 to just get to the Finals. Just cracking out over the Fourth-of-July run and going on a tear for a couple months to make the NFR is barely doable anymore, and Masters isn’t taking chances. While lots of perennial world title contenders skip the California run, Masters has all three kids and Kylee in his toterhome heading up and down the West Coast to give himself and Cox the best possible chance heading into the summer run.

“I’ve got to have money won before July,” Masters said. “So if everything goes right, and we can hit the right numbers before the summer—me and Trey hit every goal we set all year and still didn’t make it because it just takes so much to make it now—we are giving ourselves a shot.”

Full Red Bluff Round-Up Team Roping Results

First round: 1. Jake Smith/Douglas Rich, 6.9 seconds, $2,272 each; 2. Dawson Graham/Dillon Graham, 7.0, $1,976; 3. (tie) Cash Duty/Clay Green and Chase Helton/Spencer Mitchell, 7.1, $1,531 each; 5. (tie) Chad Masters/Wyatt Cox and Hagen Peterson/Chase Tryan, 7.7, $939 each; 7. (tie) Ryan Bettencourt/Trey Dawg White, Bodie Mattson/Trae Smith and Dallas Owen/Dylan Dishion, 7.8, $231 each. 

Second round: 1. Derrick Begay/Colter Todd, 5.5 seconds, $2,272 each; 2. (tie) Luke Brown/Travis Graves and Jack Graham/Jordan Ketscher, 6.5, $1,828 each; 4. Chad Masters/Wyatt Cox, 6.6, $1,383; 5. Brayden Schmidt/Denton Dunning, 6.7, $1,087; 6. Choc Westcott/Clinton Groff, 6.8, $790; 7. Dawson Graham/Dillon Graham, 6.9, $494; 8. Brye Crites/Tyler Worley, 7.0, $198. 

Third round: 1. Chase Helton/Spencer Mitchell, 6.6 seconds, $2,272 each; 2. (tie) Brye Crites/Tyler Worley and Chad Masters/Wyatt Cox, 6.9, $1,828 each; 4. Chet Weitz/Clay Futrell, 7.4, $1,383; 5. Devon McDaniel/Walt Woodard, 7.5, $1,087; 6. Luke Brown/Travis Graves, 8.2, $790; 7. Hayes Smith/Justin Davis, 8.3, $494; 8. Derrick Begay/Colter Todd, 8.6, $198. Finals: 1. Dawson Graham/Dillon Graham, 6.2 seconds, $1,117 each; 2. Jake Smith/Douglas Rich, 7.0, $924; 3. Hayes Smith/Justin Davis, 7.2, $732; 4. Chet Weitz/Clay Futrell, 7.4, $539; 5. Chad Masters/Wyatt Cox, 8.1, $347; 6. Chase Helton/Spencer Mitchell, 8.9, $193. 

Average: 1. Chad Masters/Wyatt Cox, 29.3 seconds on four head, $4,545 each; 2. Jake Smith/Douglas Rich, 30.2, $3,952; 3. Chet Weitz/Clay Futrell, 32.3, $3,359; 4. Dawson Graham/Dillon Graham, 33.8, $2,766; 5. Luke Brown/Travis Graves, 35.5, $2,174; 6. (tie) Hayes Smith/Justin Davis and Chase Helton/Spencer Mitchell, 35.6, $1,284 each; 8. Derrick Begay/Colter Todd, 40.8, $395.


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