the kids

Conley Kleinhans and Brant Cookston Win 2024 WCRA Rodeo Corpus Christi DY Showcase
Conley Kleinhans and Brant Cookston pocketed $2,000 for the 2024 WCRA Rodeo Corpus Christi DY Showcase win May 7.
Conley Kleinhans and Brant Cookston with their WCRA Rodeo Corpus Christi boogie boards. | Courtesy WCRA by Bull Stock Media

Conley Kleinhans and Brant Cookston have figured out their run together over the last year, now taking home the 2024 CEAT Specialty WCRA Rodeo Corpus Christi DY Showcase win May 7, with a 5.4-second run for $2,000.

The reigning Yeti Junior World Finals Open champions first met at a Yeti Junior World Finals qualifier in 2023 and have been roping together since.

“We roped a little bit throughout the summer, and then we roped together at the Junior World Finals in Vegas,” Cookston, 16, from Trinidad, Texas, said. “Ever since then he’s been my go-to header.”

As the last team out in Corpus Christi, Kleinhans and Cookston knew they had to be fast to take the lead.

“I didn’t really have a game plan,” admitted 18-year-old Kleinhans. “I was just going to see how it played out becuase we were last out and knew what we needed to be. It ended up working out.”

Cookston credits Kleinhans for setting up the run.

“Conley did a real good job of staying a straight, and that arena was real small,” Cookston explained. “He really came out and rode to the pen a little more than he normally would to get that steer roped and give me a little bit more time to heel him. I rode around the corner and didn’t really want to do nothing crazy because I didn’t want stuff to go south in that little bitty pen. I just try to keep everything smooth and tight so we can be faster.”

Kleinhans, the 2023 WCRA DY junior team roping world champion header, rode a gelding he calls Mixer.

“I got him from Jake Smith right around a year ago,” Kleinhans said. “Last year was actually the first place I took him, and I won the DY [showcase] there last year on him, too. He’s a sweet horse; he always gives me his all and I know I can trust him.”

Cookston rode a 10-year-old gelding he calls Malibu that he just recently bought and had only one other outing together prior to the DY Showcase.

“I took him last night because the little sorrel mare that I normally ride, I just sold her, and so I figured I’d take him down there,” Cookston said. “That was our first rodeo together, and he did really well. He stood in the box perfect and just squared up and gave me a real good shot.”

Kleinhans and Cookston have both been to multiple WCRA DY events, like the World Championship Junior Rodeo (WCJR) and the Stampede at The E. The opportunities they provide are top-notch.

“I like going to the DY showcases because there’s only eight teams in them and it pays good,” Cookston said. “I just think that that’s a real good deal for youth rodeo, being able to go and rope at the big shows.”

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