Two-time Mountain States Circuit champion Cullen Teller, from Ault, Colorado, made big money moves in the Mountain States Circuit after he and his partner and header Rhett Anderson added $10,666 to their earnings, moving him to the No. 1 position in the Mountain States Circuit heeling standings, unofficially.
They were the co-champions at the Central Wyoming Fair & PRCA Rodeo in Casper Wyoming with a time of 8.4 seconds on two head, worth $4,427 a man; tied for seconds in the first round with a 4.3-second run, worth $2,128 a man; won the final round with a 4.3-second run, worth $1,450 a man and won the Cattlemen’s Days Inc. Rodeo in Gunnison, Colorado, with 4.0-second run, worth $2,661 a man.
Casey Allen: Let’s talk about your big wins last week. In total, you won $10,666 each. How does it feel winning that much in one week?
Cullen Teller: Last week was a blessing. That’s one of the bigger weeks we’ve had. There’s no better time to do it now than with those rodeos. There’s 90 teams at them—you’ve got to draw good and you’ve got to max them out. Rhett did good. He scored great and got the horns. It’s just an unbelievable feeling.
More wins with Cullen Teller: Van Aken and Teller Win Rapid City
CA: You just moved up to No. 1 in the Mountain States Circuit standings, unofficially. How important is that money to you for the circuit standings?
CT: Oh, that was such a huge week. Especially because all of the circuit standings money counts towards world standings, and at the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo there’s only 24 teams and a guy can win so much money there. That makes those circuit rodeos even more important.
CA: Does it help having big money rodeos in your circuit?
CT: Oh yeah, the Mountain States Circuit is a great one. Sheridan (Wyoming), Casper (Wyoming), you know, there’s great rodeos. That’s what turns a guy’s summer around, when you get a big hit like that.
CA: What are your goals for 2021?
CT: My original plan is to make the NFR. That’s always the goal. You get setbacks and sometimes you feel like you’re going two steps backwards, but it’s always the main goal. Some years things come together better than others. I’ve never made it; I’m still learning.
CA: I see you are a two-time and reigning Mountain States Circuit champion. Do you have any advice for those who aspire to succeed at the circuit level?
CT: Especially with our circuit rodeos, you have to rope the steers at face value. If you draw a loper you can try to win first or second and make a good run on him, but sometimes you don’t draw the best. You can still place on him, but just make sure you catch a lot of steers and give yourself a chance. You don’t know what’s gonna happen at the rodeos. I’ve seen guys fall apart and they place with a leg. In the mental aspect of it, you’ve got to stay positive through all of the ups and downs. I’m still learning that as well. That will never end.
CA: Do you see a lot of circuit guys get starstruck when the big names come up to your circuit for their summer runs?
CT: Absolutely. It’s very easy to. Still, it’s unreal to be competing with all of the guys I’ve watched on TV. I was the same way when I first started going. Then, you get to going and hanging out with them all. They’re great people. It is hard not to get starstruck. You can’t be afraid to ask questions. They’ll all talk to you and help you out. Everybody is out here to help each other.
CA: Do you ask anybody especially for advice?
CT: For the past few weeks our buddy team has been Quinn Kesler and Caleb Hendrix. Caleb heels great and Quinn has made the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo twice heeling, but he heads. I’m just around them every day and they give me a lot of advice. You get to talking to everybody, they all try to help.
CA: The 2021 rodeo season looks a lot different than 2020. Can you talk to me about what those differences are to you personally? Has it changed your perspective on rodeo at all?
CT: I’m glad all of the big rodeos are back this year. It’s great to be able to run for that kind of money every few days. In 2020 we found ourselves going to a lot of smaller rodeos. It’s what we do for a living, so we had to go somewhere. We found ourselves going to a lot of places that we’ve never been to, and a lot of those we will never go back to. It was a great experience and made us appreciate these rodeos.
CA: What horse were you on?
CT: I was on Lollipop, she is a 9-year-old sorrel mare. I have owned her since she was 2. She’s awesome. She’s easy to ride. She won’t run by. I never find myself in a bad spot. She just gets out of my way and lets me do my job.
CA: Wasn’t Lollipop sick last year? How has her journey back been?
CT: Yes, she had pneumonia last year. I couldn’t ride her for a couple months and I didn’t know if she was going to make it. I couldn’t ride her at the end of the year or at circuit finals. My vet at Jergens Equine did an unbelievable job keeping her going. They took great care of her. I gave her some more time off through the winter and started bringing her back during the winter rodeos. She’s been great ever since and gives it her all.
CA: Tell me about your partnership with Rhett Anderson.
CT: We started together last summer during Dodge City (Kansas) week. We’re actually done roping together after Cheyenne. I am going to rope with Kal Fuller (2019 Resistol Rookie Header of the Year) starting at Dodge City. Rhett and I are still great friends, we’re just going to switch it up. Rhett’s a great guy and a great partner.
CA: What is your favorite circuit rodeo?
CT: Cheyenne (Wyoming) doesn’t count for circuit standings this year, but it is my favorite. There’s big money, great people, and a big crowd. It’s one of the best rodeos. As far as rodeos that count for circuit standings, I like Sheridan. They have those Indian Relay Races and they’re pretty rank. It’s a must see. There’s really a lot of good rodeos in our circuit.