YAHTZEE!

Driggers’ Greats Yahtzee and Gangster STILL Going Strong at 2024 Women’s Rodeo World Championship with DeSalvo, Francis & Webb
The horsepower at the WRWC is top-notch.
Yahtzee Madison Webb
Madison Webb prepares to run her first steer on Yahtzee at the 2024 WRWC in Cowtown Coliseum. | TRJ File Photo

Kaleb Driggers put 2004 gelding Bar Z Nickel Olena on the map (or maybe it was the other way around?) in 2014 when they exploded onto the scene and won the first-ever American Rodeo $100,000 payday.

And a decade later, “Yahtzee” is still going strong—once again trying to get back into AT&T Stadium, where he won his first massive payday with Driggers. But this time, he’s appearing at the Women’s Rodeo World Championship with Whitney DeSalvo and Madison Webb, who are vying for the heading titles on Yahtzee.

To kick off the week, Webb, on Yahtzee, has the first steer down with Kennlee Tate in 8.52 to win second in Round 1 of the Challenger division of the WRWC team roping and $1,000 per roper. An hour later, DeSalvo hopped on him to make a 6.12-second run in the Pro division with Kelsie Domer, winning the Pro Division and $2,500 each.

With both ladies placing first and second on Yahtzee, that guarantees the horse two runs in the semifinals Wednesday, May 15.

But that’s not all—just two years ago, Driggers set the arena record on a bay gelding named “Gangster” at Belle Fourche, South Dakota, over his record-setting Fourth of July run with Junior Nogueira. That horse—registered as Stylakid—is 19 now, with wolfie header Kenna Francis in the saddle in the Cowtown Coliseum May 13, 2024. Francis headed for DeSalvo in Round 1 to win $500 per side for third in the day money with a 7.14-second run.

How Does the WRWC Work, Who’s Roping and What’s the Schedule?

Origin Stories

Yahtzee WRWC
Yahtzee, 20, is meticulously maintained to stay in shape for events like the 2024 WRWC in Cowtown Coliseum. | TRJ File Photo

Both horses have a win record a mile long. Yahtzee first got the Open-level call under Trevor Brazile, who bought the horse from Leon Labrier, of Canyon, Texas. Doug Clark, the NFR calf roper from Wayne, Oklahoma, was selling him, and billed him as both a head and heel horse. 

“He was a heel horse mainly, but I went to heading on him,” Brazile said. “He always wanted to score good. Any head horse, the reason they’re in my barn, is that’s what I liked about them first.”

Businessman and eventual Cheyenne champion header Brandon Webb bought the horse from Brazile, but he sold him to Driggers before The American in 2014 when Driggers was heading for Patrick Smith.

Kaleb Driggers Yahtzee
Kaleb Driggers winning The American in 2014 on Bar Z Nickel Olena. | Gabe Wolf Photo

Driggers sold Yahtzee to Dustin Bird in 2015, and Bird dominated the small building rodeos on the horse in Canada. Bird rode Yahtzee at the NFR in 2016 where he won Round 8, and again in 2017 when he won Round 2. But with Bird’s second son Sampson on the way, Bird was ready to taper down his rodeo schedule, and Yahtzee ended up back with Driggers.

“I hardly ever sell horses,” Bird said. “They usually just stay around my place. I didn’t want to sell him, but I didn’t want to see him going to waste, either, because he has so much left.”

Driggers and Nogueira won Round 9 in 2019, Yahtzee’s last NFR go-round win. | Kirt Steinke Photo

Driggers rode Yahtzee much of the year in 2018, riding him at the NFR to win second in the average and place in seven out of 10 go-rounds, finishing the year second in the world. He rode him again in 2019, winning Round 9 with a 3.6 second run.

BFI Champion and one of Driggers’ best friends Chris Francis needed a horse that next year, so he bought him in 2020. Yahtzee pulled double duty, helping Chris’s wife Kenna place at the BFI All-Girl Championship in Guthrie, and helping Chris do the leg work at some of the shorter setups in the PRCA.

Now 20, Yahtzee gets pulled out for the big jobs‚ like the WRWC, which will pay $60,000 per roper to the champs in the heading, heeling, breakaway and barrel race, with big checks getting cashed all week long throughout the qualifying rounds. But when he’s done with Webb, he’ll have to come back to Las Vegas, New Mexico to be Karstyn Francis’s head horse.

As for Gangster, he went to Cory Kidd before getting sent to semi-retirement with the Francis family. Driggers didn’t want the horse to hit the road hard even though he had a ton left, so the plan was for him to be Kenna’s World Series horse.

Chris likes Gangster a tick better, though, so he did get to crack him out at Guymon, Oklahoma’s Pioneer Days in early May. But he’s so easy to rope on in every setup, Kenna stole him back for Cowtown.

“Gangster never gets quick,” Chris Francis. “Any girl there could get on him and ride him, and any pro header could get on him and go fast on him. And the girl could get on him right after the pro goes 3 on him.”

TRJ—

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