Top 5 Lay of the Land
New Jersey’s Tyler Mota—the actual Lone Ranger in a sea of heading Texans—started the season in the No. 1 Resistol Jr. position with 28 points, earned entirely at May’s Virginia Championships.
Just 4 points behind is Hegan Burton with 24 points won at the West Texas Championship in early June—the same event where No. 3 header Rey Rey Ruiz earned his 20 points.
Ruiz holds a 1-point lead over the No. 4 header Jake Murray. Murray went to work in late May at the Northeast Texas Summer Classic for 19 points, which gives him a 2-point lead on Brody Jackson, who earned his 17 points at the West Texas Championships.
In the heeling, Kelby Frizzell took the No. 1 position with 40 points thanks to a number of productive goes at the West Texas Championship. It’s a great start on the season, but it gives this Texan only a 2-point lead over Alabama’s Brit Smith, with 38 points.
Smith put the heat on at the North Alabama Championships in mid-June to establish a comfortable lead over No. 3 heeler Rey Ruiz—yes, the same Ruiz who occupies the No. 3 heading position.
On the heels, Ruiz initiated his points earnings at May’s Cowboy Capital Classic, where he won 15 points, before earning another 9 points at the West Texas Championships.
Less comfortably, Ruiz shares his heeling spot in a tie with Oklahoma’s Coy Denny. Denny earned the entirety of his 24 points in May, at the Northeast Texas Summer Classic.
Only 4 points behind Ruiz and Denny, Dylan Arnold holds the No. 5 heeler position with 20 points that he earned at his home state’s Virginia Championships.
Tyler Mota, who turns 15 this month, hails from Monroe Township, New Jersey, where it’s not unusual to spy a fellow Mota on the First Frontier ProRodeo Circuit Standings—Jose, 49, and Angel, 19, are ranked 9th with $1,803, as of June 25, 2023.
Angel cleaned up the heels for Tyler in the #12.5 Slide, earning Tyler’s first 9 points with a second-place win. (Of note, the Mota teens also won the #14.5 WSTR Qualifier that day, securing their spot to compete in the Ariat WSTR Finale in December.)
Tyler then took another second place in the #12.5 and put a cap on his successful season start by winning the #11.5. for a full 10 points.
Sterling City, Texan Kelby Frizzell, who turned 17 in July, is beginning the season in similar fashion as his 2022 season—in first.
Last year, though, Frizzell was tied for first and, this year, the spot is all his after taking second place and 9 points in both the #14.5 and the #13.5, which he also took third and 8 points in.
He rounded out his efforts with two fourth-place finishes, worth 7 points, in both the #12.5 and the #11.5.
Very similarly to last year, though, Brit Smith is hot on Frizzell’s heels—whereas 3 points gave Frizzell the edge in 2022, the lead has narrowed by a point in 2023. TRJ
Current USTRC or Key Card/Key Card Max membership is required to participate in the Resistol Junior Champion Program. Earned points begin counting at the time of membership purchase thru the NFTR’s last shootout event. The season begins the Monday after the last USTRC Cinch NFTR event and ends the last day of the next USTRC Cinch NFTR event.
Ropers must enter at least one Shootout division in the USTRC NFTR to be eligible. The award will be announced at the end of the USTRC Cinch National Finals of Team Roping event.
The points breakdowns are as follows: Starting with At Home Challenge Events, ropers will earn 10 points if they win the Challenge. No other points will be awarded. At Signature Events, points will be awarded to those winning an aggregate check. First Place = 10 points, Second = 9 points, and so on as far down as the ropings are paid. During the Cinch NFTR, the placing points are simply doubled. First Place will be 20, second = 18, and so on.