What better way to kick off the winter rodeo season than a little five-figure pre-Christmas payday at the Cowtown Coliseum?
Affectionately known by locals as “Northside,” the historic rodeo arena in the famous Fort Worth Stockyards will host the final Major of the WCRA season, dubbed “Cowtown Christmas” on Dec. 15-18 at 7:30 p.m. nightly. There are no entry fees and the rodeo will pay more than $360,000 cash including $40,000 guaranteed per event. Competitions can still be nominated until November 28.
Only the top 24 in WCRA points can enter, so the roster at the head end looks like it’ll be world champs Erich Rogers and Colby Lovell plus powerhouses Luke Brown, Kaleb Driggers, Clint Summers, Cody Snow, Lane Ivy and Garrett Tonnozzi. Some would say this rodeo was made for Driggers, who has won the tournament-style American rodeo no less than three times and won a Major in Corpus Christi this spring already.
But nobody has more financial incentive to win this one than Tanner Green. The 23-year-old horn-roping son of NFR heeler Chris Green was the champ at the last Major in Salt Lake City. There in July, Green and Will Woodfin won the team roping, which means Green—if he can win in Fort Worth—would be eligible for the WCRA’s Triple Crown bonus of $1 million for winning three majors in a row.
“I kind of got Will out of retirement for Salt Lake, and I guess he went right back into retirement,” joked Green, who will head in Fort Worth for longtime friend Whit Kitchens, just 21. “I’ve been heading for my little brother this year at rodeos, but he didn’t have any points, so I texted Whit.”
The boys have won plenty of jackpots together, and Green obviously knows how to get it done under sudden-death conditions. The art of winning a team roping tournament is to just keep progressing, he said, and not think you need to win every round.
“I mainly just try to catch steers as fast as they’ll let me, until you get in to the final round, and that’s when you let it all hang out and go as fast as you can,” he said.
Green’s favorite thing about any WCRA Major is the payout. He and Woodfin took home $26,200 for their 5.08-second winning run. And he says it’s pretty cheap to nominate yourself in.
“To get to Salt Lake, I just nominated Red Bluff and Clovis,” he recalled. “And all I did to get in to Fort Worth was nominate Salt Lake, and then watch the leaderboard and make sure I didn’t need any more points to stay in the top 24.”
Green is considering borrowing a better short-score horse than what he has currently, and said he doesn’t love roping at Northside.
“It’s pretty hard to head in there,” he said. “But a lot of places are hard. It won’t be a big deal as long as they keep the barrier short, and they always do.”
Green plans to keep spinning steers at Texas circuit rodeos this winter for his brother Caleb, 18, but may stick to tie-down roping this summer, plus a little steer roping (keeping to the all-around ways of his legendary grandfather Phil Lyne).