Mother Nature tried to steal the early headlines from the 2022 RAM Turquoise Circuit Finals Rodeo held Nov. 4–5, in Camp Verde, Arizona, after a winter storm blew through, dumping snow and rain on the Camp Verde Equestrian Center just prior to the rodeo.
But the competition was plenty hot, and the cowboys made sure to snag the headlines with a breakthrough win for Eddie Hawley, Jr., and Myles John in the average of the team roping. Meanwhile, Josh Siggins earned his first championship on the head side, while Colter Todd pulled out a slim victory for the heelers for the year-end title.
Serendipity: Reunion Leads to Circuit Finals Rodeo Title
Eddie Hawley, Jr., and Myles John have roped together a lot over the years with more than a fair share of success. In addition to a couple of appearances at the TCFR, the pair has roped two World Championships at the Indian National Finals Rodeo in back-to-back years in 2018 and 2019.
But Hawley and John decided to rope with other partners in 2022. Hawley paired up with Ty Romo and Clint Harry during the regular season, while John roped with Kesley Phillips.
But when the time came to enter the 2022 TCFR, Romo, Harry and Phillips were all outside the top 12, leaving the former partners to team back up for a reunion tour.
Call it serendipity.
After pulling tight on three steers in 21.4 seconds, Hawley and John scored the first ever circuit finals rodeo victories of their careers and banked $3,508.
“The last couple of years, it seemed like we kind of beat ourselves, so the biggest thing was to rope smart but stay aggressive,” noted Hawley, 38. “We were aiming for the average from the start. We didn’t really have a shot to catch those guys for the year-end, so that was our goal.”
“I don’t know that we really had a game plan, just go catch three,” said John, 28. “Before the Circuit Finals, I was kinda having a hard time, dealing with some self-doubt and just wanted to go there and rope good.”
John relied on his good heel horse, Lady—a mare he got when she was 3, and he now estimates her age around 21.
“Every win, every check I’ve won, everything I can think of, has come on her,” he said. “She’s so good to me and I’m just thankful for her.”
Meanwhile, Hawley recently had to replace his No. 1 horse, and did so with a palomino called Sid that came from his friend Josh Anderson.
“This was the first year I rode this horse,” he explained. “My first year without my old faithful and it was nice to have success, to be able to go from one great horse to another one that’s high caliber.”
The TCFR kicked off on a very cold Friday night. With an outdoor venue, and contestants more accustomed to warmer desert temps, the chill caught everyone off guard.
“I wasn’t prepared for that kind of cold,” admitted John, who lives in Indian Wells, Arizona. “I kept blowing on my hands to try to keep them warm.”
For Hawley, it reminded him of his childhood growing up in Montana.
“It was freezing cold,” the Surprise, Arizona, resident said. “I looked at my wife and said, ‘I think we made the Montana Circuit Finals not the Turquoise!’
“Arizonans are so soft,” he continued, jokingly. “We’re just spoiled.”
Despite some adversity, Hawley and John placed on both of their first two steers, sharing fourth with a 7.8 in Round 1 and fourth outright with 7.4 on the second. That left them second high call on the final night.
On their last run, the pair went 6.2 seconds. It was their fastest run of the week but the first that failed to draw a round check. When the high call team took a no time, Hawley and John took the title by a staggering 14.0 seconds.
“I was so happy that night,” John admitted. “It was a big accomplishment for me.”
Both cowboys were able to celebrate the big win with family. Hawley’s wife Brittney was there along with their two girls, Rylee (7) and Ellie (5), while John had a large contingent of sisters, cousins, nieces and nephews, all led by his mother, Marilyn John.
Hawley and John have now punched their tickets for next July’s NFR Open powered by RAM, and both are getting a second chance to compete at the national championship event of ProRodeo’s circuit system.
Hawley competed at what was then known as the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo in 2017 after winning the year-end championship for the Turquoise Circuit. Roping with Ty Romo, he advanced all the way to the final-four round.
“That’s the round where they crown the champion,” he explained, then noting wryly, “I missed. I’ve definitely been wanting to get back; get some redemption.”
The NFR Open accepts only two teams from each circuit, the year-end champions and the circuit finals winners.
“I’m fully aware of the awesome payout and limited number of teams,” Hawley added.
John competed in the RNCFR in 2019, roping with Tanner Baldwin.
“It was pretty fun,” he said. “I’m pretty excited. The first time, I placed in a round and my partner has some unfinished business there. It’s a lot of money to rope for in one little spot.”
Hawley is the epitome of why the circuit system is so important to ProRodeo. He works full time for Schofield Civil Construction as a project manager. He is also busy with his girls, who are following their mother’s footsteps into barrel racing.
“I try to get them to rope the dummy and sometimes they’ll lead steer with me,” he said, chuckling at the ‘fight’ with their mother over which rodeo events the girls will do. “They might turn out to be ropers yet.
“Rodeo is just what I get to do on the weekend,” Hawley continued. “Being able to go to the circuit rodeos, the Indian rodeos and a few “ammies,” that’s the perfect setup for me. Going to the NFR Open… that’s my NFR.”
Conversely, John is looking to rodeo full time in the future and make a run at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. In the meantime, he helps his family with their business supplying cattle for local ropings.
“I help with that when I’m home,” he said. “It’s fun. You can enter and win some and get paid for having the cattle, so it’s double income.”
Though in different places in their roping aspirations, both men have a support system that means the world to them.
“I am blessed to have the family support, the support from friends,” Hawley said. “To get to rope with good partners on good horses—I am just blessed.”
John, meanwhile, has already put his Turquoise Circuit Finals Rodeo Champion buckle in his mom’s house.
“My mom has been my biggest supporter throughout my whole life,” he said. “She worked two jobs so that I could rope and rodeo. I didn’t realize what she was doing until a few years ago. I’m really thankful for her. If not for her, none of this would be possible.”
Split Decision: Siggins and Todd claim Year-End Championships
Florence, Arizona’s Josh Siggins earned his first-ever circuit championship this season, but the win came with mixed emotions.
“It’s awesome to win but I’m bummed we didn’t win together,” Siggins, 32, said of his regular season partner, 2022 Resistol Rookie of the Year Junior Zambrano.
“I’ve roped with him since he was 14 years old,” Siggins noted. “We got started [at the ProRodeos] when he got his permit while he was rodeoing for [Central Arizona College.]”
“We didn’t win first a lot, but we placed along the way,” Siggins said, though they won the circuit’s biggest rodeo in Tucson. “I didn’t really rope that good but just hit at the right places. He roped phenomenal; maybe roped one or two legs and missed one or two all year.”
The duo entered the Turquoise Circuit Finals with the lead but fell into a hole after the first round.
“I missed the first one,” Siggins said. “I knew we needed to win something…. I had a pretty good lead, but he was just barely ahead.”
After hitting a handful of rodeos with his brother Lane and with Bruce Reidhead, while Zambrano was rodeoing in the Northwest at the close of the season, Siggins came in with about $3,500 over Derrick Begay. Zambrano was clinging to a lead of just about $700 over James Gililland.
Siggins and Zambrano battled back on the second day, earning third in the second round and fourth in the super tough final go with a 4.8.
“I didn’t know how close it was, but knew we needed to place in that last round to have a chance,” Siggins noted.
While Siggins earned the title for headers with $17,454, Zambrano finished second behind Colter Todd’s $14,128 by just $258.
Todd was loading up to leave Camp Verde following the team roping on the final night when Zambrano came to congratulate him.
“It was kind of a shocker. I didn’t even know I had a chance after we missed our first one,” said Todd, 38. “When Junior came up to congratulate me, I had to do the math. It was crazy; even then, I wasn’t sure.”
Todd and regular season partner Begay took the no-time in Round 1, but rebounded with a pair of go-round wins to finish the rodeo. Their 4.7- and 4.0-second runs allowed them to slide into fourth in the average, worth a $702 check that made the difference in the year-end race.
“We weren’t thinking; that’s what I like about heeling: you go as fast as you can,” Todd joked of the team’s Circuit Finals strategy. “He missed the first one and we never talked about it.
“The second round, we had the best steer in the herd, and we just tried to win as much as we could with what we had left,” Todd continued. “The third round got fast. There was a 4.1, then a 4.3, so I thought, ‘OK, expect fast.’”
What he did not expect was to pick up any average money.
“There were five teams with two steers caught going into that final round,” he said. “Then the high-call team, he had him caught and the steer got out of it. Dang, I know what that’s like, and I was sick for them. So, we ended up with an average check on two, which is crazy and isn’t supposed to happen.”
The title is Todd’s second circuit championship. The first came back in the earliest days of his ProRodeo career—in 2004, and in the Great Lakes Circuit. That title was also for heading, the same side he roped for three trips to the Wrangler NFR.
“All through high school, I heeled,” Todd said with a shrug, though, he actually won the Arizona High School Rodeo Association championship on the back end. “Now everybody thinks all I am is a header but, really, I’m neither. I’m just a team roper.”
For the past 14 years, Todd has been a rancher and husband and father after he famously left the rodeo road while still on top.
“I don’t know,” he said, laughing, when asked how Begay convinced him to leave his Willcox, Arizona, ranch and go rodeoing. “It was meant to be, I guess.”
Begay and Todd have roped at some circuit rodeos in the last few years (Todd has kept up his PRCA membership so he can pick up here and there). In 2022, the duo clinched a big early win in San Angelo and rodeoed down to the wire in September. Todd landed 36th in the PRCA World Standings and nearly helped Begay qualify to the Wrangler NFR. He finished 17th.
“We’re really good friends and he called me needing a run,” Todd said. “I don’t know how to explain it, but I ran it by my crew and they said, ‘You got to go.”
Todd’s wife, Carly, daughter Madilyn (17) sons Colter Lee (14) and Traven (13) were heavily involved in his decision.
“God took care of it,” Todd added. “It rained a lot this summer and there were no critical things at home. My family was doing alright, and we actually won. I didn’t totally feel like a fish out of water.”
Todd and his family have always been known for their spirituality, something they relied heavily upon following the sudden loss of his mother, champion circuit barrel racer Lori Todd, in 2020.
“Mom’s deal knocked us back quite a bit,” Todd admitted. “Made us reevaluate and realize we’re really not in charge of much. So, I try to take things in stride and enjoy the moment. Let God lead and guide me.”
Now, Siggins and Todd will pair up for next summer’s NFR Open.
“He’s a phenomenal run,” Siggins said. “I’m excited to go rope with him but I warned him, he better be ready to throw fast because I don’t go as fast as Derrick!”
“It’s always intriguing to go see what it’s all about if you get the opportunity with new formats,” Todd said. “It’s going to be exciting.”
Siggins won’t be heading out on the road full time with Zambrano next season. He has a full-time job with CNR Enterprises and Chad Graves, working on things like railroad derailments and washouts. In fact, he left the Circuit Finals and went straight to work on Sunday morning, staying on the job for several days without a break.
“We’ll go to the bigger ones, and we’ve already got a spot into The American,” Siggins said. “If we win, we’ll go a little bit more. If not, I’m not trying to make the Finals. I’ve got a good job; they take care of me and I try to take care of them. I leave after work on Thursday, and I’ll drive all night to get back to work on Monday morning if I have to.”
Todd is leaving his 2023 options open and waiting to see if his text messages ding with a confirmation of rodeo entry from PROCOM indicating Begay has them entered up.
“We haven’t talked about it. It would be fun, but I have priorities here at home, too,” he said.
Madilyn is an up-and-coming star in the barrel racing and the boys enjoy some junior rodeoing, including steer saddle broncs and cowboying around the ranch with dad.
“I don’t want to miss their lives at this stage,” he said. “I had a lot of fun this year, getting out there and seeing what has changed and what hasn’t. But I am glad I was where I was the last 14 years.”
Family played a big role for Siggins’ championship, too. His in-laws, Craig and Pam Elwood, own his good horse JB, but there’s more to the story.
“We owned him about six years ago and my dad sold him to Joseph Parsons,” Siggins explained.
Knowing that Siggins wished he had the horse back, the Elwoods negotiated to buy him from Parsons and gave him to Siggins as a wedding gift when he married their daughter, Hannah, in May 2021.
“They have helped me all year. Whatever I need, they are there 110% and I couldn’t do it without them,” he said. “When I get that saddle [for winning the circuit], it’s going up in their house.”
The rest of his family has been huge for him, too.
“My dad and mom, my stepmom. They’ve all been there for me,” he said. “And my wife, to step up like she did this year is just crazy. She’s been there for the highs and lows. She’s talked me out of cutting up all my ropes when I’ve done bad, and she’s cried on the phone with me when I’ve won. She’s my rock every day. I couldn’t do this without her.”