the muleys

Korbin Rice and Caleb Hendrix Crack Out for 2024 Summer with Clovis Rodeo Win
Korbin Rice and Caleb Hendrix won the 2024 Clovis Rodeo to kickstart their 2024 summer partnership.
Korbin Rice and Caleb Hendrix roping a muley to win the 2024 Clovis Rode.
Korbin Rice and Caleb Hendrix winning the 2024 Clovis Rodeo. | Hailey Rae photos

Korbin Rice and Caleb Hendrix won the 2024 Clovis Rodeo, Sunday, April 28, pocketing $10,794 a man to boost Rice to second in the Resistol Rookie of the Year standings and Hendrix to 29th in the PRCA world standings.

Clovis was the team’s third rodeo together as they just recently paired up for the summer. The win comes as a breakout ProRodeo win for Rice, a senior at Tarleton State University.

“It’s definitely my first big PRCA win,” said Hobbs, New Mexico’s, Rice. “It was cool to win that rodeo my first time to California. I don’t know [if they’re] more of my deal, but I like the way they have them set up out there, and it was a lot of fun. It was a good two weeks.”

How to rope muleys on

With Rice’s last college rodeo falling the same week as Clovis, he had no initial intentions of making the spring run. The $5,305 aggregate win has the 22-year-old and Hendrix, 24, thankful he changed his mind. 

“We almost didn’t go, but good thing we did because I won more than I had in the standings right there just out of Clovis,” Hendrix, of Fallon, Nevada, said.

Conquering the muleys

Hendrix, the 2021 Resistol Rookie Heeler of the Year, placed third last year in Clovis, yet felt it wasn’t his best performance. 

“I kind of heeled a little slow and we ended up not winning that much money,” Hendrix said of his go last year. “So, this year I had the attitude that I needed to get it down there a little faster.”

Rice and Hendrix got right to work in Clovis, splitting the first round with a 6.3 for $2,480 each and winning the second with a 7.0 for $2,653 a man. Two round wins and $5,133 a piece set them up nicely for the third round and, despite being off the barrier and out of the round money with a 9.9 in Round 3, Rice and Hendrix were sitting pretty heading into Sunday’s short round high call.

With a 23.2 on three, Rice and Hendrix had nearly 3 seconds over the second callback team. When Rice realized he didn’t recognize any of the muleys that made it to the short round, he planned to just complete the course.

“Score as good as you can and [do] whatever it took to catch the cow,” Rice explained. “I think we had them by like 2.5 to 3.0 seconds. We had a little bit of wiggle room to just go in there, not be silly or make stupid mistakes, and do whatever it took to get him caught.”

Rice and Hendrix were 9.1 seconds in the short round for fifth and $356 a man to secure the Clovis Rodeo win with a 32.3 on four head. 

Rice credits Hendrix for the role he played, as their last two steers weren’t as user friendly.

“They were running so hard down the arena that they almost had to whip for just a second to take it out of them and then start hopping,” Rice explained. “I don’t know if our third and fourth cows had gotten caught very much because they both were still pretty wild on the end of it and tried to fight it. I just tried to pull them and keep their feet moving for him.”

Winning on borrowed horses

With fresh muleys, a longer barrier and an arena wall that comes awfully fast, horsepower can make or break a guy’s time in Clovis and, luckily for Rice, he had a solid mount he never had to worry about.

Rice was riding “Poprock” of two-time World Champion Chad Masters. Rice worked for Masters for nearly two years in college and now practices with him frequently, giving him the opportunity to ride Poprock here and there.

“Whatever you put in front of him, he can pull it,” Rice said with a laugh. “A big shout out to Chad on that because it made it a lot easier. I knew that horse was going to come up the wall no matter what.”

Hendrix also had a borrowed but special equine counterpart. Hendrix was riding Miss JB 117, the now 13-year-old mare of late NFR qualifier Quinn Kesler. “Alice” helped Quinn in two of his three trips to the NFR and, when Hendrix’s good horse tied up prior to making the trip out West, Quinn’s wife Jessie told Hendrix to take the mare. 

Miss JB 117, aka “Alice”

Hendrix stayed with the Kesler’s for four years after meeting the family when he moved to Utah for college. In 2021 and 2022, Quinn and Hendrix ProRodeoed together, helping Quinn qualify for his last NFR in 2021 and Hendrix claim the 2021 Resistol Rookie Heeler of the Year title. Having the opportunity to ride Alice—and get a round win on Quinn’s birthday with her—was surreal. 

“It was really cool to ride that mare,” Hendrix said. “She made it so easy. She was a cheat code on that setup. She’s super fast and super free. It was easy, and Korbin did a great job. That horse did a great job. It was meant to be.”

Rice and Hendrix striking out for the summer

After deciding to make the California spring run, Rice and Hendrix had little time to get some runs under their belt but, once they did, they decided to finish out the summer as a new team.

“We roped at a couple of jackpots before we went out there and practiced a few times, and it all went really good,” Rice said. “We felt like we put a pretty decent run together and then kind of just decided while we were out there that we would do it for the rest of summer. And then we started off winning Clovis, so I’m excited for it.”

Rice aims to add 2024 Resistol Rookie Header of the Year to his growing resume, and the pair plans to hit the road enough to make it possible. The two will head to some Wilderness Circuit rodeos and go from there.

“We’re going pretty hard,” Hendrix said. “We’ve got some rodeos that start beginning of June out here. [Korbin’s] going to come out here and help me get some of these circuit rodeos in before we head out for Reno and rodeoing really starts going. That’s all I plan to do every year—rodeo hard.”

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