Owning Utah

Momentum in Utah: Wade, Thorp Win Spanish Fork and Ogden
Tyler Wade and Wesley Thorp made good use of their time in Utah, winning the 2023 Fiesta Days Rodeo and Ogden Pioneer Days.
Tyler Wade and Wesley Thorp roping their steer in the first round in Spanish Fork 2023.
Tyler Wade and Wesley Thorp in the first round in Spanish Fork 2023. | Avid Visual Imagery photo

Tyler Wade and Wesley Thorp capitalized on their Utah trip, getting the wins at the 2023 Fiesta Days Rodeo in Spanish Fork, Utah, and the Odgen Pioneer Days. 

The wins come as a steady push of momentum to really get their summer ball rolling.

“It seemed like the momentum kept going,” 2019 World Champion Wesley Thorp said. “I think it was good to kind of just get a little confidence under our belt, too. Not that it had been going terrible, it just seemed like we weren’t really getting anything going yet. But now it just kind of all ran together.”

While they’ve had their struggles and slower starts, they’ve focused on keeping a winner’s mindset, never letting negativity get in the way. A tactic that’s seeming to prove successful. 

“We haven’t really had a plan,” Wade said. “And when I say we, I just mean me. I’ve messed up a lot, but I think that nobody wins with a bad attitude, so I try to keep a positive one. Thorp’s been great with that; he’s never said a bad or negative word. If I say a negative word, he comes back and tells me we’re going to stick it out. He’s been pretty easy to ride the wave with. Hopefully keeping that positive attitude regardless will help us come out of a slump faster.”

Spanish Fork

Wade and Thorp started in Spanish Fork Friday, July 21 where they won the first round with a 3.8.

“We had a steer we actually didn’t know, but he ended up being really good,” Thorp said. “Tyler got a good start, got it on him fast around the neck and he handled good, so I was able to heel him fast. Tyler got a real good finish, so he clocked pretty well.”

Tyler Wade and Wesley Thorp roped their first steer in Spanish Fork in 3.8 seconds to win the first round.

They roped their second-round steer that night in the performance. The team went 4.0 to place in the round and win the average with a 7.8 on two head.

“Our steer ended up being better when we had him,” Thorp said. “Tyler got a good start, did a good job getting it on him and set him up good. Then I was able to take an extra swing and get a good finish. It came together well, and it was good to get the ball rolling. We had a good week out here the week of Reno, but we didn’t put a whole bunch of runs together. We’ve won some rounds, and we won some one-headers, but that was kind of the first time we put two good runs together and got on the board.”

Wade and Thorp were 4.0 to place in the second round in Spanish Fork.

Five-time NFR header Wade believes their ability to go with the flow aided in their bouncing back.

“We just try to stay the course and see what happens,” Wade, 31, said. “We drew some pretty good steers. They were both straight and they just kind of set up fast. Spanish is a pretty fast setup anyways.”


Wade and Thorp were able to build off that momentum in Ogden, despite drawing two very different steers.

Wade and Thorp went 4.2 seconds on their first steer in Ogden to win second the first round.

“We had one steer that was a little bit stronger, but we made a good run,” Wade said. “Our second one was supposed to stop, and he was pretty slow. So, we tried to just play him for what he is; stay behind him and see what happened. And it turned out to work really well.”

Wade and Thorp were 4.2 on their first steer to win second in the first round. Because of the nature of their second steer, they had a game plan set to see him out.

“[Wade] was going to see a little bit extra, and I was going to stay with him and see quite a bit,” Thorp, 27, said. “I was going to break to the pin a bit and see if I could stay behind him—at least let him get it on and then it would maybe give us a chance to make a run. It actually worked really well. He was a little late, and the steer kind of ran out there, so he was able to take an extra swing and head him and keep it moving. I came from behind and the run ended up shaping up perfect.”

Wade and Thorp finished second in the second round at Ogden with a 4.3.

They kept it consistent and were a 4.3 to yet again finish second in the rounds while clinching the average win with an 8.5 on two. 

Good Horses for Good Wins

Just as important as their jobs, Wade and Thorp had top-tier horsepower to aid them in their Utah wins. 

Wade was riding 15-year-old Espuela Bro, a gelding he calls Spur.

Papers for Tyler Wade's Espuela Bro, "Spur."

“He’s kind of the go to,” Wade explained. “I won the Bob Tallman (Invitational) on him last month, I’ve won rodeos like Pecos on him and then I ride him at the NFR, too. So, long score, short score, placed on him at the BFI—he’s pretty good and worth it wherever and on whatever score.”

Thorp was also riding a trusted counterpart, his 14-year-old gelding RayJ. When it came down to RayJ or his sorrel Juice, he took into consideration the setup of the Utah rodeos.

Breeding of Wesley Thorp's Little Hickory Boon, "RayJ."

“I feel like if there’s more variables in play and fresher steers and more of them, getting them down and I feel a little more comfortable on the sorrel. But if it’s a little faster-pace and you kind of need to be as sharp and fast as you can, I prefer the black.”

Keep it Rolling

Wade and Thorp aren’t backing off the gas yet. They won the first round at the Deadwood Days of ’76 rodeo and currently lead the average, made it back to the Semifinals in Cheyenne and still have 30 rodeos left they can go to this year. 

“We’ve got a lot of rodeos left; our rodeo count is probably lower than it’s ever been for me at this time of year,” Thorp said. “Overall, it definitely feels good to get on a groove and kind of get some confidence. It takes a little pressure off there and maybe keep it going and keep knocking them down and try not to get too greedy. Take each steer for what they are and see where we end up.”

Being on the same page in life and in their goals also aids in the momentum for the team that’s on the ProRodeo road.

“We’ve been buddies for a long time and then he called out of the blue and asked to rope, and he roped so good I couldn’t tell him no,” Wade said. “We’ve been second partners at the jackpots on and off for like the last six years or so, and we’re buddies. We’re on the same page, our kids are the same age and we have the same plans and goals. We never have a disagreement on where to go or where to enter or how we’re going to do something. We’re on the same page for sure.”

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