Next Generation

New Money: Ace Ashford and Jade Philipp Win Riata Buckle Jr #10.5 and $20,920
Teenagers Ace Ashford and Jade Philipp are working to forge their own names in the roping sphere.
Ace Ashford and Jade Philipp team roping
Ace Ashford and Jade Philipp win the Riata Buckle Jr. #10.5. Ric Andersen/ CBarC Photography

Growing up around high-powered rope horses and cowboys is one thing, but getting a taste of the action is a whole separate level— something Ace Ashford and Jade Philipp realized at the 2023 Riata Buckle when they took home the Jr #10.5 victory inside the Lazy E Arena.

Ashford and Philipp came in high callback to the short round with $1,800 already in their pockets after winning the fast time in the first round of competition with a 6.51-second run. They defended that position with a smooth run that brought their time on four to 29.31 seconds and earned the $13,120 victory. Both boys rode horses in the Riata Buckle, as well, so they earned the $6,000 incentive victory, bringing their earnings in the #10.5 Jr to $20,920.

On the head side, Ace Ashford is from a family of ropers. His father, Troy, is well known within the USTRC ranks, and his elder brother, Ross qualified to the 2021 National Finals Rodeo. His parents were there in support, something the teenager was grateful for.

“My dad’s taught me everything I know,” Ashford said. “From roping to knowing how to use my head.”

Philipp also comes from widely-known roping roots. His family owns and operates the Philipp Ranch, a program that went public with its hardy stallions and colts when the Riata Buckle came into play in 2021. For the newest of the multi-generational dynasty, the Riata program is paying off in spades. His dad, John, has been as essential to his success as anybody.

My dad is like Ace’s,” Philipp said. “If he sees something wrong, he’ll pick me up and tell me what I need to do and what to look at. He’s been a big mentor for me.”

Philipp’s horse of choice was Chulatallic, a 2015 gelding by Metallic Cat and out of Dualed To The Mac by Chula Dual.

Chulatallic pedigree

“He’s my main mount,” Phillip (16) said. “We call him Dwight. I started heeling about two years ago when I started roping with Ace—I headed before that. That horse has helped me get to where I’m at heeling. He was a cutting reject, then dad brought him up and got him where he is now.”

Back on the head side, Ashford switched up from his usual mount and called upon Smokin Big Valley, a 2013 gelding out of Seven S Big Valley and out Playpens Smokin Gal by Smokin Playgun.

Smokin Big Valley pedigree

“His name’s Jefferson,” Ashford said. “I got him out of the Phillip Horse Sale two years ago. He’s really good for bigger pens, longer scores. I ride him in Arizona a lot, he’s one of my favorite horses to rope off of. He scores good, glides in the corner.”

Although their first Riata Buckle, both boys felt comfortable on the setup inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie.

“It can be intimidating at first,” Ashford admitted. “But once you get that first run under your belt, it’s smooth sailing after that. I love roping here.”

The next goal for the high school friends is to have a successful year at the high school rodeos back in Texas, where they will look to secure a state qualification and position to the High School National Finals in 2024.

Riata Buckle Jr. #10.5 Aggregate Results

129.31Ace AshfordJade Philipp$13,120
H: Smokin Big ValleyH: Chulatallic
S: Seven S Big ValleyS: Metallic Cat
235.9Colin SchlengerLogan Vanderhamm$9,840
H: Hes A Coco JoeH: Just Wright Time
S: Show Me A Song JoesS: Hickory Holly Time
337.74Gus KelleyHogan Kelley$6,560
H: Wicked Smooth GuyH: Jj Fire In The Hole
S: A Smooth GuyS: PG Dry Fire
438.67Ethan AwaCru Parry$3,280
H: Dd Heza Red BudahH: Dd Irish Magic
S: Denver Red BuckS: DD Docs Irish Badger
121.6Ace AshfordJade Philipp$6,000
H: Smokin Big ValleyH: Chulatallic
S: Seven S Big ValleyS: Metallic Cat
224.11Colin SchlengerLogan Vanderhamm$4,000
H: Hes A Coco JoeH: Just Wright Time
S: Show Me A Song JoesS: Hickory Holly Time
Fast Time Rot 1
16.51Ace AshfordJade Philipp$1,800
H: Smokin Big ValleyH: Chulatallic
S: Seven S Big ValleyS: Metallic Cat
26.65Sloan McFarlaneTrey McFarlane$1,800
H: Gilligans Black TuxH: Seagrams Colonelfrek
S: Gilligans Black TuxS: PG Dry Fire
37.08Ace AshfordJade Philipp$1,800
H: Smokin Big ValleyH: Chulatallic
S: Seven S Big ValleyS: Metallic Cat
Fast Time SGO
110.15Jasper FritzRyder Davis$1,800
H: Cat Man SanH: Chiquita Rebel
S: Cat Man DoS: Metallic Rebel

See where Ashford and Philipp are in the year-end battle for the USTRC Resistol Jr. Champion crown:

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