Texas Circuit heeler Ross Ashford won the 2018 Resistol Rookie of the Year Heeling title.

Lott, Texas’ Ross Ashford ended his Resistol Rookie year in the number-one spot with $26,916.94. He started out the rodeo season roping with fellow Resistol Rookie header Laramie Allen, who finished fifth in the standings, then finished the year off roping with Blake Texieira. Ashford also finished eighth in the Texas Circuit with $12,574.72.

Kaitlin Gustave: How does it feel to have won the Resistol Rookie of the Year title?

Ross Ashford: It’s really exciting. It’s nice to set a goal to do something like that and then accomplish it. 

KG: What were your goals going into this season?

RA: Well, when I started the goal was to make the NFR but, once that was kind of out of the question then I had to have another reason to be out there. So, then I just set it to win the rookie.

KG: Now that you’ve been on the road was it what you thought it would be like?

RA: No, I didn’t really know what to expect. It’s hard—the downtime is hard. There’s a lot of just doing nothing—hurry up and wait. That was really hard but I’m excited for it and ready for next year.

KG: Were there any of the pros that helped you out this year?

RA: Yeah, my Uncle Jones helped me a lot. If I ever had questions on how rodeos were going to be or where I should go stay, I could call him, and he was always there to help me out. Luckily, I got to be around a lot of guys that knew where to go and what to do. It wasn’t really like I was totally on my own.

KG: Who did you rope with this year?

RA: I roped with Laramie Allen all the way up until Dodge City (Kansas) and then I started roping with Blake Teixeira.

KG: What was your biggest win?

RA: That’s a tough one. I didn’t really win first at any of the ones that I liked. I placed at Pendleton (Oregon) in the first round and that was an awesome rodeo. That was probably one of my biggest wins even though it was just in one round. I won second at Guymon (Oklahoma) and I thought that was pretty cool because they brought muleys there. There was a lot of cool ones, but I didn’t get a chance to win first at any of them. I got to place around at a few.

Ross Ashford heeling one at the Pendleton Round-Up.

Ross Ashford heeling one at the Pendleton Round-Up.

KG: What rodeo were you anticipating the most?

RA: I think probably Cheyenne (Frontier Days) with how big it is, how the steers are big and the setup is so long. That was one that I was most excited for.

KG: Did you get into any slumps?

RA: Oh yeah! There were a lot of times that I was in slumps. There were a lot of times where I’d get down. You’re gone—you can’t just go home and practice, so that was hard. I think I was in a slump there for a whole. I went up to the Northwest and won a little bit so that helped a lot. I tried to just stay positive and not think about it. I couldn’t think about how it was going bad and just think about the next run.

KG: Who was on your support team?

RA: My dad was always there and my family. My Uncle Jones, I can always call him whenever I need something. Billy Pipes—he helped me out a lot. He let me go pick up his good heel horse when mine was hurt. He’s there to do whatever I need him to do. He’s always been behind me. I had a lot of people in my corner for sure.

KG: What horses did you ride throughout the year?

RA: For the most part, I rode my good sorrel, Ice Cube (9). He did really good. He got hurt about halfway through the year, right before the Northwest, so then I picked up Billy Pipes’ horse Copper. That’s an amazing horse. He’s probably one of the best horses that I’ve ever rode. That was really cool to haul him and ride him.

KG: Who did the entering?

RA: Garrett Tonozzi entered Laramie and I up until we stopped roping, and then Blake entered us at the rest of the rodeos. Garrett helped us out a lot. We obviously didn’t know where to go or what to do.

KG: What are your goals for the future?

RA: I definitely would like to make the Finals in the next few years if I could. That’s the main goal. After you make the finals you want to win the World. I think that’s the goal that everyone starts out with at the beginning of the year. It might be hard to do but that’s the goal for sure.

KG: Are you and Blake going to rope again next year?

RA: No ma’am. I’m going to rope with Garrett Chick next year.

KG: What was the best advice that you received throughout this year?

RA: Just to have a short memory. I think I’ve heard a few people say it, but I think it’s true. You have to have a short memory because you go to so many rodeos and you’re not going to do good at all of them—it’s just not going to happen. You just have to forget it and go onto the next one. 

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