Back-to-back and reigning World Champion Kaleb Driggers has won nearly every title in team roping, but until showing Shake Em Tanquereygin at the 2023 Royal Crown in Buckeye, he hadn’t been able to call himself a futurity champion.
Thankfully, that changed when he came tight on his fourth steer in the Zesterra Open 6-&-Under Futurity on the 6-year-old sorrel gelding by Turnin For Big Chex out of the Royal Shake Em mare Star Shaker.
“I’ve been jackpotting on that horse, and he’s real solid and real forgiving,” Driggers said. “That was crucial yesterday when we were getting started. Those steers were still pretty fresh, and they didn’t know where they were headed. He locks onto the steer in a good spot, and once you stick it on the horns, he lets you do whatever. You can be as aggressive as you need to across the pen to open them up for the heelers.”
Driggers and Shake Em Tanquerygin marked a 490.43, worth $3,700 for the aggregate win, plus another $500 for a second-place finish in Round 3, all with the help of two World Champion Heeler Paul Eaves. (Eaves also helped Trevor Brazile to both of his heading wins at the Royal Crown later that same day before driving all night to rope at San Antonio 24 hours later.)
Shake Em Tanquerygin’s Background
Bred by Mindy M Savoie, Shake Em Tanquerygin came to Driggers via Josh and Jonathan Torres. They’d showed him in Fort Worth as a 4-year-old at the American Rope Horse Futurity Association’s World Finals, and Driggers bought him in the spring of 2022.
“He was already patterend, and I thought that he had a lot of potential,” Driggers said. “He puts his feet in a good spot, he’s athle”tic, he’s real easy to rope the horns on, and he runs straight to the steer. That’s what I look for in a younger horse.”
Driggers makes it a priority to duck off the rodeo trail to the rope horse futurities, but he rarely gets to ride his young horses throughout the grueling summer run. Luckily, he’s got a decent hand in Andy Holcomb to keep his horses working and to get them seasoned at the futurities.
“Andy (Holcomb) came to the Redbud last year and won second on him, and then he took him home took to Rock Springs, and then he brought him back to me at Fort Worth,” Driggers said. “He’s easy to ride behind. He puts all the buttons in there, and you push whichever ones you like. He gets them solid in the box, solid to the steer and they hook up correct and easy. I send all my stuff to him because he’s real easy to follow. He knows what will make a show horse and what will not make a show horse. The ones that don’t make the show pen are good, solid-type horses that will go on. He doesn’t put a patch on anything, and if there’s a problem he’ll address it. They’re real solid at a young age.”
Reloading the Horse Herd
Driggers hasn’t been afoot at the rodeos in years. He’s without a doubt the most well-stocked horseman in the PRCA team roping ranks, with a full string of the best horses in the business. He’s had more good ones than perhaps anyone in the sport’s history, from the now famous Streakin Sundew to Cuervo to Yatzee and dozens of others in between. But he knows as well as anyone that these horses don’t last forever, and he takes his replacement policy seriously. The rope horse futurities have been a perfect feeder program into his rodeo string.
“I have two former futurity horses I’m rodeoing on now,” Driggers said. “I just bought the yellow from Logan Cullen (that won the Royal Crown Open Futurity in 2022). I won first and second on him at Downtown at our very first jackpot. It had a long barrier, and he scored great and ran hard. And I have Oliver that came from Lane Ivy. I’ve been riding him the last couple years jackpotting. He’s one that’s not really for sale. He’s so useful to me. I can ride him just like that going to help on him if I need to. He’s so good jackpotting on. He’s just 8 this year. I plugged him into some rodeos last year, and he’s my go-to jackpot horse. I don’t want to rodeo on him too early and bust his bubble. But he’ll get plugged in a lot more this year.”
Driggers also bought Uno Joe 017 from 2D Rope Horses, a horse originally shown and proven by the Relentless Remuda’s Miles Baker and Trevor Brazile.
Young or old, horses in Driggers’ string have to learn to fit his style, a style that’s proven to work over and over.
“I’ve changed my whole program,” Driggers explained. “I lead them around the turn, take their head, get them started through the turn then open them up and bring them back. I don’t know if it’s exactly what you’re supposed to do at the shows, but I feel like if you can get thorugh the roping or futurity clean, you have a pretty good chance of placing. I just want to make them as easy as possible to heel.”
That consistency—Driggers also won third in the 6-&-Under Heading on NOTORIOUS H I P, a horse owned by K4Partners LLC.
“I got him from TJ Good,” Driggers said. “He’s a real solid horse, and TJ has him super broke. I think I want to try to start heeling on him some too. He’s so broke, and he can run for a little horse too. He backs in there turns around and stands there dead perfect. He runs to the steer, pins his ears, easy to rope on good smooth move through there. For him to win third as a 5-year-old speaks volumes on his maturity.”
While Driggers—only 33—already has won nearly $2.5 million in ProRodeo competition and set a single-season earnings record of $340,708 in 2022, he’s thinking about the next steps in his career.
“I really enjoy the futurities, that’s the main thing I believe,” Driggers said. “Also, I love being in contact with the young horses Andy (Holcomb) has going and I like watching him riding them. And this might sound weird, but I enjoy helping a lot. I enjoy being a part of it. I’m not going to rodeo forever, but I’m all-in on everything I do no matter what. Rodeo is my first priority, and I can’t do anything that will jeopardize anything in that because it’s what I do for a living. But any time I have a chance, I’m going to try to always be at the futurities. There’s no substitute for experience. This is only my fourth year. I was so green when we started. I feel like we came a long ways in it, but I have a long ways to go. If this is what I’m going to do when I’m done rodeoing, I want a head start on it.
“I’ve talked to Shannon Frascht, and he said he feels like I’ve come a long ways but it’s helping me ride my rodeo horses better, too. It doesn’t ever just turn off completely. Where’s my horses feet at? What’s he feel like in this situation? I do have that in the back of my mind right now more than I used to.”
Perhaps nowhere is it more evident how serious Driggers takes the game than in his commitment as a helper. Driggers easily ran over 100 steers in two days, swapping every two steers on a help horse and keeping track of each of his entries, too. TRJ