Rylie Smith and Hope Thompson took home a total of $90,000 after roping their Women’s Rodeo World Championships Main Event steer in 13.66 seconds at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Now, the team is set to defend their title at the WRWC event held at the South Point Arena in Las Vegas, Oct. 27–29, 2021.
Kaitlin Gustave: You and Hope Thompson were crowned the 2020 Women’s Rodeo World Championship Team Roping Champions. Are you two going to try and defend your title?
Rylie Smith: Yes ma’am. It worked the first time.
KG: You will be heading. Are you going to be heeling and breakaway roping as well?
RS: Yes ma’am. I’m going heel for Kenna Francis, and I’m in the challenger breakaway.
KG: What horses are you going to be riding this year?
RS: I’m going to be riding the same head horse that I rode last year, Floyd. In the heeling, I will be riding a horse named Jane that I trained and got as a 4-year-old, and I’ll be mounting Hope out on Jane. In the breakaway I will be riding Mary which is a half-sister to my heel horse.
KG: Last year you mentioned that you started your head horse, Floyd, in the heading about three months prior to the event. How has the seasoning been since?
RS: He wasn’t too hard to season because he was a finished calf horse before. He had kind of seen the sights, he just hadn’t seen it from that angle.
KG: Are you looking forward to roping in Las Vegas?
RS: I am. I was kind of dreading the drive if we’re going to be honest. I’ve never roped in Vegas, so it’s going to be a first-time experience for me.
KG: What do you like about having the Pro section verses the Challengers?
RS: They allow you to rope in the open and the challenger. I just see it as more money, really. If you have the opportunity to rope at your level and then have the opportunity to rope up and win money, I like having that option. Next year I won’t be in the Challenger breakaway, but I’ll still be in the Challenger heading, hopefully.