Kaitlin Gustave: You’re currently fifth in the standings. How is that compared to this time last year?
Wesley Thorp: It’s pretty similar to last year around this time if I’m not mistaken. I think we were somewhere inside the top 10. We’ve been to less rodeos at this year compared to last year because there’s not champion challenges. Our rodeo count is really low, so all in all I feel like we’re a little bit ahead as far as money won and count.
KG: You and Cody Snow have been roping together for the past two years. What makes it work out so well?
WT: I think the biggest thing is that we’re both pretty honest with our roping and about where we are in general about everything. We’re good friends so we can talk about it pretty easily. I feel like from the time we started the first of last year to now, I feel like we’ve made a lot of progress as a team and our run. I feel like we’ve done nothing but improve.
KG: Who will you rope with for second partners?
WT: I’m actually roping with Clay Tryan in California as second partners.
KG: You’ve already accomplished one goal this year at the America. What other goals do you have set for yourself?
WT: That was one of the biggest goals, was to make The American heading. Another one is that I wanted to really work on my roping to where I improved on my jackpot and rodeoing, both. I wanted to win the most jackpotting and to make the NFR in a position to have a chance to win the World.
KG: How do you switch from jackpot mode to rodeoing, and vice versa?
WT: I try to have my horses working similar and I try to keep them free as possible, working with me and to have the same feel. I want them working the same at both of them and let me justify when I want to throw and make the run I want to make and not have to overcompensate what my horse is doing. I want them to be forgiving and let me place them where I want to be and be able to just use my feet and have them in my left hand just soft enough I can place where I want them and be able to throw when I want to throw and not have it be on their terms.
KG: What horses do you have going right now?
WT: I have the roan horse that I’ve rode the last couple years. I rode him mostly at the rodeos this winter and haven’t jackpotted much on him. I have a brown horse that I bought from Blaine Vick at the end of February. I really like him–he’s probably one of my favorite horses I’ve had. I think he’s really going to fit me really well. I’ve had a lot of success on him this past month and I’m really excited to have him this year. I have a palomino horse that came from Cooper Robertson. I have high hopes for him. I haven’t hauled him a lot–I’ve just jackpotted on him some and taken him to a couple rodeos here. I’ll take him to California, but I have high hopes for him in the future.
KG: What is a deciding factor on which horse you ride a different rodeos?
WT: I have the most confidence on my roan. I think the biggest factor is confidence and having runs under your belt and knowing in each scenario what the horse is going to do. In rodeoing, I think it’s a little bit more important because it seems like more things happen fast in a rodeo set-up, and it’s good to have the confidence in knowing what your horse is going to do. I think I’ll have confidence in the brown by California to take him wherever I want.
KG: When it comes to mindset, how do you work on your mental toughness?
WT: I try to always reflect back on three or four months at a time and different parts of the year. I go off seasons and try to find how much progress I’ve made and how my horses have done. Even if I’m off or I have a bad spell I try to focus on working on what I want to work on but find the positive in it. If I’m always making progress then I’m satisfied.
KG: Is there anything you’re working on in the practice pen?
WT: I’ve been working on trying to keep my horses front feet moving and just trying to be forgiving and free. I’ve been trying to change my swing a little bit, and went to a stiffer rope, and made some small adjustments.
KG: Do you prefer to rope the dummy or live steers more when your trying to figure something out with your roping?
WT: I rope the dummy quite often, but I prefer live steers. I think day-in and day-out it’s what you’re doing. You can try different scenarios on the dummy and I think it’s great for you but when it comes down to it, you need to be sharp and focused on live cattle.