Tyler Wade and Trey Yates Master the Muleys at Clovis
Tyler Wade and Trey Yates won $6,822 a man for roping four steers in 39.1 seconds in Clovis, California.

Horsepower was huge in helping Tyler Wade and Trey Yates get the win at the four-head Clovis Rodeo muley marathon, which ended its April 22-25 run on Sunday. They were 8.6 on the walking-fresh 400-pounders in the first round, then 11.8 on a runner in Round 2. Their 8.5 was good for second in Round 3, and they ran down another red runner in 10.2 for fourth in the short round to hang onto their high-call status and close out Clovis on top. All told, Team TNT—Tyler n Trey—were 39.1 on four for $6,822 a man.

[Read More: Mid-Roping Horsemanship Fix with Tyler Wade]

[Read More: At Home with Dick Yates]

[Read More: Finding Power in Position with Trey Yates]

“The setup with hard-running cattle in this big arena (it’s 400 feet long) over a long score is tough, but I like that it’s a marathon and not a sprint,” said Wade, who rode J.D. Yates’s head horse Buckskin YY. “We drew two good ones and two bad ones, but if you just keep doing your job, you can get paid. If it was a two-header, I might not like the muleys, because it would be too much of a drawing contest. But you can draw a little bit of everything in a four-header. When you drive this far (from his home in Terrell, Texas), having more than one chance is crucial. When we only get to go to 65 rodeos, getting to run four in one spot with five chances for a check is so cool.

Tyler Wade headed on J.D. Yates’s Buckskin YY. Phil Doyle Photo

“I needed another horse, and went to J.D.’s to try some of his. I hopped on this one, and after riding him told J.D. I didn’t need to try anymore of them. This is the horse I rode at the BFI the other day. He’s just honest and good, and he’s going to let you win, no matter what. After that first round when they were walking fresh, the muleys learned how to run and it was a different game. Then it was game on, and a guy had to have a horse that can run.”

Trey rode his black horse, Tux.

“By the progressive (third) round, those muleys had a pretty good idea where they wanted to go and really took off,” said Yates, who was a Clovis Rodeo rookie in 2021. “The barrier’s long, there’s not much left in that arena and the arena’s a unique shape. So you want your cow to go straight or even to the right at this one. The team roping at Clovis is a cowboy sport, especially in the heading department, where the best horses shine.

“From all the stories I’ve heard from my dad (J.D.) and grandpa (Dick), this is how rodeoing was back in the day. It’s fun to experience it, and it’d be fun to be a part of this kind of old traditional rodeo more often. It takes a special horse to go that fast, and keep one in tow at a high rate of speed. But TWade roped sharp, and Buckskin YY—Jeremy Buhler calls him Dirty Buck—got ahold of that last cow just right, which let me take an aggressive shot.”

All that let Wade and Yates hold tight at the top, and take the W with 39.1 on four. Brothers Riley and Brady Minor were second in 40.2; Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira placed third in 40.3; and Cody Snow and Wesley Thorp finished fourth with 43.8 seconds on four head.

Wade and Yates—who hopped a plane to Texas this morning so they can rope in this afternoon’s U.S. Open in Fort Worth—joined forces in January.

“Since day one, we’ve had a consistent, good run,” T Wade said. “What we do together works. Our styles really fit, and it’s not a struggle. Trey having so many good horses comes in really handy with him heeling for a reacher.”

“We’re a reride team,” grinned Trey. “We’re on Round 2. We roped in the wintertime in 2018, and we decided last fall to try it again. We’ve practiced a lot together, and have similar mindsets and goals. We expect a lot out of ourselves and each other. We both have a fire burning inside of us to do more than just good. We’ve had a bit of a dry spell, so we were due for a good win.”

Wade and Yates came to California for last week’s 100th annual Red Bluff Round-Up (no luck there) and Clovis. Both four-headers and both featured equal money in the team roping.

“That’s why we came out here—these are great rodeos and the money’s great,” said Yates, who these days splits his time between Colorado and Arizona. “To have a chance at five checks at one rodeo is pretty surreal. From a cowboy’s standpoint, that’s superior to a one-header. And the muleys were a cool twist. They didn’t run in the first round, so you had to be patient. You could tell by the progressive round which ones had been caught twice. I wish more rodeos would rope muleys. It’s exciting, and the cowboys of the sport really shine. To be successful, you have to be on a good horse, and really ride him.”

“It’s pretty far out of our road to get here from Texas, but it’s worth it,” Wade said. “This rodeo is awesome—old school and really cool.” TRJ

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