Tanner James remained undefeated throughout his rookie season, posting a total of $46,323.41 in PRCA earnings to take the Resistol Rookie Header of the Year title for 2022.
James, 25, of Stephenville, Texas, took an early lead in the standings, which he maintained throughout the regular season, finishing $15,191 ahead of fellow rookie competitor Kreece Thompson, 20, of Munday, Texas.
“Winning the Rookie of the Year means a lot,” James said, who finished 36th in the PRCA world standings. “I set my goals high to hopefully try to make the Finals. I think if I set my goals high above what I was really trying to achieve, which was winning the Rookie, it made it possible. It’s an awesome feeling. I really don’t know how to explain it.”
Despite holding his lead from start to finish, the season did offer a challenging stretch which put James’ position in jeopardy.
“I had a pretty bad couple of weeks toward the end of the season,” he revealed. “I went to a lot of the same rodeos as Kreece Thompson, who was behind me, and he spun a lot of good steers for his partner.”
In response to the threat, James went to work on his roping and made good on his goal of becoming the Resistol Rookie of the Year. And already, he is aiming for bigger and better things in 2023.
“This season the goal would be to really focus on making big moves,” James said. “I’m looking forward to trying to make the Finals this next year.”
Having learned several valuable lessons from his rookie season, he is confident he will be able to carry these lessons forward:
“There was a lot I learned. Just having a clear mind and not second-guessing myself. You know, I told myself, ‘You’ve made it this far.’ Stay focused on what you’re doing and just focus on what you’ve worked on to get to this point. Don’t change too much while you’re out there. It’s hard to make big changes on the road, but little adjustments you can make are good.”