Florida’s Ashton Hughes Flies High at No. 1 after February Surge and Ahead of Finals in Fort Worth
The USTRC Resistol Jr. standings showed major action in the heading with Ashton Hughes launching into the top spot with 115 points going into April’s USTRC National Finals in Fort Worth.
Ashton Hughes and Hugo Alves win the Muddy River #12.5. | JX2 Productions photo

Top 5 Headers

With a few short weeks to go before the 35th Annual Cinch USTRC National Finals kicks off in Fort Worth on April 21, Wildwood, Florida’s Ashton Hughes hit big in February to take the lead in the Resistol Jr. heading standings. 

At last reporting, Hughes was already on an upward trajectory, and the 16-year-old switchender kept the momentum going when he entered up at the Feb. 9-11 Muddy River Super Qualifier, produced in Memphis, Tennessee, by JX2 Productions. There, Hughes lit up the #12.5 USTRC when he and Hugo Alves won the event with a 30.69 on four, worth 10 points for Hughes in Resistol Jr. standings. Hughes also took third place in the same #12.5 for an additional 8 points, followed by a second-place finish in the #8.5 USTRC worth 9 points. 

Hughes’ Muddy River gains put him at the top of the leaderboard with 91 points, but he wasn’t finished with February. Next he traveled to the North Florida Championship in Baker, Florida, for Ed Allen’s USTRC Signature Series event, held Feb. 17-18. There, the mighty Hughes and Harrison Teixeira took the win in the #14.5 with a 33.59 on four, again worth 10 points for Hughes Resistol Jr. standings. Then, in the #10.5 and the #9.5, he took fourth place in each, worth a total of 14 points. The 24-point haul puts Hughes a heap ahead of the field with a total of 115.

For a roper to win the Resistol Jr. race, he or she must rope at the Cinch USTRC National Finals where points earned are worth double the regular season points, which is to say that nothing is determined yet. However, should Hughes rope at the Finals, he’s in a heck of a position to win the year-long race.

Behind Hughes, Texas’ Callahan Taylor maintains his 73 points and falls a spot to No. 2. Meanwhile, fellow Texan Colt Hilley keeps the No. 3 position in the standings, but he is hot on Taylor’s heels after his 10-point trip to the Feb. 16 USTRC Winter Classic by X-Treme Team Roping in Stephenville, Texas. By earning 2 points with a ninth-place finish in the #9.5 and 8 points with a third-place finish in the #7, Hilley now has 70 points total.

To round out the Top 5 Resistol Jr. heading updates, Hayden Hughes enters the chat with 52 points. Last month, Hughes sat just outside the Top 5 in the No. 6 position with 46 points, but he moves into the fold after a 6-point gain after winning fifth in the #7 USTRC at the North Florida Championship.

Top 5 Heelers

Kale Roark at the USTRC Signature Series Super Bowl in Guthrie, Oklahoma, in December. |
Clinton Foster photo

Last month, it was noted that “the wolves are closing in” on longtime leader Houston Childers’ No. 1 worthy 93 points, and the tale remains true in these latest Resistol Jr. heeling standings. 

Guymon, Oklahoma’s Kale Roark reclaimed the No. 2 position in February after falling to fourth place at the beginning of the calendar year. Whereas he trailed Fairmount, Georgia’s Childers by 36 points then, he now trails Childers by just 9. In the context of the upcoming Cinch USTRC National Finals XXXV, that means that, if Roark ropes at the Finals and if no other points are gained, a sixth-place Finals finish for Roark would garner him 10 points—double the regular season’s 5 points—and enough to steal the lead, the title and the prize line from Childers. But that’s a lot of hypotheticals to hold onto between now and the April 28 conclusion of the 2024 USTRC NFTR.

To earn his wolfy 25 points, Roark roped at the Dodge City, Kansas, USTRC Signature Series Roping held Jan. 20-21, produced by Z Ropings. There, Roark took ahold of the #9.5 USTRC with a second-place and a fourth-place finish for a total of 16 points. He then traveled to USTRC Signature Series Dust Bowl Classic produced by Mc3 Team Ropings in Amarillo, Texas, Feb. 9-11. There, Roark, who turns 16 in April, won second place and 9 points in the #10.5 USTRC.

Behind Roark, Kelby Frizzell and Hazen Suit maintain their points—77 and 61, respectively—each falling a spot to No. 3 and No. 4. Brit Smith holds at No. 5 with 51 points. 

2023–2024 USTRC Resistol Jr. Champion Standings

(as of 3/01/24. Go to for current standings)


1*Ashton Hughes (Wildwood, FL)115
2*Callahan Taylor (Canutillo, TX)73
3*Colt Hilley (Mineral Wells, TX)70
4*Aiden Perrett (Luverne, AL)58
5*Hayden Hughes (Oxford, FL)52
6*Tyler Mota (Monroe Township, NJ)47
7*Brylee Boyce (Midland, TX)45
8*Rey Rey Ruiz (Midland, TX)40
9*Gracie Drake (Gate, OK)36
10*Rhyder Rosipal (Lipan, TX)33


1*Houston Childers (Fairmount, GA)93
2*Kale Roark (Guymon, OK)82
3*Kelby Frizzell (Sterling City, TX)77
4*Hazen Suit (Ames, OK)61
5*Brit Smith (Atmore, AL)53
6*Brant Cookston (Trinidad, TX)51
7*Lucas Koehn (Macon, MS)46
7*Jade Philipp (Huntsville, TX)46
9*Case Phillips (Wewoka, OK)43
10*Dax Reed (Clint, TX)42

Current USTRC or Key Card/Key Card Max membership is required to participate in the Resistol Junior Champion Program. Earned points begin counting at time of membership purchase thru the NFTR’s last shootout event. The season begins the Monday after the last USTRC Cinch NFTR event and ends the last day of the next USTRC Cinch NFTR event. Ropers must enter at least one Shootout division in the USTRC NFTR to be eligible. The award will be announced at the end of the USTRC Cinch National Finals of Team Roping event. 


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