After an intense season-long competition, Junior Zambrano was named Resistol Rookie Heeler of the Year for 2022 after he earned $29,233.09 in PRCA earnings during the ProRodeo regular season.
“It feels beyond awesome to be the Resistol Rookie of the Year,” said Zambrano, 24, of Nogales, Arizona. “This was a goal of mine to accomplish ever since I became a PRCA cowboy and being a PRCA cowboy is all I have wanted to be.”
As the season came to an end, there was less than $800 separating the top three heelers—Zambrano; Batesville, Arkansas’ Blaine Turner; and Tennessee’s Garrett Smith. In the end, Zambrano proved victorious.
“I just tried to stick to the plan. I just showed up to the rodeos and tried to do my job and try not to get in my head too much. Just keep grinding.”
It is an exceptional victory for Zambrano, who rode a bay mare, Callie, that he purchased from Arnold Burruel, of Marana, Arizona. The mare’s original owner was RT Heredia, a close friend of Zambrano’s who passed away in 2018.
Having kicked off his career with such a notable accomplishment, Zambrano, who finished just $2,628 shy of a PRCA world standings ranking, is looking forward to achieving even more in 2023.
“I will be entered as much as I can next year,” Zambrano said. “I will go to a few rodeos next month including our circuit finals, wait for Denver, then go from there. Making the NFR is absolutely my next goal.”
With 65 rodeos under his belt, countless miles logged and highs and lows encountered, Zambrano has learned one thing that will serve him well as he moves forward:
“To be able to go through, learn about and overcome a lot of the challenges of rodeoing all year was a dream come true in itself. To come out on top as the Resistol Rookie of the Year showed me that, if you believe in yourself and can get the right people around, anything is possible.”