The Puyallup Wallop

Wade & Thorp Take Puyallup, Shift 2023 World Standings
Tyler Wade and Wesley Thorp scored a $19,000-payday at the Puyallup Cinch Playoffs event, where other earnings may have paved the way for ropers battling the Top 15 bubble.
Wesley Thorp heeling a steer for Tyler Wade at Nephi, Utah.
Tyler Wade and Wesley Thorp earlier in the year at Nephi, Utah. Wade and Thorp were the 2023 Cinch Playoffs champs in Puyallup. | Avid Visual Imagery photo

Tyler Wade and Wesley Thorp have kept their names in the headlines this summer and have continued to do so getting the $13,000-a-man Cinch Playoffs win in Puyallup, Washington, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023.

Wade and Thorp each brough home $19,833 over the weekend after winning the sudden-death round of four with a 4.9-second run, alone worth $13,000 a man. In the final round, five-time NFR qualifier Wade set up the run so Thorp could take the best heel shot possible.

“We came back to the finals, and every steer loped,” Wade, 31, said. “I told [Thorp,] we needed the same plan: I’m going to get close, and he could throw wherever he thought he needed to throw. And honestly, he heels so good, sometimes it’s better just to set him up and let him be the quarterback.”

It was a dog fight to the four-man round, too. Wade, riding “Spur,” and Thorp, riding “Juice,” were up in the first set in Puyallup, which started Thursday, Sept. 7. They were second in the round with a 4.4 to win $2,513 a man. In the second round, Sept. 8, they were out of the money on a 5.5-second run, but their 9.9 on two head put them in the top four of their set to advance to Sunday’s eight-man semifinals.

Sunday saw a salty set of teams in the semifinals, and the pressure was on, seemingly except for Wade and Thorp. They won the eight-man round with a 4.7 to move on to the final round of four. Teams that qualified for the final round are also ensured entry into the Governor’s Cup in Sioux Falls—the final event of this year’s Cinch Playoff Series— but Wade and Thorp entered Puyallup No. 4 and No. 3 in the Playoff standings, meaning they were already looking good for Sioux Falls. Knowing that may have knocked off some pressure, 2019 World Champion Thorp believes.

“It was always in the back of our mind just to do the best we can with the money that’s in front of us and see if we can get close enough to achieve that goal,” Thorp, 27, said. “So, that was more on the radar than nerves for Sioux Falls, or anything like that just because we thought we had already got into there, probably. I’m not saying we would have played it a lot different, but if you know that you’re going to advance, then you go do what it takes to advance. Sometimes, you don’t take as many risks if you know for sure what’s at stake.”

Their 4.9 in the final round won them the $13,000-check for the Puyallup win, and their 19.5 on four head also pocketed them both $4,320. 

Their $19,000 check isn’t easy to come by at this point in the year, either.

“It’s not always easy to win in the Northwest,” Thorp explained. “A lot of times there’s less teams, and it’s usually all the good teams. Steers are getting a little more uneven a lot of times, and guys are going at them because they’re either safe for the NFR and don’t have the pressure, or they’re trying to get into the NFR and catch up, or they just don’t have anything to lose. 

“It just seems like the checks are always a little bit harder to come by this time of year,” he continued.  “Anytime you win a nice check to finish off that part of the season, it’s always kind of a good boost of momentum to carry into the fall.”

Now sitting No. 4 with $132,090.51 won on the year for Wade and No. 2 with $149,317.78 for Thorp, they’re able to head home and lay relatively low until Sioux Falls, which is a first for Wade. 

“I’ve always learned from the experience, the good and the bad,” Wade said. “I’ve had a lot of rough goes out here and a lot of bubble years. I’ve never really had it made or sewed up before Puyallup but maybe once; I always needed to win a little bit at the end, or I needed to win a lot. I’ve been on the bubble like three times at Stephenville, the last rodeo of the year, and needed to place and missed every single time. And I’ve won Stephenville three times, but I never won it when I needed to. So, I know what that’s like and just to not have that pressure, it’s kind of been the year we’ve been waiting for.”

Top 15 shuffle

Tanner Tomlinson and Patrick Smith have had a solid year, both sitting No. 7 in the world standings before Puyallup with $104,768.48. The reigning NFR average champs were a force to be reckoned with in Puyallup, bringing home $18,834 a man. Now with $118,705.98 won on the year, Tomlinson sits No. 6 in the world and Smith sits No. 5, still with a trip to the Governor’s Cup in Sioux Falls at the end of the month.

Who else cashed significant checks?

With only three weeks remaining in the 2023 ProRodeo season, who’s on the bubble may be the most important thing to watch right now. And that big purse in Puyallup inevitably shook up the bubble race greatly. 

Clay Smith and Coleby Payne saw the payday they needed to push them into the Top 15. Prior to Puyallup, Smith was No. 16 on the head side with $79,085.86 won on the year and Payne No. 19 on the heel side with $74,150.56. Smith needed only $997.58 to jump into the Top 15, and their $12,757-weekend in Puyallup exceeded that, bringing him to No. 12 with $88,098.36 now won on the year. Payne, however, needed $3,397.91 to hit the Top 15. With $83,163.06 won on the heel side after Puyallup, Payne is now No. 15 in the world standings. Qualifying to the sudden death round of four Sunday in Puyallup also qualifies them for Sioux Falls.

Before Puyallup, Luke Brown and Hunter Koch both had $78,599.09 won, with Brown at 17th and Koch at No. 14. But after adding $8,931 a man, they now have $85,916.12 in earnings to move Brown to No. 15 and Koch to No. 13 They finished fourth in Puyallup, so they’re also guaranteed another chance to solidify their trip to Vegas come December. 

Trey Yates may not have cashed in what he would have liked in Puyallup, but he still added $3,350 to his earnings. That takes his No. 22 position in the world standings with $71,415.91 to No. 20 with $76,099.36. At No. 23 in the Playoff standings, though, Sioux Falls is potentially out of the question, meaning Yates must make some major hits at the remaining regular season rodeos to find himself in the Top 15.

Baby Steps

Cody Snow and Ross Ashford teamed up just for Puyallup, where both added $2,338 to their standings this weekend. While they may not have moved much in the standings, their weekend served as good defense to not move down much either. Snow entered has kept his No. 13 position, now with $87,467.58 won on the year. Ashford entered Puyallup No. 17 and now has $78,850.84 to sit No. 16For Snow, Sioux Falls may be out of the question as he’s No. 17 in the Playoff standings, but Ashford still has a chance at the top eight as he is currently No. 10.

Regular season partners Clint Summers and Jake Long are separated in the world standings, but after Puyallup, Summers is inching closer and closer to Top 15 territory. Summers and Long won just $1,675 in Puyallup, moving Summers to No. 19 with $73,314.56 on the head side. Long, on the other hand, entered Puyallup No. 12 with $85,447.12 and now sits No. 10 with $89,787.02 won on the year. Also of note, Long sits No. 8 in the Playoff standings, meaning he has a chance at Sioux Falls, but Summers is 14th, meaning Long may be making a high-paying trip to South Dakota with a different partner.

Related Articles
American Rodeo Team Roping
American Dreams
What's The American Rodeo Team Roping Draw? (Plus How to Watch, Payout Details and More)
March_24_2023_NFR_R05_TR_Tyler Wade_Wesley Thorp_HRae_002
Standing on Business
Forged From the Fire of Humble Beginnings
Cutter Machado and Dalton Pearce at the 2023 California Circuit Finals.
best pals
“It’s way more fun when you're doing it with your friend.” – Cutter Machado and Dalton Pearce Win 2023 California Circuit Titles
5 Flat
Following Your Steer's Tracks
R8 Wade Thorp Action Photos-9
who's winning?
Final: 2023 NFR Team Roping Results