Rodeo Carolina Champs

Theriot & Curry Claim 2023 WCRA Rodeo Carolina Win Ahead of First NFR
In a Triple Crown of Rodeo Round that fell apart, Marcus Theriot and Cole Curry stayed the course to take home the WCRA Rodeo Carolina win and $15,000.
Marcus Theriot turning a steer for Cole Curry to win the 2023 WCRA Rodeo Carolina.
Marcus Theriot and Cole Curry took the 2023 WCRA Rodeo Carolina win for $15,000. | Photo by Bullstock Media courtesy WCRA

In a 2023 WCRA Rodeo Carolina Triple Crown of Rodeo Round that was plagued with legs in the team roping, Marcus Theriot and Cole Curry bucked the trend with the only clean run, winning the championship and $15,000 in 5.7 seconds.

“We wanted it to be a little bit better of a run than it was, but we got him captured clean,” Curry, 23, said. “Marcus has done a real good job. The steer went to let up a little bit, and I had to go back to him and make sure [to catch]. It just fell apart today.”

Though it’s never ideal, they’ve been in similar situations before, and they knew they had to create a new rhythm for the round.

“We’ve been in some situations like this before and we beat ourselves, so I really tried to focus on not beating ourselves and getting the clean time,” Curry said. “If there would have been some quicker times before us, we would’ve been a little bit more aggressive. But really, on a performance like this, it’s going to go with the rhythm of the performance, and there wasn’t really any rhythm up until us.”

Theriot, the 2021 Cinch Timed Event champion, didn’t particularly like their own rhythm, though. When things fall apart, it can be easy to safety up, and Theriot felt like he eased up more than he should have. Regardless, fate was on their side.

“First nature, you want to back way off, like I did, which I preach to myself to not do because it throws off the whole rhythm of the run,” Theriot, 26, said. “Just like when we practice and we pretend like we’re high call somewhere, we never back off like that. Whenever I was seeing leg after leg, I knew a clean run was going to win good, but I also knew there were some good teams after us, so I definitely didn’t want to win third. We were out for first and, luckily, it worked out that way.”

As first-time NFR qualifiers in 2023, their $15,000-payday isn’t just good for their pocketbooks, it’s also beneficial for their mental game.

“The $15,000 is huge for us anytime of the year, but to get this win before we go to the Finals, it’s huge,” Theriot said. “It’s our biggest win this year and anytime you’re winning, it carries confidence, and confidence carries you to more winning.”

Marcus Theriot and Cole Curry pose with their checks after winning the 2023 WCRA Rodeo Carolina.
Marcus Theriot and Cole Curry pose with their checks after winning the 2023 WCRA Rodeo Carolina. | Photo by Bullstock Media courtesy WCRA

Rodeo Carolina recap

Theriot and Curry were seeded into the Progressive Rounds, so they opted out of the Qualifying Rounds Thursday, Oct. 5

Then, on Friday, they were just out of the money in the first Progressive Round with a 5.76-second run. Their 5.3 on Saturday, Oct. 7, in the second Progressive Round landed them third in the round and with $750 in their pockets. With an 11.15 on two steers, they were fourth in the average to advance to the Triple Crown of Rodeo Round and take home $1,000.

For Sunday’s final round, Theriot and Curry drew the steer Nelson Wyatt and Trey Johnson were 5.3 seconds on to win second in the first Progressive Round Friday night—and they were excited for him. 

“We had a good steer,” Theriot said. “I knew he was a little bit slower and there hadn’t been a clean run. I didn’t really mean to back off that much, but it just kind of happened that way and we caught clean. I did not think we was going to win it, but it was God’s plan we did.

“I was a little bit late and when the steers get slower like that and you’re late, it just seems to take a lot more time,” he continued. “I didn’t really do a sharp job heading him. He was slowing down when I was getting there and I was coming in hot, and it kind of gave a false [sense of] where the corner was going to be. Cole had to go another jump or two, and he did a good job not panicking and throwing. It’s kind of like I told him, it’s really nice sometimes to have a time on the board and they have to beat you.”

New mounts for the win

Both Theriot and Curry were riding horses newer to their arsenal. Theriot cracked out Colt 45, a gelding he bought from Jake Cooper.

“I haven’t gotten to ride him much; he’s kind of a new horse,” Theriot said. “We’ve been on the bubble for the last two or three months, and I haven’t really wanted to ride him—I just kind of wanted to ride my old faithful. But we got over here to this deal and I knew it was going to come down to one head, and this arena’s big, so I thought he would be good at this situation—and he was really good. He worked good all week.”

Curry was paired up with his 9-year-old gelding, “Bullseye,” who he bought just two weeks ago.

“I bought him and rode him at Pasadena and sent him to Sioux Falls and had some luck on him up there,” Curry said. “He’s a winner. He’s really easy. He never gets in my way.”

Family affair

Theriot and Curry are hot off their first NFR qualification, and their roping just seems to mesh. But it’s not just luck—the Mississippi boys have paired up as roping partners since childhood.

“We’re actually distant cousins,” Theriot said. “I’ve been heading for [Cole] since he was probably 12 years old. I cracked him out at the rodeos when he was 13 or 14. There’s not a lot of options for partners in the Southeast, and he has roped good for a long time. He has learned a lot over the 10 years we’ve roped. He’s done good this year.”

So far, the partnership has been familial and fun for the team.

“It’s pretty fun, sometimes,” Curry said with a laugh. “We get along a lot better than most partners. We’re really close, so it’s good.”

On the WCRA train

Prior to Rodeo Carolina, Theriot and Curry didn’t frequent the WCRA scene, but it wasn’t on purpose.

“I really don’t [nominate] because I always kind of forget,” Theriot admitted. “But it is really crazy for a guy not to nominate. You’re already going to that rodeo anyway, so you’re not having to drive to other places to qualify, and these [rodeos] are great.”

Theriot and Curry knew the benefits of Rodeo Carolina would be worthwhile and, luckily, it worked in their schedule.

“We nominated because of the payout and the production over here,” Curry said. “It’s a chance at a lot of money, and we didn’t have a lot going on this weekend.”

After being able to win more than $15,000 total over the weekend and putting up minimal “entry fees,” they plan to stay nominating.

“I think we nominated three rodeos and probably had $600 in it to win $17,000, so it was a very good investment on our part at this one,” Theriot said. “I definitely plan to get to a lot more of them.” 

Triple Crown of Rodeo Round

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