Garrett Elmore is stringing together success after success in the WCRA, IPRA and college rodeo circuit competing for Southeastern Oklahoma State University, winning the average in the heading and calf roping at the IPRA’s 53rd IFR in January 2023.
The 22-year-old from Springer, Oklahoma, goes by the nickname “Hotshot” and earned $23,758 and $26,466 in the 2022 IPRA season in heading and calf roping, respectively.
Both a college student and a farrier, Elmore competed in the 2022 WCRA Rodeo Corpus Christi as an alternate entry, too, advancing to the semi-final round with brand-new partner Justin de la Garza.
With two solid horses in his trailer in his PRCA permit purchased, Elmore plans to qualify for the Prairie Circuit Finals, return to the WCRA’s Rodeo Corpus Christi, continue winning in the IPRA and American Cowboys Rodeo Association and apply to compete in the 2024 Cinch Timed Event Championship.
But who is this young man with a respectable resume and big goals?
The son of Kelly and Tammy Elmore, “Hotshot” grew up horseback in a family steeped in rodeo.
“According to my parents I could swing a rope before I could walk,” Elmore said. “I was two years old when I started riding. When my older sisters Kelsey and Rylee were practicing, they’d put me on a horse to keep up with me and keep me out of trouble easier.”
Elmore worked ropings from an early age too, pushing steers for producer and uncle Buddy Norman. He went from competing in dummy ropings to jackpotting as a young teen before breaking into the junior high rodeo scene.
“Roping is something I feel like I’ve had to work at, it’s not something that I feel came naturally. What I got out of it is what I put into it, and so the more I work at it, the better it gets.”–Garrett Elmore
Elmore earned the all-around state title in the Oklahoma Junior High School Rodeo Association in 2013 and 2014—competing in five events—and earned the Oklahoma High School Rodeo Heading Championship in 2017.
Splitting his time between team roping and calf roping, Elmore said he juggles both because of his trusty calf horse “Captain,” his quality partners in the team roping and the fact that if he does both—there is more money to be won.
Good Horsepower is the Best Insurance
Elmore’s first game-changing horse was a grade gelding named “Aflac” he got after high school. A blown-up barrel horse when he first came to Elmore, Aflac took over a year to get lined out for the heading.
“He was really fast and that was [all] he had going for him when I got him,” Elmore said. “We did a lot of slow work. It was a lot of time on the Smarty and roping slow steers. For a long time, it was a struggle. When I finally started hauling him, it was like the more I hauled him, the better he got.”
“He was insurance. Whenever I rode him, I felt like I had a chance to win whether it was a short start or a long start.”–Garrett Elmore
Elmore sold Aflac in 2022 to make way for his current head horse “Joker.”
Elmore Rolls Deep with Current Team at IFR
“I bought Joker off a friend in Northwest Oklahoma, and I’ve had him for the last six months,” Elmore said. “I bought him without ever running a steer on him. I’d seen him compete about a month before buying him and knew and he had a lot of potential, he just needed some small things.”
Elmore and Joker thrived together at the IPRA’s 53rd IFR in January 2023, placing in three of the four rounds with Cody Heflin on the heels, winning a total of $7,222 in four days and bringing home the average championship.
The anchor of Elmore’s team is calf horse “Captain.” Competing together for six years, Elmore said it’s hard to find fault in the 11-year-old gelding.
“He’s really fast getting across the line, and he’s flat,” Elmore said. “He never takes my throw away and when I finally do rope, he’s quick getting out of it.”
That consistency allowed Elmore to garner a hefty $10,556 in the calf roping at the IFR, winning both the average and the IPRA Championship for the year.
“My first IFR in 2022, I didn’t win a single check,” Elmore said. “So, this time I was out for blood. It was a pretty amazing week of rodeo.”
To execute his IFR dominance, Elmore focused on being on the barrier and positioning himself well in both the team roping and calf roping.
“In the team roping I wanted to catch every steer and set them up for my partner Cody Heflin,” Elmore said. “I had a lot of confidence in him and knew if I did my job and set them up, that we had a chance.”
“The Chance to Win” in the WCRA
Nominating his first events to the WCRA in early 2022, Elmore qualified for the May WCRA Triple Crown Event Rodeo Corpus Christi in both team roping and calf roping. Team roping with De La Garza of Refugio, Texas, the pair stopped the clock in 5.44 seconds in the tiny American Bank Center arena, earning a total of $2,600.
“The WCRA gives everybody a chance to win,” Elmore said. “Their format is set up to where somebody that doesn’t rodeo for a living can nominate, get in, and have a chance at good money.”
Currently, Elmore has Corpus in his sights once more, sitting atop the WCRA Rodeo Corpus Christi Calf Roping leaderboard with 2,529 points and is second on the heading leaderboard with 2,756 points.
The WCRA system lets athletes nominate rodeos they already compete in for points. Competitors can select their rodeo on the WCRA website or app, pay a nomination fee that varies based on the size of the event, and earn points that can qualify them for triple crown events or the VRQ incentive that pays cash at the end of the year.
One of the WCRA’s biggest draws is its million-dollar opportunity: win three triple crown events in a row and cash in on a $1 million bonus athletes like R.C. Landingham won in December 2022.