Waiting Game: Yeahquo Brothers Take the Win at San Angelo
J.C. and L.J. Yeahquo stayed in the driver’s seat at the 2023 San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo taking home the win April 15 with 12.3 seconds on three steers.
Brothers J.C. and L.J. Yeahquo were 12.3 seconds on three head to take the San Angelo title. Photo by Andersen CBarC
Brothers J.C. and L.J. Yeahquo were 12.3 seconds on three head to take the 2023 San Angelo title. Photo by Andersen CBarC

J.C. and L.J. Yeahquo roped their first two steers at the 2023 San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo two weeks before they took home the short round and average victory April 15 with 12.3 seconds on three steers.

The brothers, who both now live in Crescent, Oklahoma, each took home $15,151 to give them both $31,794 won so far on the year, bumping J.C. into seventh in the world on the heading side and L.J. into eighth on the heeling side. The wait to rope their San Angelo short round steer was more than worth it. 

I knew we were strong, and I knew we were going to make it back,” L.J., 23, said. “After you did your job, you just have to let it play out. You can’t be nervous about it, in my opinion.” 

The Yeahquo brothers won the short round with a 3.9-second run on a tricky steer.

“We saw a video of that steer the other night and we weren’t just real fond of him because he kind of followed the header,” J.C., 22, said. “Not that he was a bad cow. Just when the head rope would go on, he’d kind of step about two steps into you and kind of make it not as fast. But my brother, he waited there patiently and as soon as he got his first legal hop across there, he was just so aggressive, and he heeled him. And that horse he heels on, it comes tight so fast. I think that’s what made the run was my brother.”

Because of the steer’s nature, L.J. knew he had to be ready to rope at any time.

“I knew that I was just going to have to react,” L.J. said. “I wasn’t going to be able to have a game plan on a steer like that that makes different trips. The steer came out and he almost wanted to stop at the barrier line in a sense. And then I was kind of worried right there because my brother was obviously gaining on him, and his head rope just went so tight around the horns and I was like, ‘Wow, this is it right here.’ The steer kind of followed a little bit, so I had to be real patient right there.”

The 2021 reserve NIRA champion team ropers knew it was possible the short round could fall apart, but either way they were going for it. L.J. told his younger brother to go at their short round steer no matter what.

“That kind of helps me with my mind because if we had to be five seconds right there, I would’ve probably split the horns or something like that,” J.C. said, laughing. “I don’t know, it worked out the way the Lord wanted it too.”

Long Round Runs

J.C. and L.J. split the first round with a 3.9-second run to win them both $5,188. J.C. knew he wanted to get the most out of their first steer.

“That steer was great,” J.C. said. “I just try to get as much money as I can out of every steer. I just tried to see a good start, and I never wanted to be in the barrier too much just because I like to use my rope a little bit anyways. So, it’s kind of always helped me a little bit with that.”

This mindset of getting as much money out of every steer comes from 2011 World Champion Jhett Johnson. The Yeahquo brothers were travelling last summer with Johnson’s sons, Carson and Kellan—the 2021 NIRA champion team ropers.

“When I was rodeoing this summer, I was just kind of in the process of when I would go to the two- or three-headers I would just go and catch them,” J.C. explained. “And we buddied with the Johnsons and they were on the phone with their dad and they were talking about their runs. Jhett said, ‘You need to go and just quit trying to catch the cows and get as much money as you can out of every cow instead of just trying to play the game.’ And so that kind of has always stuck with me, that saying right there.”

J.C. and L.J. ran their second steer that same day, March 28, and were out of the money in the second round with a 4.5 but managed to stay in the driver’s seat of the average race on two head.

“My brother did some super quarterbacking,” L.J. said. “He got it on that steer, and I had to take him maybe two and a half hops. I picked the steer off right there, but the head rope went on him and the steer followed around. I don’t know if I maybe caught a lead change in my horse, but I fell behind and I had to make something happen right there. It didn’t feel like a very easy heel shot, but we got by that one I would say.”

Yeahquo Horses

J.C. was riding a 12-year-old gelding he calls El Chapo that he bought in 2019. J.C.’s dad was the one that pointed the horse out to him. El Chapo is more fast-footed, something J.C. was needing.

“He’s kind of my go-fast horse,” J.C. said. “He is always so flat across the line and he never takes my throw away, but he is just quick enough that there’s never any slack in the rope If I throw too much. He works out pretty good.”

L.J.’s partner is a 12-year-old gelding named Hangman that he got in 2022. Hangman is strictly L.J.’s rodeo horse because he’s not exactly made for the jackpot scene. 

“He’s so fast, and he’s so quick to get around the corner or do whatever I need to do,” L.J. said. “I really love him in the rodeo set up, but I still can’t really jackpot on him. I think his feet are just too fast; I can’t get in time with him. I maybe rope on the third or fourth hop, something like that. So that’s a little hard on me, so he’s just strictly my rodeo horse.”

Hangman not only won San Angelo but also made an appearance at the 2023 Charlie 1 Horse Breakaway Roping at the BFI. Danielle Lowman, 2021 Indian National Finals Rodeo breakaway roping world champion and 2021 NFBR qualifier, was in need of some horsepower and contacted the Yeahquo family. She rode a head horse of J.C.’s and a six-year-old heel horse of L.J.’s in the team roping and Hangman in the breakaway. 

“I tell you, I was so, so nervous whenever she breakawayed on him,” L.J. said. “I had never seen him go in the breakaway, but it turns out he was a really, really sweet breakaway horse. So, I got a lot of comments on how fast he is and how fast that he got her to that shot.”

Hangman’s versatility can be credited to his love of his job, according to L.J.

“He’s just a straight up athlete,” L.J. said. “He obviously likes doing what he does; that would be why he’s so good at both events. But he’s such a willing horse, and he doesn’t want to get in your way. I wouldn’t say that he’s easy to ride, he’s definitely a lot of horse and he’s like a souped-up sports car. If you can drive a sports car, you can ride this horse.”

Brotherly Dynamics

The sibling pairing doesn’t always work for every team, but it sure does for the Yeahquos. The brothers, who are both business majors at Oklahoma State University, have been partners their entire lives, and they couldn’t imagine it any other way.

“I don’t know anything else,” L.J. said. “I’ve never had a different rodeo-run partner. He’s always been my first partner—in the arena and outside of the arena. It’s like if somebody invites me or invites him to go do something, they know that they’re getting both of us.”

But it hasn’t always been so easy for the two. Like any sibling pair, bickering comes into play at times, and J.C. and L.J. had to work on their dynamics.

“I just kind of had to get out of my shoes and take a step back and look at the big picture,” L.J., whom his brother describes as the more cool, calm and collected one, explained. “Like, that’s toxic. You can’t be arguing and stuff because we’re both showing up, we’re both doing this for a living. We don’t want to miss, but it’s inevitable. Things are going to not go your way. It’s probably been a year now that we’ve just been professional about everything.” 

The duo will stay in the Central Plains, hitting a few college rodeos and circuit rodeos, rather than heading out West for the California run. The decision wasn’t easy, but J.C. knows that the longer scores on the West Coast aren’t his game right now.

“My horses were very slow growing up,” J.C. said. “They were all bred from my grandpa’s ranch up in North Dakota—old Foundation-bred, big horses. I got to rope on those horses, and they were really true, but they just weren’t fast at all. So, the closest I ever was to the cow was at the start of the arena or the chute. So I would always try to throw as fast as I could. So, I’ve always been able to practice that shot a lot more than just scoring one out and running one down anyways.”

Regardless, the brothers are excited for the rest of the year, given this is the best start they’ve had in their careers. 

“I think this year we can make our percentages go up a little more because we’re not having to try to win first, stay up there or to catch up every time,” J.C. said. “So I think our percentages might go up a little bit. I’ve got two really good horses right now that I feel will be good everywhere. I think, for that part, I’m pretty excited.”

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