Gaining Ground

Cutter Machado: Catching Up in the Resistol Rookie Race
While staying close to home this year, California's Cutter Machado sits in the No. 2 position in the Resistol Rookie of the Year race on the heading side.
Cutter Machado heading a steer at Lake Havasu, Arizona, in 2023.
Dalton Pearce heeling at Lake Havasu. Pearce and his family convert their home arena to mimic the NFR setup. | Avid Visual Imagery photo

Santa Maria, California’s Cutter Machado sits No. 2 in the 2023 Resistol Rookie of the Year race on the heading side, with $29,259.58 in earnings, much of which he won close to home.

*Note: Standings and amounts are unofficial as we await for the PRCA System and ProCom online outage to resolve.

Taylor Vollin: Tell me how you got into rodeo.

Cutter Machado: My grandpa and my dad have always rodeoed, and so I started rodeoing when I was four. My whole family has rodeoed, so that’s pretty much how I got into it. 

TV: What made you decide to go for your rookie year this year?

CM: Last year I went to the Permit Finals, and I did pretty good. I also kind of wanted to get into bigger rodeos this year. I was kind of tired of being on my permit, and this year, I’m just trying to get into Houston, Fort Worth—top 50 rodeos—next year. If I can get into those winter rodeos, then it makes next year a lot easier on a guy. 

Taylor Vollin: Has the goal always been to win the Rookie of the Year title?

CM: Yes, I wanted to win Rookie of the Year. But then I started getting behind a little bit more, so then I was like, “Well, shoot, might as well just try and get into the winter rodeos.” But now, I kinda have caught up where it’s possible to maybe catch Cole (Thomas). You never know what could happen. 

TV: How has your year been so far?

CM: We started off in the (California) circuit, but we did not do very good at all. We didn’t have much won until we went to Reno and we placed in a round at Reno. We won $4,500, and then we went to Prineville and we did alright there and won about $2,000. After that we won about $11,000 over the Fourth, and we just won fourth at Salinas, so that should probably be another $4,000. But before Reno, we didn’t have much won at all; we didn’t do very good in the circuit at all. This win at Salinas helped a lot.

TV: Salinas is a big rodeo, too. It must be nice to place there and prove yourself even more?

CM: For sure. It’s helped us out, too, because, when we’re going to Caldwell, we thought we were going to have to come back for some circuit rodeos to be able to make it in the circuit finals. But, placing there makes it where we don’t have to come home. 

TV: What was your plan at Salinas?

CM: It’s just knocking them down there. The first steer I was really close to breaking out, and he had small horns and I roped a neck. After I was that close to the barrier it kind of scared me. So, then I just planned on being about two feet off the barrier, and I knew if I could just get there and catch him and give Dalton (Pearce) a good handle, he’s not going to miss. So, that was my plan. 

TV: Tell me more about your partnership with Dalton.

CM: We started when we were both in college and we lived together. So, we’d always practice and we roped pretty good together; our styles match. We’re pretty much best friends so it works out.

TV: Have you guys mostly stayed on the West Coast? Why so?

CM: Yes. We went to the Northwest over the Fourth, but that’s pretty much it. We haven’t gone to Texas or anything.

I was going to school, so I couldn’t really go during the winter rodeos or anything because I always had class. But, now that I graduated, I could go over the Fourth; I can go wherever. If I get into the Winter Rodeos next year, then I’m not obligated to anything, really.

TV: How do you think that that has affected you in the rookie race, not really being able to go outside of California and the west side of the country? 

CM: I think it’s affected me quite a bit. I feel like I didn’t really start going to a lot of rodeos until Reno. We just went to circuit rodeos. Once we did good over the Fourth and stuff—we won $16,000 in two weeks—we kind of realized we needed to start going more.

TV: I think that says a lot for you to have stayed in this area primarily but still be that high in the Rookie of the Year standings.

CM: There was a point where Cole was way ahead of me. And I was like, “It’s probably not possible.” I don’t know how far ahead of me he is now because of the system being down, but I think he was almost $20,000 ahead of me at one point. I’m just not really paying much attention to it now. If I win it, I win it. It’s no big deal. It’d be cool to win it, but it’s not the end of the world.

TV: How are you feeling at this point in the summer?

CM: I had to come back home a week before Salinas for my cousin’s wedding, so I missed a whole week of good rodeos. So, we’re ready to get back out there again. We’ll start back up the week of Caldwell. We were doing pretty good, so we aren’t that tired. It just sucked that I had to come home.

Coverage of the Resistol Rookie of the Year race is brought to you by our friends at Resistol.

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