Hall-of-Fame heeler Rich Skelton of Llano, Texas, never misses a WCRA Major. This December, he’ll be setting them down in Fort Worth at the $360,000 Cowtown Christmas event for Brit Ellerman of Colorado. Ellerman, whose dad is five-time NFR header Jay Ellerman, roped with Trey Yates in college and is fresh off winning the Mountain States Circuit Finals Rodeo with Marcus Bannister.
“He stayed with me one winter and I roped with his dad at the Finals; I’ve known him forever,” said Skelton.
The eight-time world champ is playing his winter rodeo schedule by ear, depending on whether his good bay horse has been successfully rehabbed after injury. He’s also got a 4-year-old that he showed at futurities, but isn’t ready for hammer-time.
“The WCRA works good for me right now,” Skelton said. “I can do my schools and go to some jackpots and just nominate them, then still go be competitive and rope for good money.”
Skelton said the nomination process is easy and most everything counts, from your backyard ropings to local amateur rodeos. His 17-year-old barrel-racing daughter Rainey recently went to a Major in Las Vegas and won $60,000.
“Rodeo should stay like this on down the road,” said Rich. “The guys in charge of this are thinking outside the box. It was pretty cool going out to Vegas and Rainey winning that kind of money. And the coolest thing about it was her being underage. In the PRCA, she’d have had to be 18. In the WCRA, you can stay home and go around the house and still have a chance to go make good money.”