Gaona Drives Away with Resistol Rookie Heading Standings

John Gaona continues to lead the Resistol Rookie heading standings, while working toward helping his partner, Trevor Nowlin, qualify for his first Wrangler NFR.

John Gaona, of Winkelman, Arizona, maintains a strong lead in the Resistol Rookie heading standings with $19,813.30 in season earnings as of Aug. 10, 2021. Gaona, who has a nearly $5,000 lead on the No. 2 man, Reno Stoebner, is heading for Trevor Nowlin, who is 19th in the PRCA World Standings with $36,596.25. Gaona is focusing on continuing his lead in the Resistol Rookie race, as well as getting his heeler qualified for what could be his first Wrangler NFR.

Kaitlin Gustave: You’ve held onto the No. 1 spot in the Resistol Rookie Standings for over two weeks now. Do you watch the standings?

John Gaona: I started looking at it. Trevor had told me that it was a big accomplishment to win it and he told me that I was winning it, so I’ve been looking quite a bit lately.

KG: You won and filled your permit at Rodeo Rapid City, your first-ever ProRodeo. What would winning a Resistol Rookie title mean for you and your career?

JG: It would be a dream come true to be able to win it for my first year rodeoing.

Arizona Cowboys Gaona and Nowlin Win Rodeo Rapid City

KG: You are also 42nd in the PRCA World Standings. There’s still a lot of summer left, but how are you feeling about the World Standings?

JG: I have a little bit. I’ve been looking at Trevor’s mainly. I’m trying to get him to the Finals. That’s my main goal right now.

KG: What’s it like being on the road for the first time?

JG: It’s fun. It’s really fun to meet people that you’ve idolized your whole life. It’s really nice to be living the dream.

KG: This is a dream come true, right?

JG: It is. It’s awesome to be able to do this. I wouldn’t be able to do this without Daniel and Elaine—Trevor’s parents. They help me so much.

KG: The last time we talked was at the beginning of the season, when you won Rodeo Rapid City. How has it been since that big win?

JG: It was kind of downhill for a while and then it started coming back up. It’s been up and down.

KG: How are you mentally and how has your roping been?

JG: Mentally, I’m just trying to improve myself. My roping has been off and on.

Trevor Brazile’s Mental Game Perspective

KG: What are you trying to improve?

JG: I’m trying to focus on riding a lot more and less throwing. I’m trying to set my partner up for a better shot.

Tackling Two Perspectives: Roping and Riding

KG: Is it challenging to keep your heading sharp on the road?

JG: We were home a couple days ago and got to practice, but it’s hard when you’re out here. It’s a lot different. I’m used to practicing every day. You can’t just go back and go practice and improve yourself.

KG: What about horsepower? What do you have to head on?

JG: Both of them are Trevor Nowlin’s. I have a roan (Ferrari) and a gray horse (Smoke Wagon) that I ride. If it’s a longer start, I’ll use the gray and, if it’s shorter, I’ll use the roan.

KG: Is there anyone you go to for help?

JG: I usually call my brother, Steven Gaona. I’ll send him videos and stuff and he tells me what I did wrong and what I should be improving on.

KG: What’s the best part about being on the road?

JG: Mine and Trevor’s bond. We’re like brothers. It’s a lot easier when you’re roping with your brother. It’s pretty easy to haul with each other. 

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