Garrett Rogers and Tyler Worley both won their first Columbia River Circuit titles Oct. 21, 2023. Rogers claimed the year-end heading title after roping with Jake Minor all year, and Worley won the heeling, primarily roping behind Jeff Flenniken this year.
For Rogers, an Oregon native, the year-end title came after making the decision to focus on circuit rodeoing.
“It’s pretty cool,” Rogers, 30, said. “I didn’t really rodeo much out of the circuit this year. I stayed home and went to the circuit rodeos. Pendleton was huge; I won the second round at Pendleton for $5,800, and that was where I got ahead of Riley [Minor].”
Arkansas’ Worley clinched the year-end title in his first year claiming the Columbia River Circuit. The number of good rodeos that count for the circuit was exciting to the three-time NFR heeler.
“It was a cool circuit,” Worley 30, said. “It’s crazy there are so many big rodeos that count. If you win at the right rodeos, there’s potentially no way anyone could catch you at the circuit finals. That’s how much money there is.”
Garrett Rogers seals the deal
Rogers is a two-time NFR qualifier, but with a cattle operation, two kids and a wife at home, staying on the circuit seemed best for 2023.
“We run a yearling operation,” Rogers said. “I went 50/50 partners (on the operation) with Darrel Sewell, so it was pretty easy to stay home. And I still get to circuit rodeo. It’s a real good circuit—a lot of good rodeos in the circuit.”
Perhaps his most important run of 2023 was when he won the second round of the Pendleton Round-Up for $5,817 to take control of the standings. Rogers roped with Jake Minor, whom he made the 2016 and 2017 NFRs with, this year but headed for his 2022 partner Justin Davis at the circuit finals in Redmond.
With a $3,000 lead on Riley Minor going into Redmond, Rogers just wanted to catch. He and Davis won third in Round 1 and second in Round 2, but he waved it off their third-round steer, bumping him from potentially winning the average. Cashing in $3,497, however, Rogers secured the year-end title.
He had multiple equine counterparts in 2023, but the horse that helped him win the year-end belonged to a friend.
“I rode quite a few different horses, and I mounted out a lot, but the horse I rode at the circuit finals was Dale Benevides’ gray horse that he’s had forever,” Rogers said. “Pretty good horse. I rode him at Pendleton, too.”
As for 2024, Rogers will stay on the circuit front.
Another circuit for Tyler Worley
“I went to 23 of them this summer and we had to go to 21,” Worley explained. “Pendleton, Ellensburg, Kennewick and Bremerton all count. There are some really big rodeos that count for that circuit. You really don’t have to do anything crazy to get to your rodeo count. That’s what I liked about it. We didn’t have to go out of our way to get our count in; we were going there regardless.”
After winning $12,348 and second in the average at Pendleton, he had a solid lead in the circuit. Worley roped with Charlie White at the circuit finals—whom he’d never met before the first round.
They won second in the first round and fourth in the third round. Despite a no-time in Round 2, Worley was impressed with White.
“He waved it off the second one, but the steer was coming left, and he missed his slack,” Worley said. “I’m like, ‘Man, that’s tough. That’s hard to make that work.’ And it’s not a big arena anyway, so it’s kind of tough conditions. The barrier’s long and he did a great job.”
Worley jump-rode a horse of Jason Duby’s, knowing he would be mounted well because they’ve buddied in the past.
“He’s got good horses, and I’ve got to watch him go enough,” Worley said. “I don’t think he really hauled that one when we buddied—he rode a different one—but I’ve watched this one since he started hauling him and he just looks so easy. He’s a horse that makes your job easy.”
In 2024, Worley plans to rope with Brye Crites and claim the Prairie Circuit, which he claimed in college.
“I can stay home for another month if I do the Prairie [Circuit] and be home with my wife and my little boy,” Worley said. “I can hang out at the house just a little bit longer. I think that’s probably what I need to do”