Meet the Edgars

Who were the Young Kids in the Cheyenne Short Round?
Five things to know about Edgar Aguilar and Edgar Villegas, the Mountain States Circuit permit holders that held their own at the 2023 Cheyenne Frontier Days.
Edgar Aguilar and Edgar Villegas roping a steer at the 2023 Cheyenne Frontier Days.
Edgar Aguilar and Edgar Villegas, Cheyenne 2023. | Click Thompson photo

Edgar Aguilar, 18, and 20-year-old Edgar Villegas roped like veterans at the 2023 Cheyenne Frontier Days, finishing fifth on championship Sunday. The best part? They’re only on their permits. So, just who are the Edgars from the Mountain States Circuit? Here’s five things to know about the young guns.

Keep up with ProRodeo circuit standings all year long with updates from The Team Roping Journal, thanks to our friends at Fast Back Ropes.

#1. Roping is a family affair for both

Aguilar and Villegas both got their starts team roping with their dads. Aguilar first picked up a rope when he was a kid and took to instructional videos to advance his skill.

“I’ve been roping pretty much all my life,” Aguilar said. “I started when I was around five. My dad, he ropes, but doesn’t really rope too much anymore. And then that’s when I started taking it seriously. Just roped myself through it, and I watched a lot of YouTube videos.”

Villegas has also been around it his entire life, with multiple family members helping him along the way.

“My entire family ropes a lot,” Villegas said. “I’ve been around it all of my life, to be honest. I started roping in Mexico when I was about nine, but it was always just practicing with my dad heeling for him. When we got here (Colorado) six years ago, I started going to jackpots and that’s when I started getting even better.”

Edgar Aguilar spinning a steer in Cheyenne 2023.
Edgar Aguilar, Cheyenne 2023. | Click Thompson photo

#2. Making Noise in Cheyenne

Though young in age, Aguilar and Villegas didn’t rope like kids at the Daddy of ‘em All. They were 9.0 seconds in the qualifying round to move on to the performances and drew up Saturday, July 22, 2023, where they finished second in their set with a 10.1 to advance to the semifinals. In the Saturday, July 29 semifinal, the young guns were 10.2 seconds to advance to the finals, and on championship Sunday, Aguilar and Villegas roped their steer in 10.6 seconds to finish fifth overall. Despite the nerves, they handled it like champs.

“Our first one, I was definitely calmer than the other two,” Aguilar said. “Our second one I was really nervous, but I just went out there and did my job, and I knew Edgar was going to do his. The short round I wasn’t as nervous, surprisingly. I was a little late—I didn’t go until the barrier cracked—and I was like, ‘Oh God, I need to get up there.’ That was the biggest crowd we’ve roped in front of.”

Claiming the Mountain States means many of their circuit rodeos are major rodeos—like Cheyenne, Casper, Greeley and Denver, just to name a few. And while it’s intimidating it’s also exciting for the up-and-comers.

“It’s crazy,” Villegas said. “I was so nervous (at Cheyenne) on every steer. I think I can rope a steer, but seeing the other guys makes me nervous because it was crazy. I was walking my horse and I just see Junior Nogueira, and on the other side was Buddy Hawkins. For sure intimidating, but we were just having fun all week.”

#3. Did we mention they’re only permit holders?

At just 18 and 20, Aguilar and Villegas are new to the ProRodeo scene and in their first year on their permits. They saw the opportunity and thought it seemed fun, so they took a chance.

“To be honest, we just did it for fun,” Villegas said with a laugh. “We did it because we wanted to rope in Denver. We know a lot of people there, so we thought it would be cool. We didn’t do any good there, but we started going to the closest rodeos—nothing crazy—and we saw that we were doing alright so we decided to keep going.” 

They’re doing alright, that’s for sure. After bringing home roughly $6,550 in Cheyenne, they both now sit inside the top five of the Mountain States Circuit standings. As for when they’ll hit the road on their rookie cards, it might be a minute. Aguilar is an incoming freshman at Eastern Wyoming College and plans to graduate before buying his card.

Edgar Villegas heeling a steer in Cheyenne 2023.
Edgar Villegas, Cheyenne 2023. | Click Thompson photo

#4. Early Beginnings

Both Colorado natives, Aguilar and Villegas have known of each other for years, practically growing up together. 

“There’s an arena here in Fort Lupton that has a bunch of little jackpots,” Villegas explained. “We used to rope the dummy together there, so we sort of grew up around each other. I would talk to him sometimes, and we went to a roping where we roped together. We did good, so we decided to start roping together at the rodeos.”

Now navigating the world of ProRodeo, Aguilar does most of the decision-making for the team.

“[Aguilar] is the one that tells me what’s going on,” Villegas, who works in the oilfields, said. “He’s the one that enters us at the rodeos—he does everything. I work all day every day, so he does it all for us.”

#5. Young Kids, Big Dreams

While hitting the road hard may not be in the cards yet, it’s definitely on Villegas’ radar. 

“Hopefully we can keep going,” Villegas said. “We have to win to keep going because it’s hard to do, very hard. So, if we can keep winning money, we can keep going. Hopefully we’ll make a lot of money doing it and make it to the NFR one day.”

Aguilar currently rides and trains rope horses, so it’s no question whether or not roping is in his future. But he also has his sights set on an even more impactful goal—being a role model for future generations.

“I want to be a good example for all the little kids that want to make it,” Aguilar explained. “The kids that don’t have much to make it with, I definitely want to be a good example for them.”

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