January 12, 1952 – April 9, 2022 Dan O. “Bud” Munroe was born January 12, 1952, in Lewistown, Montana. A Montana State University graduate, he […]
The time is right for Egusquiza
Written by: Ted Harbin< Back to Articles
Resistol header is ready to cash in this next weekend at American
Over the last few years that he’s competed at The American via an exemption, Resistol cowboy Dustin Equsquiza has yet to cash in at the lucrative rodeo.
He is a header by trade, a man that ropes the horns and turns the steers for a heeler in team roping. It’s a competitive industry, and he’s pretty good at it. In 2016, he earned the Resistol Heading Rookie of the Year award for being the best first-year man in the game. A year later, he was playing on ProRodeo’s biggest stage, the National Finals Rodeo, for the first time.
Since then, he’s returned to the NFR three more times and had his best finish in 2021. Roping with fellow Resistol cowboy Travis Graves, the tandem placed in three rounds, winning at least a share of two of them. They tied for first in the seventh round, then won the 10th round outright. They earned just shy of $80,000 in 10 days.
Most importantly, they concluded the year No. 3 in the world standings. Now, it’s time they step it up a bit, and doing well at The American later this week could go a long way to supporting that claim.
“The American is something everybody looks forward to,” said Egusquiza, 26, of Marianna, Florida. “It’s the biggest-paying single rodeo besides the NFR, and everybody wants to win it. It’s definitely on people’s minds, and it brings a lot of attention to the sport.”
The main factor is the payout, which is $3 million this year. The winners of each event will take home $100,000, but there’s more to it. Ten contestants in each event have exempt status, meaning they earned their way to The American by how well they finished the previous season. That’s where Egusquiza sits, and those contestants are only eligible for the $100,000 first-place prize
The remaining six contestants competing in the first round – set for Friday, March 4, at Cowtown Coliseum in the historic Fort Worth (Texas) Stockyards – will come through a series of qualifying events that culminates in the semifinals. Each qualifier that advances to the opening round will be eligible for the side pot, which is typically $1 million.
Since no qualifier won The American in his/her specific event in 2021, the money rolled over to this year and has increased the side pot to $2 million. The best times and scores from Friday will advance to the final day of rodeo, Sunday, March 6, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
“It is really unbelievable the amount of money somebody can win there,” Egusquiza said. “It’s disappointing we don’t get to rope for a million dollars, but $100,000 would be great.
“There’s nothing else like competing in that stadium. Houston has a pretty big stadium, but the stadium there in Arlington is crazy. You’ve never seen a rodeo like it.”
Egusquiza is one of six Resistol headers who have received the automatic invitation to The American. He will be joined by:
ERICH ROGERS, 35, Round Rock, Arizona: Roping with young heeler Paden Bray, Erich Rogers put his name on the big lights in Arlington twice last year, winning the NFR average title in December 2020 while the finale was at Globe Life Field, then the two won The American last March. Now an 11-time NFR qualifier, Rogers also owns the 2017 heading world championship. Last year, he finished second in the world standings. He and Bray placed in four NFR rounds and finished second in the average, leaving Las Vegas with $108,000.
CLAY SMITH, 30, Broken Bow, Oklahoma: Clay Smith didn’t walk lightly onto the ProRodeo scene; he burst onto it like a superstar. He’s already qualified for seven straight trips to the NFR, and he won gold buckles in 2018 and ’19. Now roping with three-time champ Jade Corkill, Smith finished last season fourth in the world standings. At the NFR, he and Corkill placed in five rounds, including the eighth-round victory, and placed finished in the all-important aggregate. The nearly $111,000 they earned in 10 days has provided them momentum in 2022.
RHEN RICHARD, 32, Roosevelt, Utah: He’s a header now, but Rhen Richard hasn’t always been. In fact, he was the 2008 Resistol Heeling Rookie of the Year. More than anything, though, he’s just a talented all-around cowboy. In 2018, he qualified for the NFR has a header and a tie-down roper. He returned to the finale in 2019 in just tie-down roping, and last year, roping with Jeremy Buhler, Richard placed in six rounds at the NFR, winning on Night 3. The two placed third in the average, pocketed nearly $137,000, and Richard finished fifth in the world standings.
TYLER WADE, 29, Terrell, Texas: Tyler Wade wasn’t a newcomer when he first qualified for the NFR in 2016. No, he was in his fifth season in ProRodeo, but he wasn’t far from finishing among the top 15. In fact, he had finished 17th twice and 21st before making a run at the gold buckle and has added three more trips to Las Vegas since. That’s what many would have expected out of the 2012 Resistol Heading Rookie of the Year. At the 2021 NFR this past December, Wade and fellow Resistol cowboy Trey Yates won the first round and placed on two more nights. Wade finished ninth in the final standings.
CODY SNOW, 25, Los Olivos, California: In December 2019, Cody Snow and his partner, fellow Resistol cowboy Wesley Thorp, had an NFR to remember. They each won $162,000. Thorp won the heeling gold buckle; Snow finished as the runner-up to the heading champ. Snow is now a six-time NFR qualifier. At the championship three months ago, he and Thorp shared the ninth-round victory, then placed on two other nights to earn just shy of $71,000. Snow finished the year as the No. 10 header in the world standings.