Riley Webb used rodeo’s biggest stage as a primer for the World Champions Rodeo Alliance Cowtown Christmas Championship Rodeo Dec. 14–17, where $40,000 is up for grabs in the calf roping. Webb, who is the 2022 PRCA Resistol Rookie Calf Roper of the Year, garnered $71,091 in earnings at the National Finals Rodeo, finishing 10th in the world with $188,597 in total PRCA earnings.
After a grueling 10 rounds in Las Vegas, most ropers head home to enjoy the holidays and pick up a spare rodeo or two. But Webb?
Straight to Fort Worth.
“The WCRA has some great shows,” Webb said. “We get done with the biggest rodeo of the year and then get to go close to home and rope for huge money, too.”
Now 19, the Denton, Texas, resident got exactly two days off before making the 1-hour trek to Fort Worth. He will compete in the storied Cowtown Coliseum Thursday, Dec. 15, against eight other tie-down ropers.
In short, the opportunities afforded to riders of all ages hooked Webb, and the sweet prize money keeps him coming back.
“I am very blessed to be here at 19 years old,” Webb said. “I feel like I’ve set myself up at an early age with the WCRA rodeos and The American that didn’t have age limits—you know, to be 18—so at a young age I set myself up for those big moments and big shots at money.”
Webb took advantage of the WCRA’s inclusive structure starting when he was 17. Fresh off his National High School Rodeo Finals Championship in calf roping in 2020, the then-Youth competitor bagged a $16,200 payday at the WCRA’s Stampede in Guthrie, Oklahoma.
“It’s awesome and I’m thankful for them and what they’re doing for the younger generation,” Webb said. “They keep the youth going.”
Learning in Vegas
Webb had an NFR to be proud of, especially considering it was his first ever. He caught in seven of the 10 rounds and averaged approximately $7,100 in earnings per night.
“I tried to keep it simple,” he said. “It’s the biggest stage of rodeo but, at the end of the day, you’re still roping and tying the calf just like you do everywhere else. Don’t overthink it and try to keep it as simple as possible. [I] try to stay sharp and keep my horses sharp.”
Webb experienced some tough calves near the end of the week, receiving a no-time in Round 8 on the same calf that took Hunter Herrin out of the average race earlier in the week.
“I was third in the average and I [missed],” Webb said. “It sucks, but you’ve got to keep moving on. It’s in the past.”
As such, Webb is coming home with his chin up. Leaping back into the rodeo fray is a tall order, but Webb prioritized his health throughout the NFR to give himself the best chance at a check both in Las Vegas and Texas.
“I tried to stay healthy and not get sick,” Webb said. “Vegas gets you down, so I tried to prepare for the 10 days. If you’re trying to win against the top 14 guys in the world, you’ve got to be healthy.”
As Webb heads to the Cowtown Coliseum, he says he plans on “going at every [calf], good or bad.”