Kass Kayser and his mount Gunna Git R Done won the 2022 WCRA Cowtown Christmas Championship Rodeo in 9.7 seconds on Dec. 17. To do so, the “mature” calf roping competitors—Kayser is 37 and “Bubblegum” is 17—beat out young gun champion ropers and their horses alike inside Fort Worth’s Cowtown Coliseum.
Kayser held steady through three rounds including the go-round, Showdown Round and, finally, the Triple Crown of Rodeo Round with only three ropers duking it out for the $15,000 prize.
“I’m just a circuit guy,” said Kayser, who lives in the Mt. Rainier foothills in Ellensburg, Washington. “I run cattle; I run yearlings. Ranching for a living keeps you mentally tough for sure because it doesn’t always go how you want it to go.”
In Fort Worth, though, things went better than expected.
In the Thick of it
Kayser’s first catch of the WCRA Cowtown Christmas came in Round 2, Thursday, Dec. 15. He finished second to Ace Slone of Cuero, Texas, when he stopped the clock in 8.91 seconds for $1,200. He and Slone—who posted an 8.2 for $1,600 in round money—joined the top-two ropers from Rounds 1 and 3, along with 2020 PRCA World Champion and No. 1 seeded WCRA competitor Shad Mayfield.
In the Showdown Round, seven ropers were whittled down to three. Kayser marked a 9.09 on the clock, good for the last qualifying hole and a final chance at the championship. His competition? Mayfield, 22, and 18-year-old collegiate competitor Cole Clemons.
“I know I can’t go as fast as people like Shad but, if I can do my job, I can take care of business,” Kayser said.
The finalists had three calves to choose from, and Kayser got the last pick due to his placing in the Showdown Round. He was also the first of the three finalists to compete Saturday night, roping, flanking and tying in 9.7 seconds. From there, he watched both Mayfield and Clemons miss their calves.
The caliber of competition may have rattled some, but Kayser said his age and experience roping against competitors of all levels keeps him cool.
“I’m a little older than a lot of these guys, but I’ve got a great horse,” Kayser said. “I didn’t think this was going to happen. It’s by far my biggest payday. I might put my check on the front of the truck.”
With a veteran horse like Bubblegum, managing the horse’s health and workout routine is important. And, to keep both Bubblegum and himself comfortable, Kayser also focuses on stretching, drinking water and managing his waistline. Fortunately, he has as an exercise jockey in the form of 2-year-old daughter Kardi, too.
“She can barely talk but, every day, when we go outside the first thing we do is catch him,” Kayser said. “She comes out the door going, ‘Bubble! Bubble!’ We don’t practice much. Trot around and be ready.”
The trend continues at rodeos, too. Just a few trot circles and the gelding bred by esteemed cow horse competitor Anne Reynolds is ready to go.
In the small pen of the Cowtown Coliseum, Kayser focused on his timing with the barrier to maximize his speed.
“I had two pretty good calves in the go-round and Showdown, and I hit the barrier pretty good,” Kayser explained. “That was very important in here. But on that last one, I honestly thought it was slower than I’d been. I kind of missed the barrier and just went and tied him down. Those other guys had bad luck and it just worked out.”
The Way to Fort Worth
To advance to the WCRA Cowtown Christmas Championship Rodeo, Kayser nominated the Columbia River Circuit Finals in October. There, he placed in two of three go-rounds and finished second in the aggregate with a time of 30.6 on three, winning a total of $3,592.
“I appreciate the WCRA because guys like me can go to circuit rodeos and have a chance to run at money like this,” Kayser said. “I won over $16,000. That’s awesome. That’s a huge deal. To not have to rodeo full time and still have a chance to win like this is great.”
WCRA Cowtown Christmas Championship Rodeo Final Results
Triple Crown of Rodeo Round: Dec. 17, 2022
|Final Placing||Athlete Name||Hometown||Go Round Earnings||Triple Crown Time||Triple Crown Earnings||Total Earnings|
|1||Kass Kayser||Ellensburg, WA||$1,200||9.7||$15,000||$16,200|
|2||Cole Clemons||Okeechobee, FL||$1,200||N/A||$4,500||$5,700|
|3||Shad Mayfield||Clovis, NM||$0||N/A||$4,500||$4,500|