The 2020 World Champion Shad Mayfield has ground to make up on Riley Webb as the ProRodeo Fourth-of-July run kicks off, but he’s doing everything he can with a win at the Reno Rodeo, worth a combined $15,583 for the aggregate and go-round checks.
As of June 26, 2023, Mayfield has $75,636 to be second in the world behind Webb’s massive $147,402.63.
Mayfield, 22, of Clovis, New Mexico, roped three calves in 25.8 seconds for the win, including a third-place round two calf in 8.4 seconds and a short-round winning 7.8-second run that edged Lucas Potter’s 8.8 and high-back man, 19-year-old Webb’s 9.1.
Webb walked away from Reno without the title but with more cash—earnings $5,489 for second in Round 1 with an 8.2, $1,784 for splitting fifth in Round 2 with an 8.7, and third in the short round with a 9.1 worth $950. Second in the average paid $8,233. That brought Webb’s total Reno-runner-up earnings to $16,456.
Chelsea Shaffer: The Fourth run is kicking off. Are you in between here and Canada right now?
Shad Mayfield: Nope. I’m home and I have a few days off. I go back to Greeley on Thursday. I keep my Fourth pretty simple. I don’t go by the way a lot of guys enter—I enter as many rodeos I can win at. Where I can stay on my own horse, not make myself too tired. I got that advice from my dad my rookie year, and it’s served me pretty well.
CS: Walk me through your three runs in Reno.
SM: I was in the second-to-last set in Reno. On the first calf, I was very late on the barrier, and I ran her down there and made a good run. She tried to kick on me, and I was 9.6. I was really late on the barrier because I didn’t think the calf would run as hard as she did. On my second one, I had the calf that Riley was 8.2 on, and I had a couple bobbles and was 8.4. I had those mistakes, so I knew I needed to play catch up on the short-round calf. I drew a really good calf in the short round. I like having to rope to catch up, so I was in a good spot for me. I got a good start, reached and roped her and made a really good run. Riley had to b 8.9 to tie, and he was 9.1. I wasn’t watching from the end of the arena—I was in the box with him. We’re buddies, and we help each other out, and that’s where I wanted to be.
CS: What horse were you on?
SM: Lollipop, my bay mare (registered as Figure To Fly by Popular Resortfigure out of the Freedom Flyer mare Fastino, 2021’s Reserve PRCA/AQHA Horse of the Year). I just got her in April from Andrew Burks. She’s 13. She is a summertime horse. She can run so fast. I don’t think there’s another calf horse that can outrun her. You have to see the start at the barrier in big arenas, and that’s where she’s so easy. I’ll probably stay on her mostly this summer. I’ll ride a different horse at Calgary, and she’ll be my main go-to at a bunch of rodeos.
CS: A mare huh? Are you a mare guy?
SM: I’m not a mare guy. I’ve never been a mare guy actually. When I bought her I was like, ‘Ugh I don’t want a mare.’ But she has a good mind, and she’s a good mare to have. It started off rough at first. But it’s better now. We butted heads at first but that’s usually what happens with a new horse. It seems like mares are different—they’re smarter than geldings. You really got to be nice to them. I treat her like she’s my girlfriend.
CS: There have been some really great calf roping mares in the sport’s history. Is there something to a mare’s grit that makes her a good calf horse?
SM: I think if you get a good mare—there’s not as many good mares available as geldings—but if you get a good one, they’re the best. Cody’s Pearl was obviously one of the best. There aren’t as many, but they’re better than any other geldings. They have more heart and more try.
CS: So now that you’ve got a mare, are you planning to get into the breeding business, too?
SM: I’ll probably get embryos out of her after this summer. I’m not into the breeding game, never been into it at all. I’m strictly a calf roper. But, now that I’ve got a mare, and I’ve been talking to a lot of people trying to figure out who to breed her to. I’m trying to get through the summer and see how it plays out.
CS: What about your style fits the summer rodeos so well?
SM: I think I use my rope in the summer. A lot of guys track and do all that stuff, but I’m good with my long rope, and I really bring it out in the summer time. Joe Beaver’s put that in me since I was little. He’d stick my arm out and say “See how long your arms are? You can throw your rope farther than anyone else.” I have a breakaway loop—meaning I can reach and rope fast. I have some of the best horses going, and I always have in the summer. They make any setup easy. CR