The Chisholm Trail RAM Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo wrapped up action in Duncan, Oklahoma, on October 14, 2023, with first-time winner Cash Fuesz walking away as the average champion in the tie-down.
Permit holder Fuesz qualified for his first Prairie Circuit Finals a year ago but admits things didn’t go well for him.
“My goal in 2022 was just to make it to the Finals and I did that,” Fuesz, 19, said. “It just didn’t go as good as I’d like, but it was a good experience to build from.”
The ranch kid from Southeast Kansas set his sights higher in 2023, aiming for a berth into the 2024 NFR Open.
“That was my goal this year, and the way to get there is either to win the average at the Circuit Finals or win the year-end,” Fuesz explained. “I did that, so I’m completing my goals and hopefully I’ll keep on completing them.”
Fuesz grew up ranching and riding horses and started breakaway roping at age 7 under the direction of his father, Cory. He graduated to tie-down roping a few years later and hasn’t looked back, earning junior roping titles like the Best of the Best Timed Event Junior Rodeo Championship before signing on at Weatherford College a year ago.
There he works under the tutelage of head coach Johnny Emmons, a five-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo tie-down roper, and is a teammate to Cole Clemons, who captured the Texas Circuit year-end championship during the same weekend.
“I’ve roped with Cole since we were 12 years old,” Fuesz said, adding that other teammates did well over the weekend at their college rodeo and at Oklahoma’s Richest Jackpot, giving Emmons plenty of bragging rights.
“I really like coach Johnny,” Fuesz noted. “It would be hard to rodeo for anyone else.”
Better and better
In Duncan, Fuesz ramped it up each round, culminating in a third go-round win with a 7.9-second run, the fastest of the weekend.
“The calves were really good. Tyler Garten did a good job of getting them for us,” Fuesz noted. “The first go, the start was a little tricky and I had a little bobble tying him up but it was a good, solid run.”
The 9.3 was a bit out of the money but not far behind in time.
“In the second go, I wanted to pick up the pace but still stay solid,” he said. Stopping the clock at 8.9 this time around, he picked up his first check for third in the go.
Fuesz was riding Banjo, an 11-year-old mare he got during his senior year in high school.
“We clicked well from the beginning,” he said. “She has really changed where my roping is going.”
“I really appreciate her,” he continued. “She’s been good to me and I try to be good to her.”
Firing on all cylinders in the final round, Fuesz entered the night third in the average, trailing leader Riley O’Rourke by 1.2 seconds.
“I had a good calf in the final round and I was hoping to be able to put a little pressure on the guys ahead of me.”
Due to an error in loading, Fuesz ended up roping last, knowing exactly what he needed to do to win. His smoking final run left him at 26.1 on three head, a full second ahead of Tierney in the average.
“Riley and Tom [Crouse] roped phenomenally all weekend, just had a little trouble on that last run,” Fuesz said. “Everybody roped good all weekend . . . there were eight guys going into the final round who still had a shot—a good shot—to win the average.”
With his family on hand to cheer him on, Fuesz collected $6,446 while reaching his 2023 goal. He also finished as the reserve champ in the year-end race with nearly $20,000 won.
“I’m excited,” he said of his chance to rope at the NFR Open. “I looked into it last year during the Circuit Finals. It’s a good opportunity to rope against some really talented guys.
“I hope I draw good and it works out.”
Despite a successful season—including highlights like splitting the win in North Platte and setting a new arena record in Henryetta—Fuesz isn’t making plans to hit the road full-time just yet.
“I’m going to stay on my permit,” he said. Fuesz is a sophomore, majoring in organizational leadership with an eye toward real estate or working in finance. “I have two good horses now but when I buy my card, I want to be set up with three solid ones to go on.”
So, at least for now, he’ll keep juggling college rodeo and ProRodeo on the circuit level. If he keeps winning, rodeo announcers may just learn how to pronounce his last name.
“It’s ‘fees’ like entry fees,” he laughed. “It’s mispronounced more often than not. You get used to it.”