A truckload of talent, a strong work ethic and a tremendous mentor were all the ingredients for success for the 2023 PRCA All Around & Tie Down Rookie of the Year Dylan Hancock.
Hancock earned $74,998 roping calves inside ProRodeo in 2023, narrowly missing a trip to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) during his first full season in the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA). He finished 25th in the final PRCA | RAM World Standings.
A multi-event talent, Hancock also heeled a few and did a little bulldoggin’ and steer roping to run his overall winnings to $75,669 to take the All Around Rookie title as well, finishing about $9,000 ahead of Chet Weitz.
“They always say you’ve got one shot to win it [the Rookie],” Hancock, 19, said. “It felt good to take advantage.”
Dylan Hancock’s backstory
Hancock followed in his father, Shane’s, footsteps as a tie down roper and has lived in the mecca for the sport, San Angelo, Texas, since he was eleven.
“I’ve done it all my life,” Hancock said at the start of his rookie campaign. “I played baseball for awhile but rodeo is kind of all I ever wanted to do.”
Hancock came to ProRodeo with an impressive resume, winning prestigious titles such as All Around Champion at the CINCH World Championship Junior Rodeo held in Guthrie, Oklahoma and the International Finals Youth Rodeo.
Now studying and rodeoing for Cisco College—completing course work on-line—Hancock found success early in his rookie season including finishing fifth at the Resistol Rookie Round-Up in April in the tie down. He also picked up checks in the steer wrestling and team roping there.
The 2023 Rookie class of tie down ropers were a tough group, ropers already very familiar with one another.
“We’re all good buddies,” Hancock said of the group during the heart of the battle in the summer. Six of the top ten rookies came from Texas, and Joel Harris is a fellow San Angelo resident. “We’ve all grown up together, going to the junior ropings together.”
Hancock, Weitz, Harris and Cash Enderli kept the chase interesting through the first ten months of the season, trading the number one spot back and forth almost weekly.
After winning $9,325 during the first week of August, including a big win at the Playoff Series rodeo in Heber City, Utah, Hancock took the lead for the first time and never looked back. He more than doubled his earnings in the final 90 days of the season, building his lead to just over $13,000 by September 30.
“Just being gone, seeing new places and having a blast getting to do what we love,” Hancock said of his highlights. “Being out there with your buddies, getting to rope every day in a different place.”
“I’ve been looking forward to getting to do this for . . . well, basically, 18 years,” he joked. “It’s pretty cool.”
Hancock had good help through his first season in hauling partner Riley Webb. Webb not only won the same two rookies titles as Hancock a year ago, he also set a new regular season earnings record in 2023 and will enter his second Wrangler NFR as the number one ranked tie down roper in the world.
“There are so many people I could give credit to for where I am in my career,” Hancock said, “but Riley as done so much for me.”
“He really guided me through this year and I learned so much from him, how you carry yourself. He’s been a big part of my success.”
Webb’s also been a partner in the arena—the two friends picked up their team ropes for a few rodeos in 2023 and plan to try it a bit more in the coming season.
“We got a little in Lubbock [in early November] so we’re going to play with it a bit,” Hancock said. “Get our feet wet. We’re looking for a few horses and might toss around team roping a bit more.”
The primary goal remains a trip to the Wrangler NFR in the tie down. Going just on the odds, the chance of seeing Hancock in Las Vegas went way up when he clinched the rookie title: eight of the top 15 headed to the NFR in 2023 were once Rookie of the Year and large percentage of Rookie champs go on to the Finals at some point in their careers.
“The number one goal is the NFR; I think that’s everyone’s goal and we’re going to try to accomplish that,” Hancock said. “We’re not letting off the gas pedal, getting after it.”
He’s already got a good start with checks earned in Hempstead and Lubbock, using knowledge gained during his rookie season.
“The number one lesson was to not beat myself,” Hancock admitted. “I beat myself with a lot of little mistakes this year. You’ve got to take it one calf at a time, just make your run and realize that your run is enough.”
Armed with those lessons, Hancock is gearing up for the new year and will get a little behind the scenes look at the NFR as he travels to Vegas to rope in some of the big ropings during the Finals and to help Webb as he chases his first World Championship.
“It was an awesome season,” Hancock said. “I can’t wait to do it all again next year.”