Westyn Hughes Hustles Through Pain, Shoots Up the Standings to No. 15
Westyn Hughes is a crowd favorite with a no-quit attitude and penchant for winning—gathering up $6,047 this past weekend.
Westyn Hughes dismounts on his way to tie his calf at the 2024 El Paso Rodeo.
Westyn Hughes dismounts on his way to tie his calf at the 2024 El Paso Rodeo, where he finished No. 4. Photo by Avid Visuals Imagery Rodeo Photography

The money is picking up as the summer marches on with Westyn Hughes putting together more than $6,000 June 21–24 between the Old Santa Ynez Days Rodeo in California, Rodeo El Paso in Texas and Rodeo de Santa Fe in New Mexico.

With Canadian rodeo money starting to trickle into the standings, there were nine ropers who banked better than $4,000 into their PRCA World Standings positions over the week of June 17-23 as the chase for the 2024 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) gets real.

Westyn Hughes is a gamer through and through

Few cowboys exude hustle the way Hughes does during a run. The energy on display is contagious, making everyone a fan.

Unfortunately for the fans at the Rodeo de Santa Fe, Hughes did his thing during the slack at their rodeo but he did it so well, he claimed the title after roping a pair of calves in 19.6 seconds.

“The calves were a little stronger and it was a good roping,” Hughes, 26, said. “It was just a, ‘See your start, go catch and tie them down and don’t make mistakes’ deal and that’s what I did.”

Riding his bay gelding Cowboy, Hughes took the win in the opening round with an 8.9-second effort, then backed it with a solid 10.7 to catch another round check on the second one. All totaled, the Santa Fe trip was worth $3,143.

“Every year, you look the times there and think it wasn’t as tough a roping but it sure seems tough when you’re in it,” the Caldwell, Texas native laughed.

From Santa Fe, Hughes also hit El Paso for a fourth place finish and hopped a plane to rope at Santa Ynez, as well, earning another big payday to finish the weekend $6,047 to the good.

“It was a bunch of good little rodeos,” Hughes said, adding he left a rig with his good mare Zanna out in California at Jerold Camarillo’s place in Oakdale. His folks, Scott and Kelly Hughes, are on board to help with the second rig.

“They had some time so they’re helping out for the next couple of weeks, through the Fourth of July, and then I’ll just have one rig going,” Hughes said. “It’s so much driving [with one rig] so this will be better for me and for the horses.”

Hughes’ 2024 campaign can be best summed up with one word: dirty efficient. OK, that’s two words.

Prior to the past weekend, he’d been to just 10 rodeos and was still ranked inside the 25 in the standings with more than $30,000 banked.

The problem with that was that it was born of necessity.

“I took the whole spring off because of my back,” Hughes admitted. “I have two herniated discs that the doctors want to do surgery on. But I decided to take a few months off instead and we’ll just deal with it the best we can to get through the summer.”

A three-time NFR qualifier, Hughes has battled back issues before, undergoing surgery on the same discs back in 2019. Not by coincidence, that was the year before he made his first NFR and he’s been to three of the last four. With proven resilience and determination, he is poised for yet another trip thanks to his good outing in his first weekend back in the box. He jumped from 21st all the way to 15th.

Hughes roped in Reno on June 24 and has Greeley (Colo.), Pecos (Texas) and Springdale (Ark.) all on the schedule for the upcoming week.

“It’ll be good, lots of two headers this week so lots of chances at money.”

Since time spent in the truck is going to be one of the hardest pieces of the puzzle for him through the long summer run, he’s thankful for the help from his family and good buddy, Chase Harvey, who is not only along for the ride as driver-in-chief, but is also entering a few himself while rodeoing on his permit.

“I’ve got some rodeos to make up so we’re going to work some different areas,” Hughes spelled out his get to the 2024 NFR game plan, showing his usual zero back-up in spite of the physical challenges ahead attitude.

“My money won per rodeo is great right now; we’ve just got to get to more of them.”

Weekend Recap

Shad Mayfield has been the story of the PRCA calf roping nearly all season but he made headlines over the weekend for his triumph in another discipline: steer roping. Mayfield collected a pair of round checks over the long score in Prineville, Oregon, enough to cross the $3,000 threshold required under PRCA rules to be eligible for the World All Around Standings.

Thanks to his dominant season over in the calf roping, Mayfield is now number one in the All Around chase, holding on to a massive lead of better than $100,000 over Jake Clay.

In his signature event, Mayfield collected money in Pleasant Grove, Utah and he’s tied for the lead the early standings in Reno, too.

Second ranked Ty Harris kept Mayfield in his sights with a good weekend which included a split of the win at Old Santa Ynez (Calif.) Days Rodeo. Along with fellow Wrangler NFR cowboy Jake Pratt, the ropers posted identical 7.7 second runs to earn a cool $3,121 apiece.

Haven Meged benefitted from updated standings now including big Canadian wins from the past few weeks along with a go round win in Prineville to move up two spots from eighth to sixth as there were few changes to most of the top 20.

2013 World Champion Shane Hanchey continued his hot streak with a second consecutive NFR Playoff Series Rodeo win, this one coming over the long score at Prineville, Oregon’s Crooked River Round-Up. He earned $6,031 to move up another five spots, now hovering just outside the top 20 at 21st.

Hanchey also found success north of the border, sharing the win in Sundre and taking the outright victory in High River, adding another $5,893 that’s not figured into the PRCA World Standings yet.

The cash flow in Canada continued with the Wainwright (Alberta) Stampede. Luke Potter took the title and $4,980 there which will help the Kansas cowboy move up the standings once it’s added into his current position at 36th. Potter also dropped down to Prineville to pick up nearly $2,000 there.

Circuit cowboy Waid Dalton can afford all the strawberries and cream and sugar and anything else he wants after claiming victory over the world’s best at Strawberry Days Rodeo in Pleasant Grove, Utah. The Idaho cowboy posted a 7.4 second run to earn $3,148.

Cooper Martin made big moves thanks in part to a win at Rodeo El Paso (Texas). Martin earned $5,404 in three stops including the 8.3 second run to win El Paso. He is now 34th in the standings.

Bo Pickett showed the biggest change in money won, although like his peers, some came from Canadian rodeos held in recent past. Pickett picked up $7,699 in the standings with $5,855 coming from a second place finish in Prineville. He’s now ranked 27th.

Although he didn’t score a rodeo win, Cash Hooper had the biggest weekend of all the calf ropers, collecting $7,444 to climb from 31st to 24th and just about $5,000 behind the elusive 15th spot. Hooper was right behind Hughes for second in Santa Fe, third in Delta (Utah) and Big Spring (Texas) and fifth in El Paso.

What’s on the calendar

The final week of June brings not only a close to the Reno Rodeo, the Wildest, Richest Rodeo in the West, but also the start of the lucrative Fourth of July run, particularly with the on-set of the Canada Day Rodeo run. The Ponoka Stampede is the richest rodeo of the Fourth, on either side of the border, and it kicks off June 25. The Greeley Stampede will also get underway.

For those staying in the U.S., there are plenty of offerings from the NFR Playoff Series stop in Pecos, Texas to Lehi, Utah to Springdale, Arkansas with lots of small rodeos sprinkled across the country in between.

PRCA World Standings as of June 24, 2024

1Shad MayfieldClovis, New Mexico$144,924.16
2Ty HarrisSan Angelo, Texas$100,321.37
3Riley WebbDenton, Texas$93,071.39
4John DouchHuntsville, Texas$73,379.22
5Marty YatesStephenville, Texas$66,912.42
6Haven MegedMiles City, Montana$51,219.27
7Joel HarrisSan Angelo, Texas$51,202.30
8Tuf CooperDecatur, Texas$49,112.88
9Brushton MintonWitter Springs, California$44,564.85
10Chance ThiessenElk City, Oklahoma$40,291.15
11Tom CrouseGallatin, Missouri$39,816.74
12Zack JongbloedIowa, Louisiana$39,300.90
13Dylan HancockSan Angelo, Texas$38,141.07
14Trevor HalePerryton, Texas$36,998.49
15Westyn HughesCaldwell, Texas$36,699.03
16Marcos CostaIretama, PR$35,495.41
17Quade HiattCanyon, Texas$34,079.08
18Tyler MilliganPawhuska, OK$33,651.49
19Bryce Derrer ®Portales, New Mexico$33,650.10
20Hunter HerrinApache, Oklahoma$33,571.66