No. 1 Rookie Tie-Down Roper Bryce Derrer Debuts in Top 20 in World Standings 
Heading into the heat of his first Cowboy Christmas run, New Mexico’s Bryce Derrer is leading the calf ropers in the Resistol Rookie race with $33,650, also worth a spot in the top 20 PRCA world standings.
Leading Resistol Rookie contender Bryce Derrer dismounts in persuit of a calf in Sisters, Oregon. Derrer is hot on the rodeo trail alongside NFR Qualifier Brushton Minton.
Leading Resistol Rookie contender Bryce Derrer dismounts in persuit of a calf in Sisters, Oregon. Derrer is hot on the rodeo trail alongside NFR Qualifier Brushton Minton. Photo by Ashley Kendall Photography and courtesy of Derrer.

On the cusp of his 23rd birthday and his first Fourth of July run as a card-carrying PRCA calf roper, Portales, New Mexico’s Bryce Derrer is dominating the Resistol Rookie of the Year race with $33,650 won and an agreeable $7,300± lead over the competition. 

Derrer, though, doesn’t pay attention to standings and hasn’t since high school. 

“I’ve always been in the mentality of, ‘If I go do my job, it’s going to pay off in the end,’” said Derrer, who’s in the truck with NFR qualifier Brushton Minton for the season. 

That perspective seems to serve Derrer well. He’s a two-time Turquoise Circuit qualifier, who finished his 2023 permit year ranked No. 2 and, now, he’s within striking distance of an NFR berth after getting to rope in the buildings this winter. That is, if he can push through his first official season of ProRodeo. 

“That’s one thing a bunch of guys told me: Don’t worry about one rodeo. Just keep moving on because there’s always a next one,’” Derrer recounted. “If you have a bad one, focus on your next one because you have about 24 hours to think about it.” 

It’s valuable advice that Derrer is hopefully putting to use as he makes his Greeley Stampede runs in Colorado (He and Haven Meged made 7.9-second runs in Round 2 after Derrer took a no-time in Round 1), almost exactly two months after earning his last check at the Clovis Rodeo on the California run. There, Derrer finished fourth with an 11.4 for a $525 check he was able to add to the $2,209 check he won in Round 3 on a 10.1-second run. 

Derrers other notable wins this season include a first-round, third-place check from San Angelo for $4,714; a first-round, fifth-place check from Rodeo Austin for $1,771; RodeoHouston checks totaling $2,786 for being in the money in rounds 2 and 5; and a Round 4 check from San Antonio when he finished fifth for $3,000 with an 8.6. 

Suffice to say, Derrer is making a heck of a go at the year. 

Making the call for 2024 

As Derrer explains it, after moving from Indiana when he was maybe 8 years old, his world became roping, school and working when he started learning his dad’s trade. 

“My dad shoes horses for a living, so I apprenticed under him, and I picked up his trade,” Derrer said. “So that’s what I do when I’m not roping or goofing off, playing golf or fishing; I’m working. I’ve got the two best jobs ever.” 

As for his rodeo career, Derrer set his sights on going pro in 2022. 

“I my got my first permit in ’22, and then I rodeoed a little bit and got my feet wet. In ’23,  I went a little bit harder, went to different places, and my roping got a little bit better, a little bit sharper. I got more experience.” 

Because Derrer didn’t go to college, there was no opportunity to take another permit year, and with a solid string of horses in the trailer, the timing seemed right to take on the Rookie year. 

“This year, I decided to get my card,” Derrer stated. “I have a good string, and I guess this  felt like this was the year to hit the road and make the Finals. That’s my plan.” 

For Derrer, a big part of seeing that plan through hinges on the work he does between rodeos. 

“In the practice pen, I try to make rodeo runs there. And then when I go to the rodeos, I try to make practice pen runs. Just do your work at home, and it pays off on the road.” 

Of course, he knows there’s only so much a roper can control and, in those situations, he calls upon the words of World Champion Shad Mayfield. 

“I was talking to him at Houston this year and I was like, ‘What’s the main thing going down the road?’” Derrer recalled. “And he said the main was to not break out and catch a neck, and that will give you every opportunity in the world you need to do what you need to do.” 

In short, consistency is key, so that’s a key element on which Derrer is staying focused. 

“I’m trying to find my flow right now. It gets back to my roping. Sometimes it’s really good—I’m knocking it out of the park and roping my roping—and sometimes something boogers me; I don’t know what. It gets back to where it needs to be. I just try to stay focused, hit the barrier, get the neck, and do my job on the ground and it should normally pay off.” 

Bryce Derrer is mounted right 

The other key aspect to Derrer’s game plan is his horsepower, which already proved itself a worthy investment this season when the horse he ran at Red Bluff and Clovis came up injured. 

““I was sad when that happened,” Derrer lamented of the horse he had big plans for. “But I was happy to have two others to go on the road, as well.” 

Now Derrer’s go-to mount is 22-year-old Miss N High Hickory, a bay gelding he’s had for almost five years who goes by the name “Mini Me.” 

 “He acts like a 2-year-old, which I’m thankful for,” Derrer said. “He’s a character. He knows he’s priceless, so he gets away with a lot of things. [But] he’s a good little fart. He thumbs around, does whatever.  

“He’s gotten me places I probably shouldn’t be at or shouldn’t be going to,” Derrer continued about the horse that always puts him in the same spot, setting him up for success. “He’s given me all the opportunities in the world to give me runs and give me wins—to teach me how to win, really.” 

Then last Fall, Derrer picked up another strong candidate for the rodeo road who demonstrates some of the same high qualities as Mini Me. 

“I got a little sorrel horse not too long ago. Her name is Lola, [and] you’ll be seeing that one quite a lot. She’s 11. I got her from Benny Mosley. The first couple times we roped, it just clicked. It was kind of just like my bay horse: It was easy; it was simple. She let me get on in two or three swings and she let me do my job, and I stayed out of her way.” 

One to watch 

At the time of this writing, Round 2 of Colorado’s Greeley Stampede is in the works and it is yet to be seen if his 7.9-second tie will hold for a fourth-place finish with Haven Meged. Regardless, it’s a sure signal that Derrer, in his Resistol Rookie year, is well-suited to swing his rope against the giants of the sport. 

After Greeley, keep an eye on his progress as he takes on the Killdeer Saddle Club Rodeo and the Mandan Rodeo Days in North Dakota during his first Cowboy Christmas.