The Athens Review
Westyn Hughes. Write that name down. Remember it.
Hughes is a 16-year-old tie-down roper who defeated some of the world’s top pros such as eight-time world champion Fred Whitfield and former Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier Adam Gray on Sept. 27 at the Lone Star Arena in Stephenville.
The Stephenville show served as a qualifier event for the RFD-TV’s The American, which is scheduled for March 2 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. The American will offer competitors $2 million, the largest payout ever for a one-day rodeo.
By winning the Stephenville show and the $3,600 that went with it, Hughes, a resident of Caldwell, will advance to a semifinals competition that’s scheduled for Feb. 21-23 at the Resistol Arena in Mesquite. At that point, his goal will be to finish among the top five and advance to The American to compete against 11 other world class ropers.
Hughes, who competes mainly at amateur rodeos and takes on credentialed professionals at jackpot roping shows, said he thrives on roping against tougher competition.
“When I rope on a tougher level, it helps me to step my roping up, but I don’t change my roping or my game plan in any way,” Hughes said. “I’d rope against Fred Whitfield just like I’d rope against anyone else. I go at every calf 100 percent.”
Hughes began roping at age 5. His father, Scott, was a bull rider who wanted his son to rope because he believed it would be much safer.
But tie-down roping has been a natural fit. Each evening, after Hughes finishes his home school lessons, he practices for several hours. That type of work ethic enables the young cowboy to rope with great form and speed when prize money is at stake.
“When you’re making a run, everything just goes out of your mind and that’s when reaction comes in,” he said. “When you work at it in the practice pen, it just becomes automatic.”
Hughes is scheduled to compete in the tie-down roping competition at the Roping Fiesta in San Angelo. The 60th annual show is scheduled for Oct. 25-27. For more information, visit www.sanangelorodeo.com.
Texas Junior College
After tying for seventh at the Oct. 3-5 Southwest Texas Junior College Rodeo in Uvalde, Trinity Valley Community College’s men’s team was ranked No. 4 in the Oct. 5 National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Southern Region men’s team standings. After competing in the first two rodeos of the season, TVCC had 585.5 points. Sam Houston State was ranked No. 1 with 1,017.5 points, McNeese State was ranked second with 872.5 and Hill College was third with 713.5.
PRCA Champions Challenge update
On the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association/Women’s Professional Rodeo Association circuit, defending world barrel racing champion Mary Walker of Ennis won the Wrangler Champions Challenge tour stop on Oct. 5 in Kissimmee, Fla., after turning in a time of 16.87 seconds. She earned $4,000.
Other champions were saddle bronc rider Taos Muncy (85.5 points), steer wrestler Luke Branquinho (3.9 seconds), team ropers Dustin Bird and Paul Eaves (4.8 seconds), tie-down roper Brad Hartt (7.4 seconds), bull rider Trevor Kastner (86 points) and bareback rider Seth Hardwick (84).
J.B. Mauney won the Oct. 4-5 Professional Bull Riders tour stop in Fayetteville, N.C., and earned $34,840. He is ranked second in the Built Ford Tough Series world title race with 9,258.25 points. Defending world champion Silvano Alves, who finished fourth in Fayetteville, is ranked No. 1 with 10,652.
The PBR’s last show of the 2013 regular season is scheduled for Oct. 11-13 in Hollywood, Fla. The 20th annual PBR World Finals is Oct. 23-27 in Las Vegas. For more information, visit pbr.com.
Brett Hoffman, a Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame member, has written a rodeo column for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram over the past quarter-century. Email him at email@example.com.