Bulldogger knows the importance of unique rodeo at AT&T Stadium
Resistol steer wrestler Will Lummus has never won The American, but he sees the benefit of competing in the rodeo every March.
The winners of each event earn $100,000, a magnificent payday. If they were exempt in the competition, as Lummus is this year, that’s the top dollar they can achieve. If the winner had come through the qualifying events to claim the prize in any of the nine disciplines, then that cowboy or cowgirl is eligible for at least a portion of the side pot, typically $1 million.
The closest the Bihalya, Mississippi, cowboy has come was a fourth-place finish in 2021. He collected $7,250 last March.
“To me, fourth place is a pretty good payday there,” said Lummus, a four-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier who won the average title this past December. “The American is great. There’s a lot of money – a lot of life-changing money if you’re a qualifier.
“The $100,000 is awesome for us, but the qualifiers have a shot at a million bucks, two million bucks. That’s huge.”
Yes, it is. The side pot had been paid out every year beginning in 2014, when bareback rider Richmond Champion was the only qualifier to win an event; he walked away with $1.1 million that year. Since then, at least two people have claimed a share of that prize … until last year. No qualifier won, and the money rolls over to this year.
That means the side pot is worth $2 million.
“It’s great for rodeo, and I believe it draws a crowd in and a lot of different people to rodeo,” Lummus said. “We run three steers and have a chance to win $100,000. There’s nowhere else that you can do that. The only other place where you can win $100,000 is Calgary (Alberta), but you have to run a lot more steers.
“Being able to run three steers and win that much money is awesome.”
He will be one of 16 men in the long-round field, set for Friday, March 4, at Cowtown Coliseum in the legendary Fort Worth (Texas) Stockyards. The top times and scores from that performance will advance to the final day, Sunday, March 6, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. It will be a chance for the linebackers of ProRodeo to compete on the same field as the Dallas Cowboys.
“It’s sweet being in that stadium,” said Lummus, who finished second in the 2021 world standings and pocketed nearly $170,000 in 10 days at December in Las Vegas. “I really love the way they changed it last year and made it one big arena. I think when they changed it, they made it even better. You can appreciate how loud that crowd can be.
“To think that guys play football right there, it’s surreal to be on that field.”
Lummus will be joined at The American by four other Resistol bulldoggers:
TYLER WAGUESPACK, 31, Gonzalez, Louisiana: Before he made a name for himself, a number of elite steer wrestlers were already talking about Tyler Waguespack. Since then, he’s qualified seven consecutive years for the NFR and earned three world championships. In 2020, he finished fourth at The American, the followed that up last year by placing in the opening round. At the NFR this past December, he put the stamp on another gold buckle by placing in nine go-rounds, including the seventh-round victory. He placed second in the average and pocketed more than $213,000.
TRISTAN MARTIN, 26, Sulphur, Louisiana: Tristan Martin popped onto the bulldogging radar several years ago, but steer wrestling is commonly one of the most competitive events in ProRodeo. It took him seven years to advance to the NFR, which he did this past December. Once there, he showed up and showed out. He placed in four rounds, winning the third round. He finished in a tie for third place in the 10-run aggregate race, collecting nearly $108,000 in the process and finishing the 2021 campaign No. 5 in the world standings.
JESSE BROWN, 29, Baker City, Oregon: The fire inside Jesse Brown always seemed to be burning. Before he signed up to be a member of the PRCA, Brown won the steer wrestling titles at the 2015 and ’16 Permit-Holder Challenge in Las Vegas. A year later, he was named the Resistol Steer Wrestling Rookie of the Year. He earned his first qualification to the NFR in 2020 and finished the year 13th in the final standings. He returned to the championship this past December, where he placed in five rounds; he also collected a share of the ninth-round victory with three other bulldoggers. He finished sixth in the standings.
TYLER PEARSON, 36, Atoka, Oklahoma: This just might be the year for Tyler Pearson. He finished third at The American in 2020, then moved up to second a year ago. In those years alone, he earned more than $35,000. All that’s left is the $100,000 prize for first place. The 2017 world champion, Pearson finished the 2021 season seventh in the world standings while placing in three rounds at his fifth NFR. He won the fifth round and placed in the average and finished his 10-day run in Las Vegas with nearly $70,000 in earnings.