Boxleitner finds glory at Rooftop, the rodeo that pointed him toward roping
ESTES PARK, Colo. – Just two days before his 23rd birthday, Tyler Boxleitner gave himself a bit of a present.
He roped and tied his calf in 12.1 seconds during Sunday’s fifth performance of the Rooftop Rodeo to move into a share of the tie-down roping lead with one day left in the Town of Estes Park signature event. What makes it special are the facts around his 2023 run at the rodeo just 20 miles from his home in Loveland, Colorado.
“Seven years ago I came to this rodeo with my mom to watch the barrel racing,” said Boxleitner, whose mom, Kari, and sister, Taryn are barrel racers. “That was the day I decided to become a calf roper, and I ran with it. It’s special to be here at the rodeo that started it all. To be able to be splitting the average and win the first round is just an unbelievable feeling.”
All of this week’s experiences give him a hometown feeling, because so much of his life has been spent up the mountain at the base of the Rocky Mountain National Park.
“I grew up fishing and hunting around Estes Park,” he said. “It’s just a special place. Loveland is a special place to me, but this is one of my favorite rodeos, especially now.”
Boxleitner stopped the clock in 9.9 seconds Thursday night to win the first round. That was worth $1,620 and gave him a boost he needs to catch Mountain States Circuit leader Riley Pruitt. Leading up to Sunday night, Boxleitner had earned $6,889 in the region made up primarily of rodeos and contestants in Colorado and Wyoming.
His earnings in Estes Park already have shot him to the standings lead, and he’ll add to it with his average check. He and Kincade Henry each roped two calves in a cumulative time of 22.0 seconds. Boxleitner began competing in ProRodeo in 2019 and has tried his hand at competing full time. This year, though, his focus is on rodeoing primarily in the circuit.
“I decided this year the best option for me was to stay close to home and finish out my 7-year-old horse named Slick,” he said of the sorrel gelding. “I made the decision to stay on him no matter how bad or good it went and just try to figure it out on him. It’s been really good on him lately.”
“I plan to go for (the National Finals Rodeo) next year. I’m going to try to dominate the circuit this year and be ready to hit the trail hard come Oct. 1.”
The ProRodeo season is cyclical. It runs Oct. 1 of one year to Sept. 30 of the next, but world champions aren’t crowned until the NFR in December. In order to win a gold buckle, cowboys and cowgirls must qualify for the finale, but only the top 15 in the world standings at the end of the regular season earn that right.
All the positives are stacking up for Boxleitner. He trusts his young horse, because the gelding always works to help his human partner. It takes a horse that can get to the calf quickly, then stop fast and keep the line tight to allow the cowboy to tie three legs together. It’s a combination of horsemanship and the thrill of competition that drives him.
“At the end of the day, it’s you and your horse, and you’re competing against your calf and don’t have to rely on anybody else,” Boxleitner said. “It’s on you and your horse to make the best run you can. Maybe it’s selfish, but I like to win my self and not have to share the glory.
“This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and it’s something you can never quit getting better at and never quit learning. I think that’s why I’m so drawn to it. I’m always trying to get better. You can never hit the ceiling.”
Bareback riding : 1. (tie) Waylon Bourgeois, on The Cervi Brothers’ Bazinga, and Richmond Champion, on Cervi Championship Rodeo’s Hitman, 85.5 points; 3. Jacob Raine, 85; 4. Lane McGehee, 83; 5. (tie) Kade Berry, Keenan Hayes and Jacob Lees, 79.
Steer wrestling: First round: 1. Aaron Vosler, 3.6 seconds, $1,721; 2. Riley Duvall, 3.7, $1,425; 3. Bridger Anderson, 4.1, $1,128; 4. (tie) Rowdy Parrott and Cash Robb, 4.3, $683 each; 6. (tie) Jace Joos and Tristan Martin, 4.5, $148 each. Second round: 1. Brandon Harrison, 3.6 seconds; 2. Clayton Hass, 3.7; 3. Stephen Culling, 3.9; 4. Kyler Dick, 4.2; 5. Dakota Eldridge, 4.5; 6. Walt Arnold, 4.6. Average: 1. (tie) Aaron Vosler and Dakota Eldridge, 9.1 seconds on two head; 3. Rowdy Parrott, 9.2; 4. Bridger Anderson, 9.3; 5. Tyler Pearson, 9.9; 6. Kyler Dick, 10.8.
Team roping: First round: 1. Korbin Rice/Jake South, 4.4 seconds, $1,721 each; 2. Tyler Wade/Wesley Thorp, 4.5, $1,425; 3. (tie) Cam Jensen/Tanner Whetham and Kreece Thompson/Landen Glenn, 4.7, $979 each; 5. Lightning Aguilera/Jared Fillmore, 4.8, $534; 6. (tie) Pedro Egurrola/JC Flake and Kellan Johnson/Carson Johnson, 5.0, $148 each. Second round: 1. (tie) Tanner Tomlinson/Patrick Smith and Andrew Ward/Buddy Hawkins II, 4.2 seconds; 3. Dustin Egusquiza/Levi Lord, 4.3; 4. Payden Emmett/Lucas Falconer, 4.5; 5. (tie) Kellan Johnson/Carson Johnson and Kreece Thompson/Landen Glenn, 4.7 each. Average: 1. (tie) Andrew Ward/Buddy Hawkins II and Kreece Thompson/Landen Glenn, 9.4 seconds on two head; 3. Kellan Johnson/Carson Johnson, 9.7; 4. Korbin Rice/Jake South, 9.8; 5. Lightning Aguilera/Jared Fillmore, 10.3; 6. Tanner Tomlinson/Patrick Smith, 14.2.
Saddle bronc riding: 1. Stu Wright, 87.5 points on Cervi Championship Rodeo’s Ricky Bobby; 2. Stetson Dell Wright, 87; 3. Kade Bruno, 86; 4. Sam Martin, 84; 5. Cort Scheer, 83; 6. Lefty Marvel Holman, 82.5.
Tie-down roping: First round: 1. Tyler Boxleitner, 9.9 seconds, $1,620; 2. Kincade Henry, 10.1, $1,341; 3. Kyle Dickens, 10.2, $1,061; 4. Colton Farquer, 10.7, $782; 5. Ross McAdow, 12.2, $503; 6. Zaine Mikita, 12.9, $279. Second round: 1. Jeremiah Peek, 10.0 seconds; 2. Kincade Henry, 11.9; 3. Tyler Boxleitner, 12.1; 4. Ricky Lambert, 12.5; 5. Seth Peterson, 12.6; 6. Cash Hooper, 13.3. Average: 1. (tie) Kincade Henry and Tyler Boxleitner, 22.0 seconds on two head; 3. Seth Peterson, 25.7; 4. David Trahan, 28.8; 5. (tie) Cash Hooper and Ross McAdow, 29.7 each; no other qualified runs.
Barrel racing: 1. Shelley Morgan, 15.84 seconds; 2. Steely Steiner, 16.01; 3. Hayle Gibson, 16.10; 4. Kelly Allen, 16.11; 5. Kelly Yates, 16.14; 6. (tie) Michelle Darling and Makala Pierce, 16.18; Sadie Wolaver, 16.19; 9. (tie) Rainey Skelton, Heidi Tillard and Sydney Graham, 16.21; 12. (tie) Michelle Merrick and Halyn Lide, 16.24; 14. (tie) Fallon Forbes and Preslie Reid, 16.25.
Bull riding: 1. Stetson Dell Wright, 88 points on Cervi Championship Rodeo’s Theodore; 2. Tyler Kippes, 87.5; 3. Wyatt Phelps, 83; 4. Luke Mast, 82; 5. Fulton Rutland, 81; 6. Braden Richardson, 80.5.