CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas. – Riding an incredible wave of momentum, Isaac Diaz (Desdemona, Texas) produced what was one of the most ferocious saddle bronc title races in WCRA history. The 37-year-old was the undeniable star of the rodeo, going first in the round and delivering what would be the most groundbreaking performance of the event. As only one of two athletes remaining Triple Crown of Rodeo eligible in the Triple Crown of Rodeo Round, his 80-point ride elevated him to a $15,000 payday. For Diaz, fresh off his win at December’s Cowtown Christmas Championship, the event marked his second consecutive WCRA Major, putting him in contention to be a millionaire. If Diaz triumphs at WCRA’s Rodeo Carolina, he will be the second victor of the WCRA Triple Crown of Rodeo $1 Million Bonus.
The Triple Round of Rodeo Contender was the first WCRA Saddle Bronc Champion during the Windy City Roundup in 2019. The Texas Cowboy has more than $120,000 in WCRA Earnings; not only did the now-3x WCRA Champion emerge victorious, but did so by defeating 4x NFR Qualifier Cole Elsher (Faith, South Dakota) and Gus Gillard (Morse, Texas). Diaz has won three WCRA events in total.
The inaugural Rodeo Carolina’s is playing host to the final stop to the WCRA’s Triple Crown of Rodeo (TCR) during the 2023 series and will have a guaranteed payout of more than $400,000.
The Triple Crown of Rodeo is an annual bonus that pays a $1 Million cash award to any one athlete or collection of athletes who win first place in any three consecutive WCRA Major Rodeos.
As the first discipline of the Triple Crown of Rodeo Round, bareback riding had the fans inside the American Bank Center on the edge of their seats throughout the action-packed night where contenders prevailed. After Mason Clements (Spanish Fork, Utah), Garrett Shadbolt (Merriman, Nebraska), and Leighton Berry (Weatherford, Texas) advanced to the Triple Crown of Rodeo Round courtesy of their 85+ point rides, the three quickly became immersed in a shootout for the $15,000 Major payday in the round. Outscoring Berry, Clements, an 8x WCRA qualifier, took home the victory after he delivered a critical 87-point ride on top of High Heels to capture the victory.
2023 Women’s Rodeo World Champion Martha Angelone (Cross Junction, Virgina) ran the only qualified time in the Triple Crown of Rodeo Round. While Cheyenne Bartling and Kerstin Freeman did not catch, Angelone had one of the fastest times of the week, earning a 2.03-second time. With Angelone being the only roper to earn time, she collected the ground money and earned $19,000.
Hometown cowgirl Sissy Winn (Corpus Christi, Texas) won the Barrel Racing title at the Rodeo Corpus Christi courtesy of her 13.684 -second run in the TCR round, good to take ownership of the quickest time of the week. Winn topped London Gorham’s (Cotulla, Texas) 13.803-second time, distancing Stephanie Fryar’s (Medford, Oklahoma) 13.908-second run.
Angelone and Winn will compete in the May 18-20 Women’s Rodeo World Championship. If either wins in their respective discipline at the event, they will be in contention to win the Triple Crown of Rodeo at Rodeo Carolina in October.
As one of only three tie-down ropers to deliver a clean run, Shad Mayfeild (Clovis, New Mexico) found himself edging out West Smith’s (Emmett, Arkansas) 11.97-second time and Clint Singleton’s (Comfort, Texas) 14.14-second run.
The team roping title was won by the duo of header Riley Kittle (Woodland, Alabama) and heeler Jace Helton (Tolar, Texas), notching a 10.16-second run. They edged the runner-up duo of Andrew Ward (Edmond, Oklahoma) and Buddy Hawkins (Stephenville, Texas) who logged a 10.25-second effort. The second-place finish dashed the hopes of Hawkins who was hoping to leave Corpus with his second victory in the WCRA Triple Crown of Rodeo after topping the discipline at the final 2022 Major of the year in Fort Worth.
Trisyn Kalawaia (Hilo, Hawaii) was unstoppable in steer wrestling. The 21-year-old Hawaiian native recorded a 3.82-second run in the long round before delivering a lightning-fast 3.75-second effort in the Triple Crown of Rodeo round. Kalawaia studies under 2x WCRA champion Stockton Graves.
Young-gun Jaxon Mortenson (Prescott, Arizona), who just came off a recent Velocity Tour Win in Fresno, California, was the only athlete to cover in the TCR Round. With Mortenson being the lone athlete to earn a score, he collected the ground money equal to $20,000.
Since launching in May of 2018, the WCRA and its partners have awarded more than $15,253,000 in new money to rodeo athletes.
On June 4 at 11:30 a.m. CT, fans can tune into Rodeo Corpus Christi Rodeo Triple Crown of Rodeo Round on a CBS network broadcast.
All results from the event can be found here.