By: Kendra Santos
“This WCRA math makes sense to me. These guys think outside the box and are trying to better the sport.” ~ Rich Skelton
GUTHRIE, Oklahoma—The diversity within the contestant crowd here at the $500,000 World Champions Rodeo Alliance Semi-Finals at the Lazy E Arena comes from every corner of the rodeo universe. The roster includes multiple generations of the rodeo family—both literally and figuratively. At 48, 15 and 52, respectively, Lari Dee Guy, Rainey and Rich Skelton are rodeo royalty and success stories who share love and respect for both the WCRA and each other. We asked each of them one simple question…
What’s so great about the WCRA and why will it succeed?
Lari Dee Guy of Abilene, Texas, has won 13 Women’s Professional Rodeo Association world championships in breakaway roping, heading, heeling and the all-around. When it comes to rodeo GOATS, this girl is on everyone’s best-ever cowgirls short list. Lari Dee will be 48 on May 21st.
What’s so great about the WCRA is the opportunity that it brings to all breakaway ropers—the professionals, stay-at-home moms, career women, young girls and everybody else. The WCRA gives us all the same opportunities, and I think that’s awesome. The WCRA will succeed because the people who are behind it are going to do everything they can to make it work for the cowboys and cowgirls—all cowboys and cowgirls. I cannot imagine why every contestant in every event would not take the WCRA up on this opportunity.
Rainey Skelton of Llano, Texas, has been busy finishing up her freshman year of high school. She considers the career highlights of her young life to date to be competing at the National Junior High School Finals and The American Semi-Finals. Rainey is 15.
What’s so great about the WCRA is that it gives a girl like me the opportunity to better myself by allowing me to rope against the best breakaway ropers in the world. The WCRA is opening a lot of doors for breakaway ropers, which will broaden all of our horizons. The WCRA will work because it gives all of us in every event more opportunities to compete for big money. The WCRA gives my generation the chance to compete alongside the best in the business, which will do nothing but boost our confidence.
I watch women like Lari Dee and pinpoint the things they do that make them great. Then I go work on my roping after watching them. I’m here to try to better myself, so I can be competitive. People my age don’t get the opportunity to compete for this kind of money against the pros. So this is pretty special and pretty cool. Getting to watch the people who came before us is why my generation keeps getting better and better. Opportunities like this rodeo right here, hard work and dedication will just keep raising the bar on our sport.
Rich Skelton of Llano, Texas, won a record eight straight world team roping titles roping with Speed Williams. He’s heeling for David Key here at the WCRA Semi-Finals. Rich has roped at Rodeo’s Super Bowl—the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo—a staggering 23 times. He’s basically won it all and done it all. And yet his proudest achievement is raising Rainey with his wife, Rhonda. Rich is 52.
What’s so great about the WCRA is that I can rope here and so can Rainey. The WCRA has something for everybody, so it’s a great family outing that’s keeping us all on the same page. The WCRA will succeed because anyone can qualify by nominating events we’re already going to. You don’t have to go out of your road to get here, then when you do get here you have a chance to win a lot of money. It’s actually possible to win $50,000-$60,000 at two or three WCRA rodeos. People have done it. The WCRA has a cool vision for where rodeo needs to go, which includes less travel and more money. I’ve driven a million miles in my career. And everything—trucks, trailers, horses and everything else—costs more money now. This WCRA math makes sense to me. These guys think outside the box and are trying to better the sport. That’s the main objective in the WCRA, and as cowboys we’re all for that and appreciate it.