By Kendra Santos
The World Champions Rodeo Alliance was made for cowboys with day jobs and big dreams, the likes of Oklahoma steer wrestler James Taylor. His weekdays are spent on the clock as a CNC machinest. But watch out for this guy at a rodeo arena near you on the weekends. With a 4.56-second run at American Bank Center last night, Tulsa’s Taylor punched his ticket to Saturday night’s Showdown Round here at Rodeo Corpus Christi.
“I’m a steel worker,” stated Taylor, who’s 36 and single. “I run a plasma cutter to cut metal for parts for everything from airplanes to buildings and wind turbines—whatever steel is used for.
“I’m a cowboy every day. I work all week, but I’m usually rodeoing Thursdays to Saturdays, then on Sunday am either headed home from a rodeo or in church. The WCRA is made for guys like me with day jobs. We have three shots to try and win a million dollars (via the WCRA Triple Crown of Rodeo, which is available to any athlete able to win three-straight WCRA majors). After I win this Saturday, that’s the next thing.”
Taylor competes in Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo and American Cowboys Rodeo Association events, and other open rodeos. He made his way to Rodeo Corpus Christi by nominating Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeos.
“A lot of these guys do this for a living,” he said. “I just rodeo on the weekends. I don’t have a fancy truck and trailer. But I can hold my own with the big guys.”
He showed the crowd that last night, with that perf-winning, 4.56-second run aboard big brother Eddie’s gray horse, Hancock. Sherman Wyckoff was over on the hazing side keeping things lined out for Taylor.
“I’ve ridden Hancock the last couple years,” Taylor said. “He’s just an honest, hard-working, go-get-the-job-done horse. You never have to worry about him, he’s just going to go do his job. And when I come down to South or North Texas, Sherman’s one of the guys I call on.”
Taylor, who named Tyler Waguespack, Chase Crane, Riley Duvall and Shane Frey as some of his favorites steer wrestlers to watch, is pretty pumped about advancing to Saturday night’s Showdown Round. His buddy CJ Hill is having a big time with Taylor in Corpus Christi, and according to James, they’ve taken road trips, “From the East Coast to the West Coast, from DC Maryland all the way to Sacramento, California. CJ makes sure I stay awake on the highways,” Taylor said.
“This is a great deal. I’m grateful to have this chance, and I’m ready to go show the world who I am. I’m ready to shock the world. Between now and Saturday night, I might go enjoy some of the sights and stick my feet in the sand. Other than that, I just want to rest up and be ready for them to call my name come Saturday night. When it’s all said and done, I want to be one of the good ones. I wouldn’t mind going to Vegas one day for those 10 days. I just want my name to be remembered in the history books.”