By; Kendra Santos
The grains of sand in the hourglass of Sterling Walton’s steer wrestling career are falling fast, and he knows it. The Houston native is 37 now, and the clock is ticking for this three-time Cowboys Professional Rodeo Association champ. With a special-needs son at home and business interests that take a lot of his time, Walton hasn’t hit it hard in years past. But advancing to tonight’s Showdown Round at the $360,000 Cowtown Christmas Championship Rodeo put a skip in his step and a special sparkle in his eyes. Maybe it’s not too late to take a shot at his cowboy dreams after all.
“A night like this lights my fire,” Walton said after the 4.28-second run that advanced him right behind his friend and hazer Riley Duvall, who was 4.10. “Knowing I can compete with the best in the business drives me—a lot.”
Cowtown Christmas is Walton’s third sweet taste of life on the World Champions Rodeo Alliance trail.
“The WCRA is perfect for a guy like me, because I’ve needed to be home,” Sterling said. “I can rodeo around the house, take care of my family and my businesses, but still come to these big-paying events. I enjoy competing against the best guys in the world the most. I like to measure myself up against the very best.”
Last night’s field included Duvall and Jacob Talley, who just came off of successful trips to the NFR. Jacob Edler, who won the gold bulldogging buckle in 2020, also went head-to-head with Walton, who at 5’ 7” and 155 pounds soaking wet is on the small side for a steer wrestler.
Walton owns the Walton Transports trucking company, and rides, trains and sells steer wrestling horses. He sold the horse he rode last night—DC—to his friend and fellow steer wrestler Rowdy Parrott right before the 2021 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, and borrowed him back last night.
With the blessing of his wife, Britney, and 16-year-old son, Bryce—they’ve vowed to hold down the fort and look after 13-year-old Kaleb—Walton plans to set sail on the full-time rodeo road in 2022 with a carload of Cajun cowboys—Rowdy, his little brother, Remey Parrott, and 2021 National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Steer Wrestling Champ Gavin Soileau.
“My goal is to make the NFR,” Walton said. “I haven’t rodeoed hard in the past because I needed to stay close to home for Kaleb. But with my family’s support, I’m going to take my shot before it’s too late. And nights like this one have me pretty pumped up about it.”