Cody Snow and Wesley Thorp win the Reno Rodeo from seventh callback.
Hot off a CNFR win, Wesley Thorp heeled three steers for Cody Snow in 16.1 seconds to win the Reno (Nev.) Rodeo. ProRodeo young guns and 2016 WNFR qualifiers Snow and Thorp received the coveted silver spurs from the Reno committee and jumped into the top ten in the PRCA world standings with the win.
In June 2016, Wesley Thorp won the College National Finals with Cole Wheeler. Then he went on to take the Bob Feist Invitational title with Zac Small. The team roping world marveled at his feat. Again, in 2017, we stand back and can’t help but think: What a week!
Thorp again won the CNFR heeling title with Wheeler Saturday night (see page 64), and then, on that famed third Monday in June, had a BIG day in Reno. Except that day wasn’t in the Reno Livestock Center’s indoor this year. One lucky set of guys gets to rope their first two steers at the Reno Rodeo during the Bob Feist Invitational, and this year was Snow and Thorp’s turn. So while they didn’t have the same luck at the BFI this year (a leg in the second round and a no-time in the fourth), they were able to get their first two Reno Rodeo steers stretched in 11.5 seconds to come back seventh in the average behind a field of hard hitters—including Chad Masters and Travis Graves at high call and the smoking hot duo of Garrett Rogers and Jake Minor at second callback.
“Our first steer came left pretty hard,” Snow said. “I had to set him up where we could get finished. Our second steer was good and we made a good run to come back good in the average.”
Snow rode his buckskin mare, Annie, to set up the shot and let Thorp tee off on each steer. Thorp rode his bay horse, 14-year-old Rudy, on the first two steers, but opted for his steady eddy, 13-yearold Dennis, in the short round.
“I’ve been riding my bay quite a bit lately,” Thorp said, calling between steers at the Wainwright (Alb.) Stampede. “I’ve been riding him, so I wanted to bring
him to Canada after the second steer at Reno. I left my roan in Reno for the short go. Turns out, I’ve been mounting out in Canada because my bay got stuck at the border. My paperwork wasn’t 100-percent correct. My roan is pretty clutch. I know him really well. I had a full year rodeoing on him last year. I tried to take good care of him this winter. Last year, he got every single steer. This year, I’ve been able to take the load off of him with a few different horses. I left him there for the spring to get ready for the summer. I feel comfortable on him. He came from Tyson Thompson. I’ve had him a year and a half. Tyson rode him some, but he didn’t really fit his style. He’s kind of short-strided. I have a small loop, and it fits good with him.”
By the time the short round rolled around, Thorp had already done all right at Reno’s table games and was ready for more action in the arena. They knew they’d drawn well heading into a tight short round that had only 1.6 seconds between first and last callback. Aaron Tsinigine and Ryan Motes ran Snow and Thorp’s short round steer in round one and were 5.3; Billy Bob Brown and Logan Medlin had him in the second round to be 5.8 or 5.9, Thorp said.
“Cody got a really good start and did a good job heading him,” Thorp said. “My roan let me get around him to take an aggressive throw. Our run finished really good. It was a really tight short go. We were like seventh callback but the first three calls had us by a second, and other than that it was just within a couple tenths. Cody and I are more aggressive anyway. I thought if we could be aggressive we’d have a chance to really move
up, but we didn’t want to do anything stupid either. It pays so good to win any hole there. I wanted to be a little more aggressive and give ourselves a chance. I thought with us drawing that good and making a good run that we’d move up. I was surprised that we ended up winning it. Watching it, I thought there were a few good runs made that could have moved us.”
Snow and Thorp got the flag in 4.6 seconds, and the short round quickly fell apart after they put the pressure on the top teams. They watched at the back of the arena as team after team dropped off, and before they knew it they were receiving Reno’s coveted silver trophy spurs for their time of 16.1 seconds on three head. Come Monday morning, $8,174 was in each man’s bank account for winning the average and the short round at Reno.
“We made a good enough run that we knew they’d need to make pretty good runs to beat us,” Snow said.
The aggressive style that Snow and Thorp used to win Reno has paid off for them all winter. Before the Fourth of July, Snow had $55,875 won and Thorp had netted $56,658, both sitting firmly inside the top 10 in the PRCA world standings. Two young guns don’t often team up and go together in just their third year in ProRodeo competition, but so far so good for these 2016 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifiers.
“Cody and I have been good friends for a long time,” Thorp said. “We jackpotted together and we kind of talked and had some of the same goals and ideas. Zac (Small) is in vet school. I really wanted to rope with Cody, and it worked out to where we could. We’ve missed the books at one or two places. And we’ve had help, and we buddied with Matt Sherwood and Walt Woodard over the Fourth. That helped us there. For the most part, we haven’t had much trouble.”
Snow’s and Thorp’s youth has served them well, as both truly enjoy the grueling rodeo life.
“I like going,” Snow said. “I like when we’re constantly going. I don’t like sitting around very much. On the down time, I get bored. I’m not good at down time. I think I have ADHD. I like always doing stuff so I don’t get distracted.”