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On the Breakaway Bandwagon: Danielle Wray and Show A Hot Rod Bank $10,163, Win 2023 Riata Buckle Open

Danielle Wray notched her first big win in the breakaway roping pen aboard her Pitzer Ranch-bred gelding, Show A Hot Rod.

Danielle Wray and Show A Hot Rod breakaway roping
Danielle Wray and Show A Hot Rod. Andersen/C Bar C Photography.

On November 2, 2023, Danielle Wray and Show A Hot Rod notched their biggest win of the Nebraska cowgirl’s budding breakaway career with a five-figure day at the Riata Buckle roping.

Inside the Lazy E Arena, 24-year-old Wray went 11.63 seconds on three head to earn the $8,913 Platinum aggregate win on the 7-year-old palomino gelding by the Pitzer Ranch stallion, Show Me A Song Joes and out of The Hot Rod Duchess, by Duke Joe Jack. Additionally, Wray earned $250 for splitting third-place money in Round 1 in 3.4 seconds and $1,000 for winning Round 2 in 3.19 seconds, bringing her total event earnings to $10,163.

Fast Fact: In 2011, Danielle’s father, Mike, won the AQHA Senior world heading championship aboard Show A Hot Rod’s sire, Show Me A Song Joes.

Show A Hot Rod pedigree

Wray is a team roper by trade, but the growing payouts have helped convince her to focus some of her efforts in the breakaway arena in the past year. “Mellow Yellow,” has helped her transition.

“We team rope a lot, so I don’t think I’ll ever get away from it, but if breakaway keeps taking off like everybody says it is, I’m going to have to stick with it.”

Danielle Wray

“We’ve had him since he was a yearling or weanling,” Wray explained. “I’ve headed on him a lot. Last year, I used him to get ready for the (World Series of Team Roping Finale) heading, and then this year I started roping calves on him and started taking (the breakaway) more seriously. I took him to some amateur rodeos this summer…He’s definitely exceeded my expectations.”

Wray was one of the first ladies to rope in Round 1, but that didn’t stop her from pinging the start and roping in the money. Her Round 2 win only helped her case, and she entered the short round in the high callback position. All eyes were on Wray, and she took multiple deep breaths before backing in the corner. She had already leaned on her dad’s expertise to help her set up a game plan on a calf she was unfamiliar with.

“I just didn’t want to break the barrier,” Wray said. “My dad rarely comes with me, but I had my whole family here. He told me ‘You’ve been knocking the start out on him. Be a little off the start on this one.’ We didn’t know which way he was going to step, but we knew he was going to. It turned out to be a good thing I was late, because that calf fell to the left a little bit.”

Shifting sides of the roping box wasn’t even the biggest obstacle Wray has had to overcome with her roping.

“I cut my thumb off in 2015, so at this point I’ve roped longer without it,” Wray explained. “Just learning my rope control, knowing where my tip is (have been adjustments).”

“I’ve thrown everything at this horse. I’ve kicked on him and pulled on him in the box, so that when he gets somewhere like this, he can take a deep breath, too. Our practices at home are intense.”

Danielle Wray

Wray was grateful for Mellow Yellow’s performance, but she was quick to sing praises to the esteemed program at the Pitzer Ranch. Wray’s home is just a few miles down the road, so she’s had exposure to many horses from the program, multiple of which are by Riata Buckle stallions.

“Most of my horses are from Pitzer Ranch, as a whole, they’re all nice horses,” Wray said. “If you can get your hands on one of the (Show Me A Song Joes progeny) they’re great horses. Sometimes they’re smarter than the people on their backs. They want to please—they want to do well. Most of them are athletic. You don’t find horses like that everywhere, that just aim to please you.”

Stay tuned for full results from the Riata Buckle Gold Aggregate and Futurity incentive.

Riata Buckle Platinum Aggregate Results

  1. Danielle Wray and Show A Hot Rod, 11.63 seconds on three, $8,913
  2. Taylor Hanchey and Rey Ahead Of Time, 12 seconds on three, $6,367
  3. Katie Jo McFarlane and Seagrams Colonelfrek, 12.54 seconds on three, $4,839
  4. Beau Peterson and Cash Bonus, 12.95 seconds on three, $3,565
  5. Marissa Boisjoli and DT Hickory Blu Steel, $1,783

Round 1

  1. Katie Jo McFarlane, 3.16 seconds, $1,000
  2. Briena Wells, 3.29 seconds, $750
  3. (tie) Danielle Wray, 3.4 seconds, $250
  4. (tie) Brandi McDowell, 3.4 seconds, $250

Round 2

  1. Danielle Wray, 3.31 seconds, $1,000
  2. Cheyenne Guillory, 3.39 seconds, $750
  3. Kimberlyn Fitch, 3.42 seconds, $500
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