Two breakaway ropers emerged as champions during the 2022 Mountain States Circuit Finals Rodeo, which took place in Loveland, Colorado, Oct. 21–22, with Colorado’s Erin Johnson winning the year-end title and Wyoming’s Charity Hoar winning the aggregate title. It was a great way to end the season, but for Hoar, the journey wasn’t without its challenges.
“This year, it’s been kind of out of sorts,” Hoar said. “My husband, Stuart, actually got hurt in May, so we didn’t know how much we were going to get to rodeo because he shattered his shoulder and ended up having shoulder surgery. He later ended up getting an infection, which well could have killed him. We were able to fight that but, basically, most of the summer from about Cheyenne on he had an IV in his arm. When we were going to rodeos, every four to six hours, we had to stop and give him injections in his IV. So, I kind of had to pick and choose what rodeos I went to.”
Adding salt to the wound, Hoar’s go-to mount, SHS Sweet Vicki Blanton, aka “Vicki,” sustained an injury and was out for the remainder of the season.
“Right before my husband’s second surgery, when the infection hit, my good mare tore her deep flexor and her suspensory, so she’d been out since then.”
Hoar called on their stud horse, Hesa Lucky Bandit, aka “Bandit,” for the remainder of the season. Bandit is part of the couple’s breeding program, Wyoming Blanton Enterprises, based in Pine Bluffs, Wyoming.
Stuart, a calf roper, started the program and has been raising Lucky Blanton and Driftwood-bred horses for more than 30 years. In fact, he rode Vicki’s and Bandit’s sire, Skoal Bandit Blanton, aka “Bubba,” at the 2013 Mountain States Circuit Finals in Rock Springs, Wyoming.
“Bandit, he’s handled the whole thing just amazing,” Hoar said. “He got thrown into the deep end right away. First rodeo out this summer for him was Cheyenne. So, when it came to a performance like Loveland, it didn’t bother him. He was a rock. He scored sharp. He handled everything in stride. He handled it like a champ. Like an old campaigner.”
At the Circuit Finals Rodeo, Hoar finished the first round in seventh with a 12.9. Then, she finished fourth with a 3.4 in the second round and fourth with a 3.6 in the third round. With a total time of 19.9 seconds on three, Hoar was the only breakaway roper to catch all her calves to win the average and $2,763.
“I basically just told myself, ‘Enjoy being here and stick to the process. Stick to what I’ve been working on and that’s roping correct, roping consistent and taking good high-percentage shots. Don’t get in a hurry.’ So that’s just what I did. I didn’t push my start, but I also didn’t take a shot I knew I couldn’t catch. I took high-percentage shots. I made sure the calves were out in front of me.”
While Hoar has big goals for this year’s rodeo season, she will remain focused on her husband’s health and support him throughout the season as they strive to qualify for the Circuit Finals in 2023.
“The goal is to make Circuit Finals again, but most importantly for me this upcoming year is to focus on my husband. He’s sacrificed a lot this year not being able to rodeo and driving me to rodeos. I just want to focus on getting him to as many circuit rodeos as we can and get him qualified for the Circuit Finals,” Hoar said. “Hopefully, this year, we’ll have more circuit rodeos that will jump on board and add breakaway. It’s been a challenge in our circuit at some rodeos to get breakaway approved, so hopefully this year there will be more. Of course, whatever circuit rodeo has breakaway, I will be in at and try to make the Circuit Finals with my husband.”
The 2022 win means Hoar is also qualified to compete at the RAM NFR Open in Colorado Springs, Colorado in July.
“It’s an honor to be able to go to the NFR Open,” Hoar said. “We are a very tough circuit. There were 11 other girls there that just rope outstanding. So, for me to be the only one to catch three calves was surprising. It’s an honor to be able to go represent our circuit with Erin Johnson and represent the breakaway ropers in 2023.”
2022 Mountain States Circuit Champion: Erin Johnson
Erin Johnson won the Mountain States Circuit championship title for 2022 after she earned $17,751.81 in circuit earnings throughout the course of the ProRodeo season.
Her performance at the Circuit Finals was strong, as she won the second round with a 2.3 for $1,842, the third round with a 2.6 for $1,842 and finished second in the average with a total of 4.9 seconds on two for $2,072. She earned $5,755 in total at the event.
Now, Johnson is preparing for her third National Finals Breakaway Roping, which will take place in Las Vegas, Nevada this November. She will enter as No. 2 in the world standings with a total of $72,087.60 in PRCA/WPRA earnings.