The field is set for the WCRA Cowtown Christmas Championship Rodeo Showdown Round, with young-gun Hali Williams adding her name to the list Friday night Dec. 16 with the fastest time of the week—a 2.19-second run.
Williams collected $1,600 for the go-round win and will be returning for the Showdown Round on Saturday Dec. 17 alongside six other breakaway ropers.
“I got to watch both [performances] before me,” said Williams, 19 ,of Comanche, Texas. “And I knew I couldn’t be late off this start.”
Gelding Stylish Red Light knew what to do, giving Williams a shot right out of the box.
“In that arena, if you’re out late it gets tricky,” Williams said. “The calf starts running, this arena is so small it’s hard to say, ‘Oh I’m just going to go make a good run.’ You’ve got to stay aggressive and try to be first. I wanted to be first [place] so I knew I’d make it to the Showdown Round tomorrow night.”
Joining Williams in the Showdown Round Saturday is Round 3’s second-place roper Tiffany Schieck of Floresville, Texas. Schieck—the reigning co-champion of the Cheyenne Frontier Days and WCRA breakaway roping rep—caught her calf in 2.65 seconds for a $1,200 prize.
In the Showdown Round, Williams and Schieck will join the top-two ropers from the rounds on Wednesday and Thursday along with the WCRA’s top-seeded roper and the WRPA’s newest World Champion Martha Angelone.
The field of seven will be whittled down in the Showdown Round, with the top three competing in the Triple Crown of Rodeo Saturday night. In the finale the top rider will walk away with a guaranteed $15,000.
Red Light Green Light
“My little horse makes it super easy,” Williams said of Stylish Red Light, also known as ‘Red Light’. “That run felt like it was a 2.8, 3.0 run. He gives me a shot so early and kind of bends and lets me see that calf when they go left.”
Williams originally didn’t want to be a breakaway roper; she wanted to be a team roper. But with some encouragement from her father Speed Williams—eight-time PRCA world champion header—and a string of capable mounts, she gave in.
“Red Light kind of got thrown in the ringer as a 6-year-old, but he was easier than any other horse I had for different setups that I’d never been to before,” Williams explained. “You get on a different horse and it’s a different [ride]. But on him, it feels easy no matter how fast you are.”
Red Light was bred by Katherine Joos of Gainesville, Texas, is sired by Stylish Rey Gay and out of the CD Lights mare Shiney Night Light. The 7-year-old gelding is described as full of personality, destroying the treat container at the trailer prior to his run Friday night.
“He sprayed treats throughout our tack room,” Williams said, shaking her head.
Williams plans on calling on Red Light again for Saturday’s competition, because it’s hard to get off the good one when $15,000 is up for grabs.
Williams is undoubtedly surrounded by a strong team, including her father Speed and reigning WPRA Breakaway World Champion Martha Angelone.
“I don’t feel like you can back off any,” Williams said. “I’ve got Martha Angelone texting saying ‘Hey, let’s go get this thing [Saturday], go win tonight.’ I hadn’t even walked out of the alley, and she texted me ‘Heck yeah, see you tomorrow.’ So, it’s kind of hard to back off when I’ve got Martha.”
Her support system is right to push her, especially after she collected more than $45,000 in Las Vegas in December including The Masters Tour Aggregate Championship, worth $30,000.
“The competition is fun and we’re always rooting for each other,” Williams said of Angelone. “It’s nice knowing you have someone who is going to push you to go fast and be better. I feel like even when I have nerves, they make me more aggressive.”
Williams’ success comes with a bigger plan attached: buy prospects for Speed to train for breakaway. With her $45,000 Vegas payout and $15,000 on the line at the WCRA Cowtown Christmas, she’s not slowing down.
“It feels awesome to [execute],” Williams said. “Hopefully I can have another prospect coming up next year.”
Williams is aimed at a $60,000 December, recalling the $1
“We’re all in it for the million-dollar dream,” Williams said. “But we’ve got a little ways to go til
WCRA Cowtown Christmas Rodeo Setup
The Cowtown Christmas Championship Rodeo is one of three WCRA Triple Crown of Rodeo events, and pays out more than $360,000 over the four-day event in 2022.
From Dec. 14–16, each event will host 24 contestants total, broken into groups of eight per night. The top two competitors from each of the three nights’ qualifying rounds will then advance to Saturdays’ Showdown Round on Dec. 17.
There, the six qualifying go-round riders will compete alongside the No. 1 WCRA-seeded athlete in a battle for a top-three finish. Those top three competitors will then return to the arena Saturday night for the Cowtown Championship Rodeo Finals and a winning check worth $15,000.