Watch List: Southeast’s Bethany Stallons Brings the Heat to Resistol Rookie Race

With more than $20,000 in 2023 ProRodeo earnings, Bethany Stallons is the Southeast’s main representative in the Resistol Rookie of the Year race.

Bethany stallons ropes a calf in Farmington Missouri
One of the high points in Stallons' season was winning Farmington, Missouri. Photo by Phil Kitts/Avid Visual Imagery

Bethany Stallons is representing the Southeast in the Resistol Rookie of the Year race, currently boasting $20,356 in earnings and sitting No. 5 in the pack of talented rookies.

“This year has been such a blessing,” Stallons, 22, said. “It’s been a childhood dream, especially getting to rope for equal money in a lot of places. It’s getting to where we can make a living doing this now.”

Stallons’ foundation

Stallons grew up in a non-rodeo family. Her parents David and Becky Stallons bought her and her two siblings trail horses at a young age. When Stallons began competing, it became clear that breakaway was her event.

“I really liked how, with breakaway, I felt I could get further with my talent, whereas in barrels, it felt like it became a money and horsepower thing,” Stallons said.

Following high school, Stallons rodeoed on scholarship for the University of West Alabama and aided the women’s team in winning the Ozark Region for the first time in 2022. The team repeated the feat in 2023 and capped it off by then winning the Women’s Team Championship at the 2023 College National Finals Rodeo.

Living the rookie dream

In addition to her college rodeo successes, Stallons has also picked up ProRodeo checks across the United States throughout the year, including for a championship win in late May at Coles Tractor & Equip Regional PRCA Rodeo in Farmington, Missouri, with a 3.2-second run. She’s also finished No. 2 at the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo in Kansas, at Mandan Rodeo Days in North Dakota and at Southeastern Livestock Exposition in Montgomery, Alabama.

Hailing from Hopkinsville, Kentucky, Stallons graduated from the University of West Alabama in May 2023 with a degree in marketing. She  was originally planning to stick to ProRodeoing on the Southeastern Circuit in 2023, but an opportunity arose to go out West.

Now, she’s hitting the ProRodeo road full time with Cassie Emerson and college friend Heather McLaughlin, who won the Southeastern Circuit’s inaugural breakaway finals last year.

“I think us Southeast breakaway ropers have a little bit of a chip on our shoulder. People don’t think much comes from the Southeast when it comes to professional ropers. Everybody thinks of Texas and Oklahoma. But I think this year, we’ve really come out and shown we can hang with the rest. People need to be looking for us.”

– Bethany Stallons

Respect the South

The Southeast may not appear to be a roping hub, but Stallons begs to differ. With the second-ever Southeastern Circuit finals on the horizon, the circuit’s competitors have already blown past what it took to win the 2022 year-end: $6,810. With six weeks left to go in the season, that mark has been surpassed by Stallons and two other ropers, including leader Laramie Johnson who’s on track to double the number with $11,449 earned so far.

“This year in the Southeast, they’ve added breakaway to a lot more rodeos,” Stallons said. “The stock contractors are really helping us out and supporting us. We’re really grateful for that.”

When it comes to setups, Stallons described the Southeast as mostly “medium” scoring territory.

“The Southeast has a lot of trickier setups,” Stallons said. “I feel like when you go to Texas, you can nod and leave out behind a calf and rope in 1.6, 1.7 seconds. And then you go out West to places like Cheyenne, and you have to see them way out. If you have a 5-second run, you’re doing good.

“In the Southeast, the scores are not long, but also not short. You really have to be able to read the cattle around here and think, ‘OK, do I need to see a shoulder? Ear?’”

Stallons suggested that breakaway entries regularly top 100 at rodeos in the South, giving stock contractors the tall order of rounding up a large, consistent group of calves.

Keeping horses schooled

While on the road, one of the biggest lessons Stallons has learned is how to keep her two-gelding string fresh without practice.

“I ride them outside the arena and keep them soft in their face, ribs and moving their feet, because that all translates to the box and what happens inside the arena,” Stallons said. “If I can’t keep them soft, I know they won’t give me a good start on the longer scores.”

Stallons’ horses are half-brothers “Jughead,” 13, and “Little Bay,” 9, sired by Elans Smokin Gun and both trained by Scott Mullen.

“Both of them are great for shorter scores, and I usually use my Little Bay for longer scores,” Stallons said. “You can float him across the line if you need to. On a longer score like Cheyenne—he really shines out there. And Jughead can really break the rope off.”

Jughead (Elans Smokin Two) is out of a TR Little Peppy mare and Little Bay (Smokinplayboymudd) is out of a Par Bars Star mare.

Up next for Bethany Stallons and her string is the Inter-State Fair & Rodeo in Coffeyville, Kansas, Eureka PRCA Rodeo in Kansas and the Will Rogers Memorial Rodeo in Vinita, Oklahoma.

Want more Eastern action? Check out this piece about Stephen Britnell on the Team Roping Journal.

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