RC Landingham (Hat Creek, California) walked out of the Cowtown Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas $1 million richer, taking home the WCRA Triple Crown of Rodeo, presented by the Lazy E Ranch and Arena on December 17. The 32-year-old bareback rider’s career was beaten, bruised, bloody, and filled with tragedy leading up to this $1 million moment. Landingham went into the event with two wins under his belt, only needing to win one more event to earn the bonus. Landingham rode supreme and punched his ticket to $1 million WCRA Triple Crown of Rodeo cash bonus. Landingham is the third athlete to be in contention for the Triple Crown of Rodeo, but the first victor of $1 million bonus.
The Triple Crown of Rodeo is an annual bonus that will pay $1 million to any one athlete, or collection of athletes, who win first place in any three consecutive WCRA Major Rodeos.
“It has taken me more than a decade to earn a near $1 million,” said Landingham. “Thanks to this organization, it only took me three rodeos. This award has done nothing but raise the rodeo bar, and I hope it opens the eyes of others because they are truly making million-dollar opportunities over here.”
Landingham’s grit and determination was evident before the Californian even stepped into the Cowtown Christmas Championship Rodeo for the second annual event in Fort Worth, Texas.
He drafted Pickett Pro Rodeo Untapped, a 6x NFR (National Finals Rodeo) Bucking Horse in the Showdown Round. The soon to be new millionaire notched the top score in the round with an 84.5 score. Later in the Triple Crown of Rodeo Round, Landingham conquered his pick, Freckled Frog (Pickett Pro Rodeo), for a monstrous 89.5 points.
Landingham’s road to this historic moment met tragedy at every corner beginning in 2010 when disaster struck in Houston while riding bulls. Landingham suffered broken ribs, fractured his back and shoulder on top of a lacerated liver and a collapsed lung.
After recovering from his injuries sustained in Houston, Landingham was dealt another sucker punch when he was involved in a gruesome car wreck in May 2011. The car was crushed, and Landingham shattered his left leg and broke two bones in his riding hand. The shattered glass from the accident also wreaked havoc on his musculature requiring a large portion of his triceps muscle to be removed after they were shredded. Landingham wouldn’t awaken for two days after being transported to a Portland, OR, hospital.
Landingham rehabbed his broken body for 18 months. But the worst was yet to come. In 2013, his mom, Wendy, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer shortly after the same dreaded disease took her mom and Landingham’s grandma way too soon. After a courageous four-year fight, with RC by her side, Wendy died in February 2017.
Shortly after the death of his mother, another curveball happened with a wreck in the arena when a horse fell over and dislocated his left shoulder. Much of his rodeo career was delayed until 2021 due to a series of three shoulder surgeries after a screw and a chunk of bone broke off inside the joint.
Landingham returned to riding again in February of 2021 and hit new heights in this comeback, which has included back-to-back return NFR trips in 2021-22 and five WCRA Triple Crown of Rodeo Events.
RC earning the $1 million or more in a single night has only happened three prior times in the sport of rodeo. The $1 million check he earned on December 17 equaled his 14 year career earnings combined. This milestone in RC’s comeback career and landmark event in the rodeo world will forever be remembered in the sport of rodeo.
RC faced off against Mason Clements (Spanish Fork, UT) and Dean Thompson (Altamont, UT) in the Triple Crown of Rodeo Round. Thompson earned an 86.5 score while Clements had 79.5 points.
A fiercely contested race in the Steer Wrestling unfurled as Cody Devers (Perryton, TX) landed a remarkable 4.21-second time to best Sam Power’s 4.30-second time and Tanner Brunner’s (Ramona, KS) 4.54-second run.
The Team Roping duo of Nelson Wyatt (Clanton, Alabama) and Buddy Hawkins (Stephenville, Texas) was unstoppable. The team notched the fastest time of the week. The Cowtown Christmas Champion Rodeo recorded a 3.68-second run in the Triple Crown of Rodeo Round, prior to delivering a lightning-fast 4.08-second effort in the Showdown Round. The victory is the pairs first WCRA Major win.
As the one of only three tie-down ropers to deliver a qualified run in the TCR Round, Kass Kayser (Ellensburg, WA) delivered a 9.70-second run. Besting the No. 1 roper on the Cowtown Christmas Championship Leaderboard and WCRA Champion Shad Mayfield (Clovis, New Mexico).
As the event continued, a hotly contested race in the barrel racing began to unfurl. Kassie Mowry, 3x NFRQualifier, Andrea Cline (Springtown, Texas) and Laura Mote (Llano, Texas) finished the Triple Crown of Rodeo round edging each other’s times. Mowry navigated the course with ease and ran the fastest time of the week with 13.226-second time edging out Cline’s 13.331-second time and Mote’s 13.339-second time.
In the bull riding, 30-year-old Cole Fischer rode best. Capping his perfect 2-for-2 effort on Saturday evening. The 2022 NFR Qualifier rode for 90-points to net an equally impressive check for $15,000. Isaac Diaz (Desdemona, TX) won his second WCRA Major Rodeo after an 86.5 ride aboard Delta Hawks.
Since launching in May of 2018, the WCRA and its partners have awarded more than $14,100,000 in new money to rodeo athletes. All rodeo athletes interested in learning more about the WCRA or the VRQ should visit wcrarodeo.com.
(Courtesy of WCRA)