By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (March 29, 2017) — When Marty Yates said goodbye to grandmother Barbara Hampton before leaving for the final weekend of Rodeo Austin, she gave him his marching orders.
“You go down there and you carry on a family tradition,” Hampton says she told Yates.
The late Johnny Wayne Hampton, Barbara’s husband and Marty’s grandfather, won the all-around at Rodeo Austin in 1979 and 1980, Barbara recalls, so seeing a victory by her grandson at the same rodeo was something she relished.
And something Yates delivered.
Yates returned to Austin for the finals on Saturday, winning the tie-down roping title in 8.5 seconds aboard his red-hot horse Big Time. Yates pocketed $9,400 for holding off J.C. Malone (8.7) by two-tenths of a second, adding that to the $6,943 he earned in the first round and semifinal for a total take of $16,343.
Yates, 22, did more than add another victory to the family’s rich rodeo history; he also moved to the top of the world standings for the second time in his illustrious young career.
Yates has earned $50,403.93 in PRCA money, almost $8,000 more than Caleb Smidt of Bellville and just more than $8,000 ahead of J.C. Malone from Plain City, Utah. Marcos Costa and Tuf Cooper round out the top five almost $13,000 and a little more than $15,000 behind Yates, respectively.
Yates was also number one in the world for less than a week in 2015. He took the top spot with his first career win at Cheyenne Frontier Days – known intimately as “The Daddy” – only to be overtaken later in the week.
But Yates’ PRCA earnings only tell part of the story of his stunning success over the first quarter of 2017. He won $100,000 and the championship in The American, the richest one-day rodeo in the world, less than 24 hours after winning a Cinch championship and $16,000 in San Angelo. Yates has actually won in the neighborhood of $200,000 in 2017 and has another key competition upcoming.
Yates has qualified for the Ram National Circuit Finals, known by some as the national championship of rodeo with the PRCA National Finals Rodeo determining the world champ. Yates won the Ram National Circuit Finals in 2015 and returns to Kissimmee, Florida next week for the 2017 event.