Driving a Cadillac

Horse of the Year Landrys Cadillac shines in Round 1 of the NFR.

AQHA Media

Clayton Hass and Landrys Cadillac in Round 1 of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. (PRCA photo/Greg Westphall)

With dirt from the Thomas & Mack Center Arena still on their shirts, traveling partners Clayton Hass and Tyler Waguespack ambled into the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo media room Thursday night to talk about what an amazing opportunity it was to drive a “Cadillac” into Las Vegas.

This is Landrys Cadillac we’re talking about – the two-time and reigning AQHA-Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Steer Wrestling Horse of the Year. He added another feather to his cap when he carried both Clayton and Tyler to 3.8-second runs during the NFR’s first round, making them joint winners. Cadillac is a 1998 gelding by Skip Me Dandy out of Bayou Peppy Gal by Bayou Sugar Bar.

“This is pretty much a dream come true,” Tyler said. “We haul together all year, and to come out and win the first round together, I mean, you can’t ask for much more than that.”

Having shared the horse all season, it isn’t the first time they’ve tied on him. Most memorably, they tied for the win at the 2016 Texarkana, Texas, rodeo – also with 3.8-second runs.

But Thursday night in Vegas was certainly the most lucrative tie they’ve had. Each round at the NFR has a payout of $26,231. By splitting first and second in Round 1, Clayton and Tyler each took home $23,480. Timed-event contestants at the NFR are vying for a share of nearly $6.25 million in prize money. The NFR’s total payout (including roughstock events) is $10 million.

Clayton’s NFR run came first, and there were just three horses in between him and Tyler. Cadillac hardly had time to catch his breath, but it sure didn’t slow him down.

“That is an incredible caliber of horse,” said Tyler, who’s from Gonzales, Louisiana. “There is nothing else like him. He’s ready to go all the time. I know if we went back out and told him we had to run two more, he’d give us just as much try as he did on the first two.”

Clayton, who hails from Terrell, Texas, remembers a story from the road that illustrates the depth of this horse’s heart.

“We went to Hermiston, Oregon, this year, and there were five guys riding him. They ran four steers (in the slack performance), and there was a malfunction in the barrier, so they had to re-run the whole slack. So that morning, he ran nine steers, and then came back and ran five that night,” Clayton said. He won the rodeo, and two of Cadillac’s other riders placed second and fourth.   

With all that, did the plucky sorrel get tired at all?

“He probably did,” Tyler said, “but he won’t show it. I wish we could find another one just like him, but I don’t know if there is one; he’s incredible.”

Both men said Cadillac was the best horse they’ve ever ridden.

“I love that horse,” Tyler said. “That son-of-a-gun, he’s awesome.”

At the buckle ceremony at South Point Hotel & Casino after the rodeo, both steer wrestlers thanked owner Mark Wallace for giving them the opportunity to ride such a nice horse. Just the night before, Mark had accepted a bronze and a $5,000 check from AQHA, officially claiming bragging rights as the Steer Wrestling Horse of the Year. Cadillac also earned the coveted honor in 2014 and has placed third in the voting in 2013 and 2015.   

 Check out the December issue of America’s Horse, AQHA’s membership magazine, for more on all of the rodeo horses of the year.