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Garza and Hogan race for Rookie of the Year

A mere $773 separates team roping heelers Cody Hogan and Nano Garza in the race to be the 2017 Resistol Rookie of the Year. With only two days left in the season, both cowboys are hitting the rodeo road hard in pursuit of this once-in-a-lifetime award. 

“I think that’s pretty good competition,” Garza said. “Cody I got to hang out with in Ellensburg, Wash., and he’s young, hungry and talented, and a cool cat, so I’m excited to go against him for Rookie of the Year.”

Twenty-year-old Hogan is leading the rookie race with $41,282, while Garza, 37, is right behind at $40,509. That all could change depending on how this weekend’s rodeos unfold. 

“Man, that’s crazy, that’s for sure,” Hogan said. “All year you go, and it all comes down to these last couple of rodeos. It’s crazy how it works. I really can’t believe it. Just trying to stay on top of everything and staying prepared seems really hard on the last week. You always find a little problem and you have to overcome it and keep working hard and don’t even worry about the standings and let it take care of itself.”

As of Thursday, Hogan was tied for first in team roping at the American Royal Rodeo in Kansas City, Mo., which ends Saturday, as does the 2017 season. Now he’s heading to Texas to compete at the Comal County Fair & Rodeo in New Braunfels and the Pasadena Livestock Show & Rodeo. Meanwhile, Garza is heading to the same Texas rodeos with the same goal in mind.  

“With my experiences and how I’m focused, I should finish strong,” Garza said. “I’m going to do what I’ve been doing – knock them down and see what we draw.” 

Garza won the Lewiston (Idaho) Roundup with a 4.4-second run with Shay Carroll on Sept. 9. Although Garza only won one rodeo this year, he picked up checks consistently throughout the season – and every dollar counts. 

“I feel like I started rookie year a bit late,” Garza said. “We had some rodeos in February and March, then we didn’t win any money in June, but we made $40,000 in four months – that makes me feel confident. I think if I started earlier I would have been in the Top 15 instead of the Top 30.”

Hogan has had quite a season for wins. The young cowboy won:
• The Leesville (La.) Lions Club rodeo with a 3.9-second run with Marcus Theriot on Oct. 8, 2016
• The Home of Champions Rodeo in Red Lodge, Mont., with a 4.4-second run with Tyler Waters on July 4
• The Cache County Fair And Rodeo in Logan, Utah, with a 4.4-second run with Aaron Macy on Aug. 12, then the Omak (Wash.) Stampede with a 4.5-second run on Aug. 13. Hogan and Macy also split the win at the New Mexico State Fair & Rodeo on Sept. 17 with 10.1 seconds on two runs. 
• While partnered with Wenceslao Aguilera, Hogan split the win at Rodeo Rapid City (S.D.) on Feb. 4. 

“I’ve been feeling good and feel like we will do great,” Hogan said. “Things are coming together nice, and I’m anxious to see how it turns out.”

“I’m trying not to think about it,” Garza said. “If it goes my way, it does, and if it doesn’t, well I’m looking forward to next year and going to the winter rodeos and making Top 15 to go to the NFR (next year).”
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