Bayleigh Choate Turned $500 into $57,278. Here’s How She Did it.

Wait, you can MAKE money rodeoing?
Bayleigh Choate and Boozer turning the second barrel in Progressive Round 2 of 2024 WCRA Rodeo Corpus Christi.
Bayleigh Choate won the 2024 WCRA Rodeo Corpus Christi. | Image courtesy WCRA by Bull Stock Media.

Rodeo . . .  a top financial investment strategy?

OK, so your friendly local Merrill-Lynch professional would probably never recommend rodeo as a means to secure a high return on investment (ROI) given the costly nature of the sport.

But how does an ROI of 8006% sound? How about 11356%?

Unbelievable? Improbable? How about incredible?

Not to Jarvis Demery and Bayleigh Choate — those are exactly the numbers earned by these two athletes during a ten day span in May off their nomination fees and Last Chance Qualifier entries into the World Champions Rodeo Alliance (WCRA) events in mid-May 2024.

 For Choate, the winning spree was basically based on a whim.

The 20-year old cowgirl set the rodeo world afire in 2022, qualifying to the National Finals Rodeo as a rookie. After finishing second in Las Vegas, Choate rewrote the history books at the winningest Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) rookie of all-time.

“I was so ready for a break,” Choate noted of her disappearance from the ProRodeo scene in 2023. “There was so much pressure and my horses were tired.”

So, the Georgia native returned home (she’d moved to the Fort Worth area while rodeoing) and took time off.


Replying to @🍄Addi🍄 Of course! Here’s Bayleigh and Boozer’s 14.394 in the second round of the 2024 @WCRA Rodeo Corpus Christi! Bayleigh and Boozer will run against six other ladies tonight in the Triple Crown of Rodeo Round for the Rodeo Corpus Christi title and a spot in Kid Rock’s Rock N Rodeo on the WCRA’s Free Riders team. Check out the full story at the #linkinbio

♬ original sound – Melody DanceFit

Eventually, the barrel racing itch returned and Choate was looking for smart opportunities for her main mount, TJR Stinson Blue, aka Boozer.

My horse gives me 110% every time and I try not to take advantage of that,” she said. “I think a lot of times people get great horses like this and they use them too much.”

“So I try to run him where he gets to shine and let him live his best life the rest of the time; he’s like a mustang running around in his pasture most of the time.”

Choate learned that the 4th Annual Alhambra Shrine Rodeo, an International Professional Rodeo Association (IPRA) event happening in late April in McDonald, Tennessee was a Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ) for Rodeo Corpus Christi. Corpus Christi in turn, would determine the WCRA’s team for the inaugural Kid Rock’s Rock N Rodeo held in Arlington, Texas at AT&T Stadium.

“It was a last minute decision,” Choate said of plunking down the $500 entry fee for the side pot at the IPRA event. “I figured whatever happens, it didn’t really matter.”

Riding Boozer, Choate won McDonald and the LCQ side pot, punching her ticket for Corpus. She went on to the WCRA Major and claimed the Triple Crown Round victory worth $29,500. Four days later, as a member of the WCRA’s Free Riders, she helped the team clinch the Kid Rock’s Rock N Rodeo win, banking another $27,778.

In total, for her $500 investment, Choate earned $57,278 . . . $114.56 in her pocket for each dollar spent or an ROI of 11356%.

“I entered the Last Chance Qualifier and won all that, that’s the best way to do,” Choate laughed. “We didn’t have to make too many runs and I got to go enjoy my horse.”

For tie down roper Demery, the path was a bit different as he had been nominating some events to earn a guaranteed spot into Rodeo Corpus Christi via the VRQ Leaderboard.

“My buddy talked me into nominating some last year and I figured it couldn’t hurt,” Demery, 23, said. “I didn’t know exactly how it all worked but Guthrie, the Stampede at the E in January, was the first time it hit me that this could be a pretty good deal.”

A coming senior at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Demery lives in Beggs, Oklahoma, the son of a steer wrestling father. He competes in both steer wrestling and tie down in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) and earned a berth in the former to the College National Finals Rodeo back when he competed for the Connors State University team.

But tie down is where he focuses his energy and Demery went into Corpus ranked ninth, skipping the Wild Card Round and therefore taking a shorter path to the Triple Crown Championship Night. Once there, he bested a field that included his buddy and mentor, Glenn Jackson, to earn the title. He pocketed $24,500 during his run beside the bay in Corpus.

Like Choate, Demery’s Corpus domination led to a spot on the Free Riders’ and an eventual payday there of $27,778. Demery’s total haul for the ten days in Texas was $52,278.

“It’s pretty crazy,” Demery agreed. “It’s something everyone expects of themselves and I knew my capability and that I needed to trust it.”

“But it’s amazing that it went that well.”

For Demery, it was $645 in nomination fees through the WCRA’s revolutionary Virtual Rodeo Qualifier (VRQ) that set up the ten-day sprint to the pay window. 

The ROI was $81.06 earned for every $1 spent, a return of 8006%.

While equally amazed at the windfall, the competitors admitted to totally different approaches to the unexpected cash fluidity.

I already spent it,” Choate laughed. “I bought a stud.”

Call it re-investment: the purchase is a young stallion who will be Choate’s futurity prospect for 2025 and possibly a profit-generating asset in the future once he hits the breeding shed.

Demery’s strategy is 180-degrees from Choate’s.

“The best thing we figured was, ‘don’t look at it,’” Demery joked. “Don’t touch it, keep rodeoing on what you’ve got, keep riding horses and work to go to the next one.”

“That’s how I’m going at it.”

Demery makes extra cash by training horses and breaking a few as well, a job that definitely has its challenges in the Oklahoma summer.

“I have four or five at the house and I rode four of them the other day; it was 95 degrees when we roped,” he said. “It tests our patience for sure.”

While Demery continues to rodeo this summer, riding his own equine ace, Stanley, for the big ones and working young horses into the mix for seasoning, Choate has gone on another break from the sport and doesn’t know when she’ll be back in the arena.

“I fly by the seat of my pants, that’s pretty much what I do,” she admitted. “I haven’t been anywhere since I got back from Texas. We went down there, won big, and I turned Boozer out and went on vacation.”

“We’re just enjoying life.”

Like Choate, Demery doesn’t know the plan for the next few months but only because he leaves it all to Jackson.

“Glenn puts my name down and I honestly don’t know until maybe the week before where we’re going!”

One thing both competitors are considering is more time and money spent in the WCRA, specifically a trip to Tryon, North Carolina for the next WCRA Major, Rodeo Carolina, to be held October 2-5, 2024 to see if they can add to their impressive ROI percentages.

“That’s our plan,” Demery said. “Glenn went last year and I think I’m going to go this year too.”

Choate and Demery were two of ten competitors to earn more than $40,000 at the WCRA’s May offerings: Rodeo Corpus Christi, the Women’s Rodeo World Championships and as members of the Free Riders at the Kid Rock’s Rock N Rodeo. All told, more than a dozen competitors achieved an ROI over 1000% for the segments in question.

Courtesy WCRA