Dexter native named tie-down roping Rookie of the Year

Luke Potter dismounts to tie a calf during the 2020 PRCA rodeo season. Potter took the top rookie winnings in tie-down roping, earning the Rookie of the Year title.

Luke Potter made his mark in the big leagues of professional rodeo by finishing the 2020 season at the top of the PRCA/Resistol Rookie of the Year standings in tie-down roping.

“This was definitely a goal of mine,” Potter said. “In pro rodeo you can’t expect to win anything — anyone can beat you on any given day.”

Potter, who turned 21 in November, bested his closet competitor for the title by nearly $10,000 in winnings. He also finished 23rd in the PRCA/Ram World standings, bringing home a season total of $34,301.

Potter had proven his abilities in the arena before hitting the road for the PRCA this past season. He has qualified for the National Junior High School Rodeo Finals, the National High School Rodeo Finals, and fared well in several pro rodeo organizations, including the Internawtional Professional Rodeo Association.

“All I’ve ever wanted to do was rope, since I was a little kid,” he said. “I had a lot of help from my dad and grandpa.”

Luke’s father, Grady Potter, was a PRCA steer roper from the 1980s to 2000s.

Potter didn’t think he could win the title and was having a tough season until mid-August. He made up for the slump with a number of wins that month and into September. He said his horse, “Boone,” had been sick, but recovered and things begin to fall into place.

“Everything worked out in the end,” Potter said. “I give a lot of credit to my horse, too — we really click and work good together.”

Life on the road as a PRCA cowboy was a somewhat different experience than his earlier rodeo career, including an increase in driving time from venues. Potter said before, he would only be on the road four to six hours for regional events. In the PRCA that time often tripled and included some new adventures.

“I had to learn how to drive in the mountains — going down is worse than going up. You almost have to start slowing down on the uphill side,” he said.

Potter went to high school in Arkansas City and Dexter, graduating from Dexter High School. He said the people from his old school followed his progress, and his former principal, K.B. Criss, would check on him while he was on the road.

“It’s really nice to know that people back home are supportive of what you are doing,” he said.

Potter is already preparing for this year’s season with a level of dedication his family said he has had all his life.

“I’m going to get out there and rope,” he said. “This has been my lifelong dream and I going to do it the best I can.”

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