CASA GRANDE, AZ – Riley Minor already had 14 clean runs under his belt at the Mike Cervi Jr. Memorial Pro Classic when he and brother Brady came into the short round as the high team. They had almost a full second advantage over the leaders, JD Yates and Jason Duby, and Riley was already guaranteed one paycheck with partner Jeremy Buhler. Another flawless run saw the brothers get the flag at 5.59 for the win. That lightning run not only claimed the championship, it was the fastest time in the short round.
“I’ve always wanted to win this one,” said Riley while the brothers received their Gist buckles and Coats saddles. “We were lucky,” added Brady modestly. “In any 5 head roping you have to draw good to win first, and we got five really good steers. Our horses worked really well and it all came together.”
The Minor brothers picked up $31,880 for their first place finish, and another $2k for short go fast time. A mix of veterans and young hot-shots rounded out the remaining five placings. JD Yates and Jason Duby finished second place and split $26,400. Past Cervi champ Matt Sherwood and Walt Woodard took the third hole for $20,900, just one day after Woodard smashed the Tucson Rodeo Arena team roping record. The Cervi also paid a $5,000 incentive for the fastest #15 or under team on 5 head. That honor went to Delon Parker and Justin Hughes.
Another highlight of the Cervi is the Pro Am. Amateur headers and heelers pony up $500 to rope with top pros with proceeds benefiting the Justin Crisis Fund. Go round and average winners receive handsome Cervi ProAm Gist buckles along with embroidered Wrangler jackets and a team photo. Mike Rogers had Russell Cardoza heeling for him and the pair took the top spot in the average with 35.43. Shain Sproul headed for Junior Hays, and their 26.2 was the fastest of the ProAm heelers.
There was plenty more money up for grabs on Tuesday, when the Cervi Pre-Ropings took over the arena. The three ropings paid out a total of $54,280. Pace Freed and Cody Pearson split $8,740 in the Open. Matt Sherwood and Hunter Koch took second for $3,275 a man. The #15 saw Kylie McLean and Cole Sherwood rise to the top, splitting $7,970 in earnings. In the #13, Will O’Quinn and Tanner Baldwin won the average and split $5,090.
While the high-paying Cervi is a favorite stop for professional team ropers from around the country, it is wildly popular with fans too. “This roping always gets a huge turn out,” said Aros. “You always get to watch the best horses, along with the brightest stars in our business. They put on a heck of a show.”
The other big winner of the Cervi is the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund. All tallied, the roping raised over $18,000 for the charity, making the total to date over a quarter million dollars.
Short go: 1. Riley Minor and Brady Minor, 5.59, $2,000. 2. Rhett Anderson and Quinn Kessler, 5.65, $1,200.
Incentive: 1. Delon Parker and Justin Hughes, 33.44, $5,000.
Average: 1. Riley Minor and Brady Minor, 31.87, $31,880. 2. JD Yates and Jason Duby, 33.1, $26,400. 3. Matt Sherwood and Walt Woodard, 33.45, $20,900. 4. Chris Francis and Cade Passig, 33.5, $15,400. 5. Riley Minor and Jeremy Buhler, 34.37, $9,900. 6. Dustin Bird and Russell Cardoza, 34.71, $5,500.
Go rounds (Gist buckles): 1st go: Evan Case Skubleny and Blain Vick, 9.34. 2nd go: Kelvin Medeiros and Cesar DeLaCruz, 8.2. 3rd go: Jason Sherwood and Trey Yates, 7.72.
Average: 1. Mike Rogers and Russell Cardoza, 35.43, Gist buckles.
Go rounds (Gist buckles): 1st go: Chris Francis and Robert Schneider, 9.12. 2nd go: Kolton Schmidt and James Bank, 7.02. 3rd go: Levi Simpson and Cooper Haught, 5.89.
Average: 1. Shain Sproul and Junior Hays, 26.2, Gist buckles.