The state of California has had its share of rain this winter and it has hurt many of the spring ropings on the West Coast. Some of the lack of teams was due to the bad weather, making the fair-weather ropers stay home due to bad traveling conditions. Plus many of the arenas for the spring ropings are outside. The rough winter meant many ropers have not been able to keep their horses or themselves in condition to rope competitively. As this last week in April comes around, so does the good weather with today being in the 80’s. I look for the ropings to start picking up in numbers from this point on.
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Oakdale PRCA rodeo lucked out on the weather and made it through their weekend in good shape and had great crowds. Another rodeo that escaped the weather was the college rodeo at Cal Poly. Once again they had record crowds and their fund raiser the night before the rodeo proved very successful. The rodeo is known as the Poly Royal and has been on the top of the list for college rodeos for years, having produced many champions over the years who have gone into the professional ranks and continued on to winning prestigious titles including world championships. It is always great to follow the posts on social media about Poly Royal as it seems to be a great homecoming for many alumni and many of them are there watching their own children and grandchildren compete. Of course it always helps to have Poly alumnus Kendra Santos on site to keep us updated on all of the happenings.
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I was fortunate enough to once again attend the Broc Cresta Memorial Roping at the spectacular Four Star Rodeo Ranch, Cottonwood, Calif. It was again well-attended by ropers and spectators on a beautiful day after some rain the night before. The Davis, Cresta, Mitchell and Beers families do a great job of producing this annual event in memory of Broc. When Broc was rodeoing, he spent many days at the Davis’s Four Star Ranch in between rodeos, and it is very fitting to have this roping just prior to the Red Bluff Round-Up Pro Rodeo in California. My Resistol is off to all involved in making this roping one of the greatest gatherings of the year. A kids dummy roping was also held in conjunction with the event. Any time a roping pays $20,000 per man, it is a welcome payout to the winners. Joe Belli and Westec Tank and Equipment Company once again made a very generous contribution to make this roping a huge success. Thanks to all those involved.
In watching the ropers at the Broc Cresta, it was evident to see that the caliber of ropers and horses has improved over the years. Even in the Pro-Am Ropings it is obvious that the Am ropers skills have become far more advanced in the past five years. Almost all the pros are so rope talented and have the skills and horsepower to win at this event. One run after another the clock is recording skilled, fast runs. In the earlier days, a roping like this would have about 25 percent of the ropers who shined just a little more than the rest of the field and generally would capture a great percentage of the money. These days about any one of the over 100 teams that were entered could have won the money.
A lot of the better roping skills come from many ropers today being able to get professional help through the schools and clinics that are conducted throughout the year as well as online tutelage. I commend the instructors today that make their skills available and share them with up and coming ropers. In the old days, 40-50 years ago, there were only a few that would have regular roping schools for the novice. The late E.V. Dorsey was one of those instructors that had schools in California, Hawaii, Colorado and Arizona in the 60’s and 70’s and then in the years to follow many other instructors came along and had clinics and roping camps. I remember when the Woodard family would hold a week-long camp in the French Camp, Calif., area and later came many more who had roping schools either privately or in groups to improve the caliber of roping we have today.
I would like to commend World Champion Speed Williams for the great team roping tips he provides through his social media pages as well as an article that can be found each month in Ropers Sports News. He not only teaches roping and horsemanship, but also sportsmanship and the way of life of the competitive roper. Being a father, he knows first-hand how important it is to teach the youth of today how to be good while at the same time, be safe in and out of the arena. Kudos to all of the “professional professors” of roping today who offer their skills to the ropers of tomorrow. Speed did a great piece on how to improve the safety of dallying today. Many parents worry about their children trying so hard to win that they hurry to the point of trying to be fast, that they are no longer safe and put themselves in a position to getting a thumb or fingers cut off. Speed stresses the importance of keeping your horses working and you riding the horse properly to help avoiding such life changing experiences.
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Spring and Summer mean more traveling so make sure your gear, from vehicles to horses, are in shape and ready for the road. This year be extra aware of all of the health issues related to traveling and make sure your animals have all of their shot records up-to-date and have them with you when traveling.
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BFI Week is just around the corner (June 22-27) so make your plans now to attend the BFI in Reno, Nevada. Call the Silver Legacy to make reservations and ask for the special rates. The El Dorado and the Circus Circus have special rates as well. Use the code BFI19 for rates. Phone the Silver Legacy or El Dorado at 800-687-8733 or Circus Circus at 800-648-5010. I’ll plan on seeing you up there.
Until then, TRAVEL SAFE AND GOOD LUCK!!!!