I was really happy to hear that Cotton Rosser has been named the 2019 Legend of Pro Rodeo. Cotton and I have been friends over 50 years and it thrills me to see a man like Cotton selected for this award as he has dedicated his entire life to being a cowboy and to the world of rodeo. Many of us in the industry venture out away from the arena from time to time to diversify our lifestyle but Cotton rarely does. For a guy who came from the inner city life of Southern California riding a motorcycle he became quite the cowboy. Cotton was a great all-around hand piloting his own airplane from rodeo to rodeo. A ranch accident put an end to his rough stock riding. He got into the western store business in Marysville, Calif. during his accident rehab by opening a store named Cotton’s Cowboy Corral. He and his wife Karen continue to operate this store today. Be sure and read the story on page 27 about his award and about the presentation that will take place at the South Point Grand Ballroom during the first week of the WNFR.

I was saddened to hear of the passing of ACTRA founder Pat Hunnicutt. Pat, along with some other West Coast ropers, came up with the one of the first concepts of handicapping ropers back in the 1980’s. Pat and I used to go back and forth with some heated letters to the editors in Ropers Sports News about the future of team roping. This was a time when there was no social media as there is today, so when one wanted to let the other ropers know what they felt, they sent a letter to the editor and it would be printed in RSN. Many opinions where either for or against some of the new ideas of team roping, but one thing for sure, Pat wasn’t shy about letting folks know her thoughts. She was a good competitor as well as a producer and will be remembered for her contributions to the roping industry. The founding of ACTRA by the Hunnicutts has left an indeliable mark on the team roping skyline as the still flourishing association celebrates its 37th year.
I had a chance to talk with Pat on the phone this past year. She was saddened that she was unable to ride anymore. Pat and her husband Larry have spent the few decades in Oklahoma.

When I remember some of the things that Pat and Larry Hunnicutt started, I can’t help but think of some of the other early day ropings that had handicapping in one way or another. S.E. Mayo of Texas along with Tommy Norton of Oregon pretty well decided who would or could rope at their ropings. Californian Buzz MacKerracher used to have a roping called, “The Non Winners Roping.” It was a roping where if you had ever placed at a major roping or had been to the NFR you couldn’t rope. Digger Howard and Perry Bigbee limited ropings for years. Digger had the Original Coors Team Roping thoughout Texas. Many of these ropings all started back in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s before the real handicapping associations started.
In the early team roping years, the bulk of the big ropings were all on the West Coast and Southwest. Ropings of the past of great size that were in the Who’s Who of the  notable ropings included the Chowchilla Stampede, Riverside Rancheros, Oakdale, King City, Roer Ropathon, Turlock Muley Roping, Semas Muley Roping, Red Vieu Muley Pasture Roping, Santa Maria 8 Steer, Reno Rodeo 8 Steer, and Dr. Lane Falk Ranch Roping which was held at his ranch in Central California. Dr. Lane liked long scores and big steers. The roping was always held around his birthday in the month of February so weather sometimes played a factor in the conditions at his big arena. After Doc’s passing, the roping continued on in his memory at the Chowchilla fairgrounds until about 20 years ago.
Las Vegas, Nevada held a big roping in the old days behind the Stardust Hotel and Casino. It was a beautiful arena surrounded by lawn and well manicured stall area. Horse and cattle shows were also held at this great complex. There were many more great team ropings out West in the early days and hardly any in Texas and Oklahoma. Those states had big steer and calf ropings that drew many top competitors. In the early days of team roping in Oklahoma and Texas it wasn’t uncommon to rope Holstein cattle with artificial plastic horns. The ropings were few and far between back in the 60’s and 70’s.
We will continue to have more on some of the big ropings from the good old days when the speed limit with a trailer in California was 45 mph. Because of the slow speed limit many ropers preferred small 3/4 and 1 ton stock trucks which could haul more horses and you could go the full speed limit instead of the trailer-towing speed limit. If you have any photos of those rigs, please send us a copy and we will post it.

I’m not even going to go into the PRCA standings this issue for by the time we go to press many changes will have taken place. This next three weeks host some big paying rodeos and a person could move up several places with one of the big paydays ahead. I will say that Clay Smith has a large command of the heading standings and Ryan Motes is leading the heeling. Many ropers are on the bubble and just out of the top 15 and could move up for the money close from the 25th to 15th.

If you happen to call for Steph or Jenny at the Ropers Sports News office, don’t be surprised if they are a little slow to answer as they have taken on a new helper named Wacey Lynn and they are probably working on teaching her the ropes of the office. Wacey is Steph’s Borgi puppy and has taken over the office the past three months. Once they teach her how to answer the phone it will all be back to normal around there with the girls and Tom the office cat, as well as the other four ranch dogs.
Safe travels and good luck to all of you in the next month.


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