A big thank you for all of the special awards and remarks by many people at this year’s Bob Feist Invitational. It was a touching moment when the three heelers who had been to all 35 BFI’s along with Corky Ullman and Daren Peterson presented me with a buckle about halfway through the roping. It meant a lot to me because I had roped with all three of those guys in years past when they were just kids.
It was kind of sad being there and knowing that the event that my staff and I created was no longer under my control after 35 years. The new owners, Ullman and Peterson Events, did a good job on their first year. Some of my former BFI staff stayed on with them this year and that made things a little easier for them to get their feet wet on the first year.
All in all, I thought the roping was run well and know that they were making many notes as to how to make the roping better in the future. They are very open to suggestions and any remarks may be sent to them through their web site, bobfeistinvitational.com.
My main disappointment in the roping was that so few teams caught five head of cattle in the six steer average. This was a record year for the number of teams that went out of the roping in the first five go rounds. It was looking so bad that the management was already making a plan to handle the short go with less than 15 teams. About three-quarters of the way through the fifth go round, only 13 teams had roped five head, and then as the last 20 teams roped their fifth steer, the final 15 short round positions were filled. This was an important year to make it back in the short round as you were guaranteed your fees back if you made it, plus you got to run at the Wrangler Bonus that was offered.
When I first founded this roping, it was designed to let ropers display their horsemanship and roping skill on a consistent basis and to settle down and rope all their cattle. It seems to me that the youth of the roping world today just doesn’t get that concept and still tend to try a rodeo run on every steer starting with the first go round.
This year the money was taken out of the first go round and put in the average to encourage ropers to settle down and get the first steer roped and feel out the conditions. After that, all one had to do was not make any mistakes, but the youth of today coupled with the rodeo run mentality seemed to get the best of today’s competitors.
I was totally shocked when I would see some of the ropers come out and reach a mile on a steer that in one more jump would have made a sure catch. Many would take that reach on either end and hope that they caught and would be FAST. When a roping pays this kind of money in the average, I would have to think a little differently. I have said for years that one could just go out and make six practice runs at the BFI and win a lot of money. Granted they probably wouldn’t have won first, but they would make the short go and place in the average.
I’m not sure what the answer is and maybe in today’s world it isn’t going to change. Ropers will always try and be as fast as they can at a roping and see what happens. The old saying of “go for every round and let the average take care of itself” may be the theory of today’s ropers. I just wish that ropers at this roping and at the Wrangler National Finals would rope to their skill level and display the talent they have in catching rather than hoping that everything goes right and they will be fast. These quality of ropers should not miss a steer at this kind of competition.
I was proud of some of the new names at this year’s BFI and the Smith brothers from Oklahoma have dreamed about being at this roping for years and finally came and displayed great talent early on in the roping, until a broken barrier broke an egg in their lifelong dream of winning the BFI. The good news is that they still placed in the average, winning 11th and splitting, $7,000.
I couldn’t help noticing Trevor Brazile and Patrick Smith went right after the first round and placed third.
Clay Tryan loves this roping and has proven it is his cup of tea with three different partners. He has won with Patrick Smith and Walt Woodard and now this year with Travis Graves.
The Minor boys did well and captured a healthy second place check at this year’s BFI. The boys have been at this roping as kids watching and as contestants for years. Their mother, Mary, worked the earlier BFIs in Chowchilla back in the late 70’s and Reno in the 80’s and their father roped in the roping as well.
Tom Richards, son of World Champion George Richards, roped an impressive roping with partner Nick Sarchett. The team won third in the average, placed in the third round and won the Wrangler and Priefert short round. Nice day for the team that had a plus five on one of their runs. Sorry Nick.
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Every month we here at Ropers Sports News are saddened by the loss of someone in the western world. The passing of Paula Wright from Elko, Nev. was a shocker. Paula and her husband, Doug, have been big supporters of Ropers Sports News and the Bob Feist Invitational for many years. Paula‘s dad Paul Bear was also a big supporter of the BFI in the early years. Our heartfelt sympathy to the Wright and Bear families on their loss.
See page 51 of this issue to read more about Paula’s life.