What a December for team ropers around the country. Who would ever thought, 40-50 years ago that team roping would be at this level. I know that when I started Ropers Sports News in 1968, I had hopes that team roping would become somewhat more of a popular event and it certainly has blossomed. This year has been a banner year for team ropers with more money up than ever before in the history of team roping.
The Wrangler National Finals Rodeo hosted the top 15 teams, who again had to rope in an arena not built for team roping. It is what it is and over the years the team ropers have come up with a style of roping that somewhat fits this arena. This year I liked the bigger steers with more horn and it allowed the ropers to display better horsemanship as well as smart roping.
I have come to realize that the team ropers at the WNFR are going to go for the lucrative rounds and let the average take care of itself. This year I thought a few of the headers displayed some better roping skills than others in these condition but who is to say unless you were in the same situation as these headers are in. It all happens so fast in that arena and things can go bad in a hurry.
Two of the teams caught nine head and three teams caught eight head. Four teams caught seven head and five teams six head with only one team catching five head. The team that only caught five head was Justin Davis and Clay O’Brien Cooper, and even though they only caught five head they placed in three rounds. Three checks for only roping 50 percent of your cattle isn’t bad.
Every team entered picked up a check this year, which is always nice.
I felt that far too many head loops were missed when the headers were trying to make three second runs on four and five second steers. Granted, there was one three second run in the ninth round by Kaleb Driggers and Travis Graves who were a 3.60. This was the fastest time of the week with the closest to it being a 4.10. There were two 4.10’s in the seventh round to split the go between Clay Tryan and Jade Corkill and Dustin Bird and Paul Eaves. There were also six 4.20 runs during the week.
Congratulations to Clay Tryan and Jade Corkill for winning this year’s titles in heading and heeling. It was a great year for the team and it came right down to the tenth go round to win the title. The team turned in time on seven of the ten steers and picked up five checks in the goes and won sixth in the average to take their respective titles.
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The South Point was again the home of the World Series of Team Roping. This roping just keeps getting bigger and better under the direction of Denny and Connie Gentry. My Resistol is tipped to them and their staff for a job very well done throughout the year. To bring this many ropers together to rope for more money than has ever been offered in the team roping world, is quite a feat.
It was great watching their short rounds and to see the excitement as ropers ran steers for life changing amounts of money. These for the most part are hobbyist ropers who rope for pleasure and dream of winning something big someday. Well, this was the answer of that dream for many.
I was very impressed at all of the ways one could win money. I mean they had pots within pots within pots. I couldn’t believe it. In fact I went to the office to ask Connie Gentry if by any chance I had won something and I wasn’t even entered. One never knows at that roping! I think you could be sitting in the right seat and win something. Congratulations to all the winners who got to share some of the many awards and part of a $7 million dollar pay off. Next year I’m sure will be bigger and better if that is even possible.
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Of course by now all of you have heard that the PRCA has turned down the offer from Las Vegas to continue the WNFR in Las Vegas after year 2014. The Finals will be in Vegas one more year for sure and I feel that the two sides will still come up with a plan and purse to keep it there in the future.
At present there is a lot of talk of moving the Finals to Florida, but at this writing it is merely an offer by Florida and they are just one state that is interested in hosting this great event. Florida happens to be the frontrunner with the best offer at this time. We will just have to stay tuned for the outcome of this. I know many fans out West are a little bummed about possibility of a move that far East, however, they still will be able to watch it on TV. We have been spoiled with all that Vegas has to offer during WNFR time.
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I would like to commend RFD-TV and Radio for a job well done on the coverage of this years WNFR. They kept the fans well posted with what was going on all week and had some great interviews with people involved in our sport of rodeo. They put in a bid to do the TV for the WNFR starting next year but lost out when the PRCA chose CBS Sports Network. I would have thought RFD would have fit our western family a little better and would have had many extras throughout the year and during the WNFR. Oh well, what do I know?
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Speaking of RFD-TV, make your plans now to attend The American Rodeo the first week in March to see the best in theworld compete for over $2 million. Polaris Ranger is the major sponsor of this event and will be hosting it all in Texas. The next weekend will be the famed Timed Event Championship held at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Oklahoma. This event is a must on anyone’s bucket list if you like great cowboys and great horses. The best 20 timed event cowboys will compete on 25 head of livestock in five performances over a three day period. Make your plans now to go to Texas one week and after The American Rodeo go the short distance to Oklahoma to catch the Timed Event.
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January will find a group of us in Steamboat Springs, Colo. for the annual Cowboy Downhill. Come up and join John Shipley and me as we announce the action for the 40th Annual. This event is one to come see and you do not have to be a skier to enjoy all of the fun. Just come up and enjoy and watch some of the best wrecks recorded by pro cowboys and cowgirls as they try their skills on the special race course. While on skis or a snowboard, they will come downhill through pole gates, over a jump, more gates, rope a girl, saddle a horse and then ski or snowboard across the finish line.
Billy Kidd and the Steamboat Ski Corporation will again be our host and it is a fun time for sure so come on up and watch the action in beautiful Steamboat Springs.
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Happy New Year Everyone and thanks for being a reader of Ropers Sports News.