As we get into the last month of 2012 we will be watching the best in the rodeo world of team roping compete at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, NV. Although I am not a big fan of the Thomas and Mack Arena for team roping, I will embrace it, for it is what it is. Because of the huge payoff at the WNFR, any of the top teams are candidates for a world title.
I also notice the big difference in the team roping roster this year compared to ten or twenty years ago, is the representation from a wide variety of states. Years ago the majority of the team ropers were from California and Arizona with a few from New Mexico and many of the Texas ropers were transplanted Californians that had moved to Texas to be around more ropings. In the early years, Texas didn’t even have team roping at the rodeos and if you wanted to be around team roping you lived out west or the southwest. This year there are only two team ropers from California, header Spencer Mitchell and in the heeling there is Dugan Kelly. Texas is the most well-represented state again this year. I would like to remind you that Ryan Motes was from California as were Clay O’Brien Cooper and Russell Cardoza. All three of these heelers now live out of California.
This is the time of year for finals all over the good ole USA. The week of this writing is the ACTRA Finals in Reno, Nev., and I will be going up there to see many of the ropers plus many of our advertisers as they gather in the fall weather of Nevada. As many of the ropers head for Reno, they will be getting into some bad weather as the first major storms of winter hit the Sierras. Once in Reno they will be protected by the Reno Livestock Events Center which is also the home of the BFI. A nice indoor pen with an attached warm up arena.
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 is always with sadness when I have to write an obit for someone in our industry that has passed on. This past month was not a good one for us here at Ropers Sports News as we lost Arlene MacKerracher and Broc Cresta.
Arlene started with Ropers Sports News in 1968, the year I started the paper. The first issue was just four pages – and it was never that small again. Each month I would make the trip from the Santa Rosa area to Arlene and Buzz’s (Arlene’s husband) house on Kennefick Rd. in Galt, Calif. We would lay out the paper on their kitchen table and decide what was going to be on what page. Buzz would always try to take part with his two cents worth until Arlene would send him back out to his blacksmith shop to leave us alone to get the paper laid out. Arlene was always helpful in doing the right thing by advertisers and special stories. She knew what the reader wanted to read because she had been around a roping every week in either the production stage or going to watch Buzz compete.