In The Arena

Bob Feist

Happy New Year to all of you out there in roper-land and congratulations to new world champions of the PRCA, Turtle Powell and Jhett Johnson. This team out-did the field at the Wrangler National Finals by winning the average and placing in eight of the 10 rounds. This team was one of three that roped nine of their 10 steers at the WNFR and did it in a time of 57.90 to finish 15 seconds ahead of the second place team in the average, Jake Barnes and Walt Woodard.
I have given over two weeks of thought before writing about the WNFR team roping because of the bad showing AGAIN in the team roping. I am sorry, but when you put 30 of supposedly the best team ropers in the rodeo business in a competition to see who the best is, and they miss over a third of their cattle, I have a problem with it.

Well, here it is June and time for the 35th annual Bob Feist Invitational and I am getting ready to go up and enjoy the event and for the first time, not be the man at the controls. As most of you know, I sold the BFI last September and have been working with the new owners (Ullman and Peterson Events) to make sure that everything goes well for the 35th annual. The list is in for this year’s contestants and the field looks great as usual with many new names on the roster. At this writing, there are 23 returning champions in this year's line up and they are all partnered well enough to capture another title. The only ropers that are partnered as a former winning team are David Motes and Denny Watkins, who won this event in 1981 in Las Vegas, Nev. These two champions still have the skill and horsepower to win another BFI. All the other returning champions are roping with someone different than who they previously won the BFI with.

Ropings in general seem to be alive and well in most of the country but have dropped in team counts. I think some of this is due to the economy as well as the cost of roping has gone up and up in the past 20 years to where it is a very expensive hobby unless you are placing on a regular basis. Here on the west coast we are seeing the comeback of the smaller style ropings or practice sessions for a whole lot less money and less travel.