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Winners of the #11 WSTR Van Snow Memorial were John Van Aken and Roy Songer. Presenting are Dustin Noblitt (l) and Barry Berg (r) of Cactus Ropes, and Cathie Twisselman.

By Cathie Twisselman
Special To Ropers Sports News

SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA – Hello, ropers and friends. It’s been a long time since I’ve sat down to write any news. As for our WSTR at the Madonna Inn on July 14-16, it was GREAT! It seems like we’re back on track to the way things “used to be” and that goes for lots of things, not just roping. Our ropings, our economy, our new president, etc. I’m very optimistic about the way everything’s going these days.


Our roping was outstanding, thanks to all of you who came and roped. Every single roping was up in teams and it seems as though we’re gonna have to go back to a four-day roping format for 2018 which means it’ll be a Thursday through Sunday roping, July 12-15, 2018. That being said, if you’re wanting to stay at the Madonna Inn, it’s very important that you call for rooms ASAP as they are very busy year round and fill up fast. With the “new” ways of booking rooms online these days, it’s very difficult for me to put a hold on rooms for anything. As far as other hotels and motels, it’s about the same. Summer months in San Luis Obispo are very busy because of our wonderful coastal weather.

This year’s roping paid out over $225,000 in cash and more than $20,000 in awards for a total of $245,000. Not too bad if I do say so myself. But all of this wouldn’t be possible if not for all of the ropers who showed up from all over the United States. There were ropers from California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Oregon, Washington and Colorado. If there were others from other states, I either forgot or never knew they were here. There were ropers from everywhere and we appreciate you all – it’s what makes for a perfect roping.

We even had some extra excitement going on when we had a tie for first in one of our ropings with Bear Pascoe and Kelsey Bengoa, and Ward Fuhlendorf and Jeremy Pinheiro. The four of them had a time of 39.14 on 4 head which made for an interesting conclusion. Since we had only two buckles for 1st in each roping, we decided to ask the two teams if they’d rather “flip” for the buckles or have a “rope off.” They all opted for the “rope off.” It was a one header rope off (which, looking back on it, I’d rather see at least a 3 head rope off…just for excitement’s sake). Ward and Jeremy won the flip and they opted to go first and it was over in a few seconds. Needless to say, the winners of the one header were Bear Pascoe and Kelsey Bengoa. Even though just one team went home with the beautiful Gist buckles, both teams came out with a total payoff of $4,330 to split per team. Not bad for just the “warm-up’’ roping, right? 

As usual, the rest of the WSTR ropings had an amazing payout along with what we think are great prizes. Our largest two ropings and payouts were the #9 WSQ Alex Madonna Memorial and the #8 WSQ Pick or Draw Ropings. We paid 7 places in the #9 WSQ and 8 places in the #8. The total payout of each was $41,280 in the #9 and $45,840 in the #8.

We did something new this year. We gave away two yearling colts that we raised for the high point #5E and under, and for the high point #6 and over ropers. It was pretty much concluded by the end of the second day of roping that Kelsey Bengoa had won the high point #6 and over because he won or placed in three ropings. He won first in both the #12 Warm-up and #13 WSQ Ropings and second in the #12 WSQ. Needless to say, Kelsey had a pretty good two days, plus a new colt! Our #5E and under high point roper wasn’t decided until the very last roping of the weekend…the #10 Pick or Draw. There were about seven ropers in contention for the colt, but the last steer of the weekend roped was the deciding run…and the winner was Ben Dukes. Ben won two ropings during the long weekend. But what really got us, was not thinking that a roper would be winning two ropings as both a header and a heeler. Ben was heading in the #10 WSQ and heeling in the #10 Pick or Draw roping. Yes, it was very exciting for Rowly and I and everyone in the office. 

The cattle for the whole weekend were also great as usual. We had lots and lots of compliments on the cattle and they were very even in each and every roping. All of you who know Rowly, know that he takes great pride in making sure that his cattle are well taken care of, fed well and properly broken in for team ropings. What some of you may not know is how much care he takes in making sure that every single steer is always checked out after each roping and made sure that they haven’t changed (per their taped tail color). We always mark our steers per size, horns and performance. We put different colored duct tape at the end of their tailbones to mark which category they go in. Our usual (but not for sure all the time) color patterns are as follows: hot pink = very fast (BFI type); yellow = one notch under hot pink (Pro Rodeo type); Orange = slower than the yellow (upper jackpot type); green = slower than orange (more the average to higher level beginner type); and white = slowest of all (beginner, or lowest level roper types). 

Our crew, as usual was spectacular. From our office crew to our cattle crew to our snack bar. Yes, we had our own snack bar back again, thanks to Teale and Tara. They had their families working along with kids and friends to bring all the people at the roping the best food they could. They even picked up Gramma Nola’s all time favorite, homemade ice cream and cookies. They had their husband & fiancé (& friends) barbecuing the best tri tip ever and made sure they filled everyone’s wants and needs (bellies)! So, thank you girls. We all love you guys and your cooking.

Of course we have the best chute crew, cattle handlers, announcers and office crew in the world. To start, Troy Shelley’s crew which consisted of Troy, Aaron, Ethan and Tate Shelley…Leon John Mounyo and Kenny (Ranger) Gutierrez were back again. They all came from New Mexico. Then we had our crew (old friends who are always there to help): Ward Fuhlendorf, Colt Lockwood, Jeremy Pinheiro and Dave Fuhlendorf and Caleb. Our office crew was of course Linda Davis, Colleen Enk, Vicky and Kelsi Mounyo, Elena Clark and our newcomer Dandy York (my “girl Friday” and she’s amazing).  

We’re truly blessed with our friends, family and even new friends. We couldn’t do anything without all of these people and we appreciate all of you more than you know or more than words could ever express.

One more person I forgot to acknowledge is my mom, Phyllis Madonna, as well as everyone at the Madonna Inn. Her crew (which also consists of family) is also amazing. First of all my sister Connie and her family, Clint, Dalton and Audrey Pearce, the wonderful management and hotel crew and the amazing restaurant crew. They’re always there for all of us for whatever we need, and do it with a smile.

Some other family members that we couldn’t do any of this without is my brother John Madonna and Tim, Karen (my sister), Tristan, Sterling and Lexi Twisselman. Between all of these guys, they made sure we had water trucks, tractors and drags. You might throw in a babysitter or two also. Also in the mix is Jere Kleinpeter (Sterling’s girlfriend). Jere does the housing for all of our ropers with pens to keep their horses in. She works on this for weeks before the roping and doesn’t finish it up until after the ropers have come and gone. It’s not easy being the “stall girl,”, but Jere does an outstanding job and people love her.

Last but not least, I want to acknowledge and thank a few more special friends and sponsors. First would be Denis Carroll, Dustin Noblitt and Barry Berg of Cactus Ropes, and Resistol Hats. They’ve always been there for us giving above and beyond the call of duty. They bring or send all kinds of items, tack, ropes and gift certificates for our ropers. They help make our roping extra special and for this we are extremely thankful and grateful. 

One more thing that really made me happy was that Barry Berg (Mr. Cactus Ropes) and Dustin Noblitt (Mr. Cactus #2), won the #12 WSQ Roping. This was even more special because this was the first time that Barry had ever been to one of our ropings and then he won. Dustin competes all of the time because he lives close by, but Barry came all the way from Texas. A long way to come, and besides driving all that way he brought friends. Thanks for all of the great new roping customers that you’ve brought our way – such nice people.

Well, I want to again thank all who have come together at our annual WSTR Madonna Inn/Twisselman 2017 Roping. Your presence and participation is heartwarming. Hopefully we’ll see all of you again next year at our roping (if not before). Remember the dates: July 12-15, 2018. Make your room reservations early! Results are as follows; payouts are per team:

WSTR #15: $150, no caps

Average: 1. Andy Holcomb and Jason Johe, 29.98, $4,800. 2. Tyler Bach and Troy Shelley, 35.76, $2,880. 3. Derrek Hee and Murt Stewart, 39.99, $1,920.

Wstr #13: $150, no caps

Average: 1. Deston Dishion and Kelsey Bengoa, 36.62, $8,260. 2. Danny Goddard and Mike Christensen, 36.99, $6,190. 3. Tyler Bach and Ward Fuhlendorf, 38.44, $4,130.

WSTR #12: $150, no caps

Fast time: Derrek Hee and David Gheno, 8.25, $1,000.

Average: 1. Barry Berg and Dustin Noblitt, 37.18, $10,120. 2. Quentin Hall and Kelsey Bengoa, 42.32, $7,060. 3. Bear Pascoe and Ryan Pascoe, 42.55, $5,220. 4. Zachariah Crofoot and Glenn Teixeira, 45.63, $3,680. 5. Marc Davis and Matt Schielt, 45.98, $2,760. 6. RD Karney and Ron Rogers, 46.00, $1,840.

WSTR #11/Van Snow Memorial: $150

Fast time: Mackenzie Chambers and RJ Chambers, 13.48, $1,000.

Average: 1. Roy Songer and John VanAken, 41.61, $11,150. 2. Elizabeth Shadle and Jon Shadle, 44.09, $7,770. 3. Laine Dearmore and Jeff Bryant, 44.67, $5,750. 4. Jacob Huserik and Brian Arave, 50.99, $4,060. 5. Mary Stubblefield and Jim Pratt, 51.18, $3,040. 6. Randee Hedrick and Frank Mello, 51.61, $2,030.

WSTR #10: $150

Fast time: Sean Pascoe and Sara Pascoe, 9.39, $1,000.

Average: 1. Ben Dukes and Justin McDaniel, 39.25, $11,650. 2. Luis J. Ramirez and Brinan Varian, 42.69, $8,160. 3. Andy Laroche and Ron Emmons, 44.09, $6,210. 4. Kyle Manes and Robert Treasure, 50.34, $4,660. 5. Sean Pascoe and Sara Pascoe, 51.37, $3,500. 6. Roger Coons and Marc Davis, 53.36, $2,720. 7. Neal Smith and Tim Boyd, 29.69, $1,940.

WSTR #9/Alex Madonna Memorial: $150

Fast time: Tres Porter and George Porter, 14.25, $1,000.

Average: 1. Jill E. Johnson and Danny Cardoza, 47.07, $12,080. 2. Sean Pascoe and Julie Pascoe, 47.46, $8,460. 3. Terry C. Ward and Steve Hatcher, 49.78, $6,450. 4. Melvin Rogers and Tommy Rogers, 52.01, $4,830. 5. Georgene Mielke and Scott Jones, 52.72, $3,630. 6. David Nuss and Tim Peltzer, 52.93, $2,820. 7. Troy Hyder and Cliff Hyder, 54.25, $2,010.

#8 WSTR Pick Or Draw: $150

Fast time: Chris Sass and Bobby Willis, 10.32, $1,000.

Average: 1. Melvin Rogers and Steve O’Bar, 51.68, $12,560. 2. Chris Sass and Bobby Willis, 53.10, $8,520. 3. Dusty Parrott and Cash Parrott, 57.16, $6,730. 4. Don Campbell and Dave Carlson, 65.24, $4,930. 5. Rich Jack and Cliff Rogers, 71.99, $4,030. 6. Heidi Durant Payne and Bennie Theising, 84.68, $3,590. 7. Terry Summers and Mike Nixon, 31.27, $2,690. 8. Troy Hyder and Cliff Hyder, 32.17, $1,790.

Cathie Twisselman congratulates the winners:

#15 winners Jason Johe and Andy Holcomb.

#13 winners Deston Dishion and Kelsey Bengoa (with Barry Berg of Cactus Ropes, left).

#12 winners Barr Berg (left) and Dustin Noblitt (r), with Rowly & Cathie Twisselman.

#12 Warm-up co-champions Ward Fuhlendorf, Jeremy Pinheiro, Bear Pascoe and Kelsey Bengoa.

#9 winners Danny Cardoza and Jill Johnson.

#8 winners Melvin Rogers and Steve O'Bar.