It's that time of year when all thoughts are on Las Vegas for two of the biggest events of the year, the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, representing the seven events of rodeo and deciding who will be the World Champions in each event, and the other being the World Series Of Team Roping Finals paying out over $7 million this year.

The WNFR will pay out over $6 million to the top 15 in each event. The rounds this year will pay $18,630 to win and the average will pay $47,776 for first. A pretty nice payout for the those top fifteen to run at. Granted that the World Series of Roping will be paying out more money at their finals than the team roping at the WNFR, but the ropers will be competing against a lot more than 14 other ropers for their victory.

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The WSTR will have over 2,900 teams entered up and will be taking place at the South Point Arena. Denny Gentry has informed me that over 50,000 teams have competed in over 20 states this past year to earn a place in the Finals in Vegas. What a great deal for the team ropers to be able to compete for this kind of money. My Resistol’s off to Denny and Connie Gentry and all of their staff for making this one of the biggest payoffs in team roping history.

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Kendra Santos and her son, Lane Santos Karney, have an article in this issue about the team roping at this year’s WNFR and mention who will be splitting up after it is over. One of the teams that will be splitting is Trevor Brazile and Patrick Smith. They have had a good run over the past seven years including winning the Finals average in 2008, a World Championship in 2010, as well as the Bob Feist Invitational in 2013, along with many other titles. They have been one of the best teams to watch in the past seven years because of their horsemanship and roping skills. I always admire how they can adapt to any situation and who knows, they could win another World title this year. They come into the WNFR in seventh place, about $47,000 behind the leaders, Clay Tryan and Jade Corkill. 

Next year Patrick will be roping with Kaleb Driggers and Trevor will be with Travis Graves. 

Speaking of teams, Clay O’Brien Cooper will be with Justin Davis of Madisonville, Texas for the Finals after Clay’s partner of late, Aaron Tsinigine  finished in the 17th hole in the standings and not making it this year. I’m certain we will be seeing this very talented young header at the WNFR in future years.

Kendra and Lane’s article also gives all the details of Derrick Begay’s horse wreck which left him with a broken leg to deal with at this year’s WNFR.

It seems strange to look at the states represented at the WNFR in the team roping this year and see that only one team is from California, when back 20 to 30 years ago California dominated the roster. Back in the early days it was rare to see a team roper from Texas and this year Texas has 10 men representing their state. Arizona has the second most with four.

Again I will probably be cussing the Thomas and Mack Arena when it comes to Team Roping because each night the team roping is either great or terrible, never in between. I know it is the same for everyone but that arena does not let the best ropers in the world display their talents as team ropers and horsemen. It’s like playing hockey in a narrow hallway.

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Be sure and catch the WNFR and the World Series of Team Roping on RFD TV and Rural Radio SiriusXM Channel 80. Check your local listings. The WNFR will be live on Great American Country TV all 10 rounds.

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I was very saddened to hear of the passing of Tuffy Cooper, who was a giant of a legend in the world of rodeo. Read his obit in this issue.

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A note to our Ropers Sports News subscribers, we are offering a $5 savings on a one year subscription or renewal. See our ad on page 6 for more details. Also, for our mail subscribers, the January issue will not be mailed until December 31st. 

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There is a really great article on page 15 of this issue titled “The Mathematics of Team Roping”. Although a bit lengthy and confusing at first, if you really take the time to read and re-read it gives you insight on a totally new concept of handicapping ropers. Change is often difficult, but his article is one worth reading and has some merits that I totally agree with that if implemented down the line could really sharpen up our current handicap system.

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Well good luck to all at their Finals and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all. 

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