Happy New Year to everyone and congratulations to the new PRCA world champions, Chad Masters and Jade Corkill. This year’s champions came to the Wrangler National Finals with different partners but ended up as the high money winners for the year. Chad roped with Clay O’Brien Cooper at the WNFR and they were the only team to rope all 10 head to win the average with a time of 73.4 seconds. Many fans were hoping Clay O’ would have won the world on the heeling side because it would have been his eighth world title at the young age of 51, but he fell just a few bucks short of Jade Corkill’s final total. We all remember when Walt Woodard came to the WNFR at the age of 52 in 2007 and ended up winning the heeling world title while teamed up with Clay Tryan. Masters has always done well at the Finals roping with the seasoned heelers. No one was more disappointed about Clay not winning the world than Chad Masters. He was asked what it felt like to win his second world title, and said, "It’s kind of like the first one in a way, because I’m not here with my partner. Without Clay O’Brien Cooper I would never have won this. And not just the roping, but the frame of mind and everything that goes into all of it. It’s great to win it, but I wish he was here sharing it with me. I’ve become really good friends with him while roping together this year, and he has always been one of my heroes. I think I’ve got that in common with everyone else in the field here; he’s everybody’s hero." The first time Masters won the world was in 2007. He was teamed up with Allen Bach at the Finals but Walt Woodard was teamed with Clay Tryan and won more in the heeling than Allen to win the heeling title.
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.