In The Arena

Bob Feist

It’s been a busy March all over the rodeo and team roping world. Some of the biggest dollar wins seem to be recorded this time of year when someone gets on a roll. In this issue of RSN you will read who has been winning all of the big bucks.

I was in Arizona the week of Feb. 18-22, and saw all four seasons. Some of the days were good for roping and golf or any other outdoor activity you wanted to do, but there were a few days that were miserable. 

There is not a shortage of ropers or barrel racers in Arizona this time of year and for the most part they can find some sort of competition seven days a week within a 100-mile radius. It is amazing and each year it seems to be getting more popular with folks from out of state. It is the place to be for about three to four months. 

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.