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Clay Tryan and Chase Tryan win The Cervi and split $32,244. (Photo by K. Spinning)

By Kristin Spinning
Special To Ropers Sports News

CASA GRANDE, ARIZ. –  Clay Tryan was in good position coming into the short round with the 1st and 3rd fastest times after 4 head in the Annual Mike Cervi Jr. Memorial Pro Classic on February 19. But he faced a full slate of the best ropers in the nation before getting any checks. It was a beautiful sunny day in Casa Grande, Arizona, and the grandstands were filled to capacity with expectant fans for this major event.

   The coveted Cervi had 198 teams to start the day and the fresh steers stayed strong throughout. Clay Tryan was roping in dominating form through 3 go rounds with all 3 partners. His only bobble was in round 4 with Cory Petska when they drew a steer that ran to the right, taking his head loop off and knocking that team out.
   When the dust settled after 4 rounds, it took a 29.27 to make the cut for the short go.
   With a field of past Cervi Champions, the short go was primed for another breath-taking finish. From 16th call back, the team of  Brenten Hall and Jaylen Eldridge posted a blistering time of 5.69 and set the target for everyone else to chase with 34.26 on 5. They held the lead all the way until the 6th call back, when past Cervi Champion Patrick Smith and partner Luke Brown posted a 6.58 which vaulted them to the lead.
Charly Crawford and Brock Hanson’s 7.2,  along with their 26.73 on 4 wasn’t enough to take over the lead. Their total of 33.93 settled them into second. Which brought up the fourth call back team of Derick Begay and Corey Petska. A Cervi win had eluded Begay and he was looking to add it to his resume, while Petska has won the Cervi four times and was eyeing a fifth. A slipped leg denied the team the hope for a win.
   Clay Tryan and Jake Long were next coming in with a 25.99 on 4. They needed a 7.51 to take the lead. They were flawless on their last steer posting a 6.29 and the run guaranteed them a sizable payday with only two more teams to go. Everyone was poised for a stellar run from Riley and Brady Minor who drove over from San Antonio to defend their 2019 Cervi Championship. They had been playing to win all day. No team together had ever won the Cervi back to back, but they had a shot to make history.  They needed a 6.7 to take the lead and with the steer they drew they had the chance. Riley took the shot he needed to, and it didn’t work. The crowd gasped in unison when the rope missed its mark.
   When it came down to the last steer, Clay Tryan already had it won with Jake Long. He had one more shot for another check with Chas Tryan. They had been leading the field since their first steer of the day and now they only needed a smooth 7.46 to win it all. The steer they drew went hard left. Clay, like a fine tuned precision machine, played that steer for what he was. He turned the steer and gave his partner a chance for the win. Chase sealed the deal with ease at 7.42 for the win with a total time of 32.23.
   They split $33,244 and won Coats saddles, Gist trophy buckles and a prize pack of goodies. Clay and Jake Long’s 32.28 would win second for a total of $27,512 and they took home Justin Boots certificates, Lubrisyn, Best Ever Pads and Bobby T’s Jerky. Third place paid $21,780 to Luke Brown and Patrick Smith on their final score of 33.51. They also received day planners and Lubrisyn. With a fourth place time of 33.93, Crawford and Hanson each picked up a check for $8,025 along with Bex Sunglasses and Gordy Alderson Bits. Hall and Eldridge held on for 5th with 34.26 and split $10,316 plus they took the $2,000 fast time bonus for their 5.69 in the short round. Jake Barnes and Calgary Smith rounded oeut the placings splitting $5,732 with 34.42. In addition, the Cervi paid a $2,500 per man incentive to the #15 or lower team with the fastest time on five. At 34.80, the incentive went to newcomer Wyatt Imus (son of the late Don Imus) and John Phillipp who also had the 2nd fastest short go time of 5.87 earning another $700 each.
   To take first and second in a field of this caliber at a major event takes skill and tenacity…and the luck of drawing great steers. Clay had been to the Cervi a dozen or more times, and was in the money for couple of those but this was his first win. For Chase, the Cervi marked his first major jackpot win. It was a good day for Fast Back Ropes as well, with the whole Tryan family on fire with their ropes. Clay’s son Tyler Tryan was the Heel-O-Matic Dummy Roping champion using his Fast Back.
   The ever popular Cervi Pro/Am roping started things off on Wednesday morning with 24 teams running three full rounds. The Pro/Am Header Champion was Jason Waite roping with Tyler Whitlow. Sam Openshaw was thePro/Am Heeler Champion with Jason Stewart on the front side. The champions won Cervi Gist buckles and their pro partners had their Cervi entry fee paid for. All our Amateurs also received an embroidered Wrangler jacket and team photo.
   Cervi producer George Aros was quick to thank Tony Ibarra, Dick Powell and the Pinal County Sheriff’s posse for helping to make everything run so smoothly at the Casa Grande Rodeo Grounds. The Cervi is the centerpiece of the week-long Casa Grande Cowboy Days celebration.
Short go: 1. Brenten Hall and Jaylen Eldridge, 5.69, $2,000. 2. Wyatt Imus and John Philipp, 5.87, $1,400.
Incentive: 1. Wyatt Imus and John Philipp, 34.80, $5,000.
Average: 1. Clay Tryan and Chase Tryan, 32.23, $33,244. 2. Clay Tryan and Jake Long, 32.28, $27,512. 3. Luke Brown and Patrick Smith, 33.51, $21,780. 4. Charly Crawford and Brock Hanson, 33.93, $16,050. 5. Brenten Hall and Jaylen Eldridge, 34.26, $10,316. 6. Jake Barnes and Calgary Smith, 34.42, $5,732.
Am Headers
Go rounds: 1st go: Rafael Rodriguez and Cory Petska, 7.51. 2nd go: James Brown and Buddy Hawkins, 7.76. 3rd go: Brad South and Jeremy Buhler.
Average: 1. Jason Waite and Tyler Whitlow, 21.15.
Am Heelers
Go rounds: 1st go: Clayton VanAken and Terry McRae, 8.34. 2nd go: Aaron Tsinigine and Steve Mikitish, 8.29. 3rd go: Jaguar Terrill and Pat Terrill, 11.34.
Average: 1. Jason Stewart and Sam Openshaw, 21.25.

Cervi Pre-Ropings
February 18
Average: 1. Jason Stewart and Denton Dunning, 34.87, $4,560. 2. Cooper Andersen and Logan Cullen, 37.48, $2,740. 3. Steven Gaona and Cashton Weidenbener, 38.97, $1,820.
Average: 1. Delon Parker and Rhett Anderson, 29.08, $8,450. 2. Ty Roma and Myles John, 29.23, $6,340. 3. Jared Parke and Tyler Whitlow, 29.55, $4,220. 4. Trey Blackmore and Chaz Kananen, 29.60, $2,110.
Average: 1. Pace Freed and Max Kuttler, 29.68, $8,640. 2. Trey Blackmore and Cade Passig, 30.57, $6,480. 3. Quinn Kesler and Colby Siddoway, 33.33, $4,320. 4. Rhen Richard and Jeremy Buhler, 33.97, $2,160.

The Cervi champs, Clay Tryan and Chase Tryan, received Gist buckles, Coats saddles, plus more for their big win.

Wyatt Imus and John Philipp were the winners of the Cervi 15 or Lower Incentive. (photo by K. Spinning)