BFI Week producers Corky Ullman (left) and Daren Peterson (r) present awards to the Open Hooey Junior BFI champions Jordan Lovins and Chase McGuire. – BFI Photos by Olie's Images
GUTHRIE, OKLA. (June 20, 2020) – Jordan Lovins of Canadian, Texas, had never been to the Bob Feist Invitational. But when he heard that Wrangler BFI Week, presented by Yeti, moved to his neighboring Oklahoma from Reno, Nevada, he “was all over it.”
Lovins, 17, hauled his steers to his local fairgrounds to practice under BFI-like dimensions and found someone with fresh steers so he could practice on a herd similar to the hard-running set of BFI Week. He capitalized by winning first and second – switching ends – for $15,900 in the third annual Hooey Junior BFI.
“This is the coolest roping!” he said. “Most places don’t score the steers out there or have a five-head average. Here, you have to try a lot more.”
As one of the richest team ropings in the world for kids 17 and under, it’s patterned after the richest Open roping in the world – the 43-year-old Bob Feist Invitational. The Hooey Jr. BFI consists of the Jr. Open and the Jr. 10.5, which limits individual ropers’ classifications to #6. Both ropings also serve as direct qualifiers to the annual Jr. World Finals in Las Vegas.
In the Open, Lovins was third call-back with 17-year-old header Chase Sandstrom of Comfort, Texas.
“I was trying to rope them all on the third hop, but we got a barrier on the first one,” explained Lovins, a 7.5 heeler who rides about eight head of rope horses at home. “So the next three, we blasted.”
They placed in a round. Then, in the finals, their 8.12-second run had them winning the roping with a five-head time of 45.67. Lovins immediately high-loped back up the moat to get on his head horse – a bay roan that came from NFR team roper Tyler Magnus – as the second call-back.
“Heading’s easier,” said Lovins, a No. 6 on that end. “On the first four steers, I threw a coil or two, so in the short round I figured I’d whip my horse up there and get closer.”
He and Chase McGuire stopped their fifth one in 8.53 to go to the lead with a 43.47 on five. The high team of Kreece Thompson and Sterlin English had a monster cushion and needed only a 14-second run for the win, but Thompson missed.
“I don’t mind being back-to-back, but I’d much rather have earlier (slower) callbacks,” said Lovins, who is home-schooled and will be a senior this fall. “I hate sitting back there waiting because I get to overthinking it. That heeling run released so much pressure for me, though.”
McGuire, 15, of McAlester, Oklahoma, has only been heeling about a year since he switched ends. He had also never been to Reno or seen the BFI but said he has watched film of every edition since before he was born.
“Jordan and I normally heel against each other,” McGuire said. “But I wanted him to head for me here.”
The two had seen each other rope at high school rodeos.
Sandstrom, meanwhile, earned a cool $11,265 on the day because he also placed second in the Junior 10.5 roping with his little brother Cade, who just turned 13. They’d led the roping early and maintained their second-place standing with a short-round run of 8.79 to split $11,330. It was little Cade’s first big competitive event. Armed with mentorship from the likes of Bret Beach and Rich Skelton, he heels on a Paint pony he got for his birthday last year as a purchase from Skelton, whose daughter roped and tied goats off him.
The 10.5 was won by Arizona’s Gavin Hershberger and Denton Dunning, who split $16,500 for their time of 29.85 on four. Then they turned around and placed fourth in the Open, as well, to earn $25,750 on the day. In the 10.5, they were the high-call team and needed an 11-second run to move into first. They were smooth in 8.25 to win the roping by more than three seconds.
“I just got this brown horse,” said Hershberger, whose family bought the gelding this year at their sale from seven-time world champion Jake Barnes. “I love him. He scores really well and runs hard. He’s easy to ride.”
Gavin’s total haul on Saturday was $10,225, since he also earned go-round money with his brother, Garrett. The latter brother, meanwhile, also placed fourth in the 10.5 roping with Luke Gee to earn $4,350.
Complete Results from the Hooey Junior BFI Open:
First Round: 1. Gavin Hershberger and Denton Dunning, 6.79 seconds, $2,400; 2. Garrett Hershberger and Cashton Weidenbener, 6.87, $1,200; Second Round: 1. Trey Begay and Cody Lansing, 5.86 seconds, $2,400; 2/3. (tie) Cash Duty and Jr. Gonzalez; Jordan Lovins and Chase McGuire, 6.5 seconds each, $600 each; Third Round: 1. Rowdy Jones and Kyle Thomas, 5.32 seconds, $2,400; 2. Chase Sandstrom and Jordan Lovins, 6.31, $1,200; Fourth Round: 1. Rowdy Jones and Cooper Freeman, 5.15 seconds, $2,400; 2. Maverik Franks and Zane Compton, 6.20, $1,200; Short Round: 1. Rance Winters and Trigger Hargrove, 7.38 seconds, $2,400.
Average: 1. Jordan Lovins and Chase McGuire, 43.47 seconds on five, $20,000; 2. Chase Sandstrom and Jordan Lovins, 45.67, $10,000; 3. Mason Appleton and Clay Clayman, 47.60, $7,500; 4 Gavin Hershberger and Denton Dunning, 50.69, $5,000; 5. Mason Appleton and Landen Glenn, 51.64, $4,000; 6. Jayse Tettenhorst and Kaden Profili, 52.05, $3,000; 7. Jace Thorstenson and Caleb Green, 52.93, $3,000.
Complete Results from the Hooey Junior BFI #10.5:
First Round: 1. Gavin Hershberger and Denton Dunning, 6.42 seconds, $2,100; 2. Bladen Reno and Regan Wheatley, 711, $1,400; 3. Luke Gee and Garrett Hershberger, 7.36, $700; Second Round: 1. Gavin Hershberger and Garrett Hershberger, 6.93 seconds, $2,100; 2. Landon Cook and George Chambers, 6.99, $1,400; 3. Rance Winters and Gavin Cardoza, 7.52, $700; Third Round: 1. Cooper Browne and Jayden Cisneros, 6.56 seconds, $2,100; 2. Trey Hughes and Hayden Sanders, 6.92, $1,400; 3. Luke Dubois and Ty Aymond, 7.16, $700; Short Round: 1. Tristin Brooks and Tyler Tryan, 7.04 seconds, $1,400.
Average: 1. Gavin Hershberger and Denton Dunning, 29.85 seconds on four, $16,250; 2. Chase Sandstrom and Cade Sandstrom, 33.19, $11,330; 3. Cooper Young and Shye Pate, 40.78, $8,380; 4. Luke Gee and Garrett Hershberger, 41.23, $5,900; 5. Quincy Reeves and Zane Compton, 42.84, $4,420; 6. Luke Dubois and Ty Aymond, 47.44, $3,000.
Gavin Hershberger and Denton Dunning were the winners of the Hooey Junior BFI #10.5 roping. – Olie’s Images