WICKENBURG, ARIZONA – National Team Roping (NTR) hosted its seventh annual National Finals March 1-6, 2021, at Rancho Rio. Continuing its tradition as one of the highest-paying divisional ropings in the industry, the six-day finals consisted of 19 individual ropings over eight divisions plus a Rising Stars Dummy Roping Championship. Ropers from across the nation competed for more than $973,000 in cash and prizes including trophy Scott Thomas Custom Saddles, custom Gist Silversmith trophy buckles and a new RAM trophy truck.
The 2021 edition once again boasted #11.5, #10.5, #9.5 and #8.5 National Finale divisions along with #10.5 and #8.5 VIP Championships—for VIP members 21 and over—plus the #13.5, #12.5, #7, Legends and All-Girl Championships and an Open to the World #8.5 Ram Truck Roping. Winners in the four National Finales took home fully tooled trophy saddles and extra fancy trophy buckles in addition to large cash payouts. First through fifth place in the #7 Championships also took home custom trophy saddles.
Colorado’s Dusty Seeley and Josh Warren battled through a Wickenburg windstorm and power outage on Wednesday, March 3, to win the highest paying Finale division—the National #10.5—from third callback with a time of 36.51 seconds on four head, worth $20,720.
“I knew if we wanted to win it, we had to be pretty quick,” Warren said. “I got in time quick and just roped him and it all worked out.”
Another Colorado cowboy, Gail Allen, returned to Wickenburg to claim his second NTR Finale Championship title. In 2020 he won the National #8.5 with Vince Flynn. This year he backed in the box heading for Texas’ Tripp Townsend to take home $20,620 and the National #9.5 bragging rights.
“I’ve watched Tripp rope a lot of times over the years,” Allen said. “When I ran into him and we were the right numbers for this roping I was excited, it worked out.”
The single highest-paying division of the week was the #8.5 VIP on Friday, March 5. Both VIP Championships offered $10,000 added, and NTR VIP membership is required. In 2020, Wyoming’s Julie Ballek had three good call backs in the same division and didn’t pull a single check. She made it stick this year with her draw partner Corey Koenig when they roped four steers in 47.57 seconds and earned $23,880 and trophy buckles.
A staggering 1,651 teams converged for the #8.5 Open to the World Ram Truck Roping. At 2:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 7, Tanner Strohmenger, 17, found himself the owner of a new Ram 3500 dually truck. The Menifee, California, teen took first in the average with draw partner Jose Torres to pocket $30,420 and finished sixth with pick partner, Colorado’s Regan Wheatley, for another $10,140. The top 10 teams in the RAM Truck Roping all earned trophy Gist buckles.
The NTR National Finals is also home to The Horse Sale at Rancho Rio, which draws spectators and buyers from all over the U.S. and Canada. The sixth annual event saw record sales of more than $2.5 million. Lot #29, Captains Dunny, was the high seller at a record setting $250,000. “Captain” is sired by Colonels Smart Spook by Smart Spook out of a granddaughter of Hollywood Dun It. The 2014 dun gelding was consigned to the sale by 26-time PRCA World Champion Trevor Brazile, Decatur, Texas, and purchased by Bryan Beaver, Bucyrus, Kansas. The overall sale average was $48,000 with the top 10 average coming in at $111,200 and the top 20 average at $78,700. For additional sale results visit ranchorioaz.com. The NTR National Finals VIII and seventh annual Horse Sale will take place in Wickenburg, Ariz., in March 2022. For complete results visit nationalteamroping.com.
About the NTR: With low entry fees and big payouts National Team Roping has more than 7,000 members who compete in NTR-sanctioned events nationwide. The NTR is presented by Ariat and sponsored by Classic Ropes, Priefert Rodeo & Ranch Equipment, RAM Trucks, Shadle Insurance, CSI Saddlepads, MetaLab Bits & Spurs, Equerry’s, and Clark & Associates Land Brokers, LLC. For more information on the NTR or to become a member visit nationalteamroping.com. Follow us on facebook at facebook.com/nationalteamroping and @nationalteamroping on Instagram.