By Kendra Santos
It took 10 gold heading buckles to win the inaugural BFI Legends Roping, and Speed Williams and Matt Sherwood were the over-40 guys who brought their best game to the world-famous Lazy E Arena on April 1 to get it done. Eight-time champ of the world Williams, 54, headed for two-time world heading titlist Sherwood, 52, as one of 34 teams entered that treated the crowd to a sweet real-time walk down memory lane.
“Are you kidding me, I won $20,000 for roping with Speed Williams?” Sherwood grinned at roping’s end. “I’ve never run a steer with the best header in the world ever to live. To be able to keep my composure and do my job is very rewarding to me personally. What a fun situation to find myself in.”
Speed’s first-round draft picks for the BFI Legends Roping were his partner in eight-gold-buckle crime, Rich Skelton, and seven-time champ, Clay Cooper.
“I called Clay and asked him if he was coming to rope with me,” said Williams, who lives in Comanche, Texas. “He said he wasn’t coming. I said, ‘What? It’s the Legends Roping. They can’t have it without you and Jake (Barnes). That’s just not right.’ But they’d already booked a roping school.”
Then came the timely text.
“I texted Speed and said, ‘Hey, do you want to rope at the BFI and the Legends Roping?’ Sherwood said. “He texted me back and said, ‘Clay’s not coming, so I’ll rope with you in the Legends. But I’ve already got one in the BFI.”
Williams doesn’t just “have one” in today’s BFI—he’s heading for Speed and Jennifer’s baby boy and 15-year-old son, Gabe, thanks to the Legends Roping luring him to the Lazy E.
“There was no way around it if I came and roped in this Legends roping,” Speed smiled. “So at dinner that night, I said, ‘Buddy, they’re having an over-40 Legends Roping at the BFI this year.’ His eyes lit up. He said, ‘Does that mean we’re going to rope in the BFI, Dad?’ I said, ‘It sounds like it, buddy.’
“What I was really concerned about was whether or not my body was going to stay healthy for all the practice getting ready to come here, because my son is worse than Rich. Back in the day, I could go to Rich’s house, run 40 or 50 and leave. I’m all day doing lessons, and my son wants to rope all day and all night. About a month ago, I got some big, stout, hard-running steers, so we could prepare. My son is truly excited to rope in the BFI. I’m about worn out.”
What a wonderful reunion the BFI Legends roping was. Rounding out the top four teams were Jeff Hilton and Zane Bruce, Tyler Magnus and double-dipping Bruce, and Tee Woolman and Walt Woodard.
“I’ve seen guys here that I haven’t seen in a long time,” Speed said. “We got to visit and shake a lot of hands with a lot of guys we haven’t gotten to see. Getting to see peers you haven’t seen in a lot of years is pretty cool. And it’s been a long time since I’ve stood on stage for winning something. So that’s kind of special.”
“I love the concept of the BFI Legends Roping,” added Sherwood, who’s heading for Utah’s Kycen Winn in the 2022 BFI. “I got to see a lot of people here that I haven’t seen in quite a while, like Kevin Stewart, Chris Lawson and George Aros. It was so great to see so many of these people I haven’t seen rope in a long time.”
Speed rode a 9-year-old he calls Green Light that he bought from Dustin Egusquiza, in part because he was a little bit green to be going out on the rodeo road.
“He’s kind of special, and has some personality to him,” said Williams, who noted that his name is because daughter Hali has a horse they call Red Light, who has some similar traits. “He’s a little bit like Viper (Speed’s rodeo-career signature horse), because he’s so broke. I’m kind of excited about him.”
Sherwood rode a 7-year-old mare he raised that his family calls Cory.
“She’s out of a mare that went blind as a baby,” Sherwood said. “I gave the mare to a buddy of mine in Utah, and Cory is her first colt. Cory got her name because whenever we were breaking her, my boy was riding her around without a tie-down. And it was right after Cory Petska won the world (in 2017) with no tie-down.”
Williams has won the BFI with Skelton three times, in 1998, 2001 and 2002. His favorite memory is winning it the first time. The worst was the year he was sick as three dogs on BFI day.
What sets the BFI apart from all the rest of the ropings in the world?
“Horsemanship,” Speed said. “There are a lot of guys who can rope now. This roping separates the guys who can ride and control a horse, and set the run up for their heelers.
“My best advice to headers at their first BFI is when you think you’ve seen ’em enough, hold your horse in there just a little longer. And the bottom line is, the BFI is a marathon.”
“The BFI has just gotten bigger and bigger,” Sherwood said. “BFI Week now has something for everybody—the youth, the old guys, the best guys in the world, the girls—and it pays so good.
“I think the Lazy E is a great place to have BFI Week. Reno’s so far for the guys in the Southeast, but almost everyone can get here in 20 hours or less. This facility is amazing, and with this big arena, the BFI is back to a longer barrier. I think this is a phenomenal place for this phenomenal event.”
BFI Legends Results
First Round: 1. Manny Egusquiza and Monty Joe Petska, 6.64 seconds, $2,000.
Second Round: 1. Chris Francis and Josh Patton, 5.41 seconds, $2,000.
Aggregate: 1. Speed Williams and Matt Sherwood, 40.9 seconds, $40,000; 2. Jeff Hilton and Zane Bruce, 44.0 seconds, $10,000; 3. Tyler Magnus and Zane Bruce, 45.38 seconds, $5,000.
Arviso & Glenn Take $25,00 Hooey Jr BFI Open Title
By Kendra Santos
When you’re hot, you’re hot. Arizona’s James Arviso and Oklahoma’s Landen Glenn haven’t had many chances to rope together yet in their young careers. But the 18-year-old high school seniors have already found chemistry, and the ability to come through in the clutch and close the deal when it really counts. Coming from third high call, Arviso and Glenn roped four steers in 32.93 seconds and struck for the $25,000 win Thursday at the 2022 Hooey Jr BFI Open at the world-famous Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Oklahoma.
If Arviso’s shy grin and humble words seem familiar, it’s because he’s cut from the same cloth as his Uncle Derrick Begay. James is the son of Derrick’s sister, Jamie, and her husband, Jon Arviso.
“My Grandpa Victor (Begay, who’s Derrick and Jamie’s dad) has probably had the biggest influence on my roping,” James said. “He’s been pretty hard on me my whole life, and it seems like because of that things are starting to come along now.”
Roping and rodeo fans will also recognize the buckskin mare James rode to the win at the 2022 Hooey Jr BFI Open. Keta, who’s 9, is the horse Uncle Derrick rode at last December’s Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. And yes, he’s been borrowing his nephew’s ride and rode her at this winter’s Texas building rodeos in Houston, San Antonio, Austin and Fort Worth.
The ropers James looks up to most—Uncle Derrick, Aaron Tsinigine and Erich Rogers—should come as no surprise. James and his family share the same hometown of Seba Dalkai on the Navajo Nation with Derrick. But true to family code, Arviso didn’t care to take much of the credit for the big win.
“Landen does his job really well, so I just try to do mine,” said James, who hopes to get to the NFR one day. “This is definitely one of my biggest wins. I don’t win first a lot. I’ve been coming here the past three years, and this is the first time to win it. The steers were fast and strong, and the barrier was out there a ways. They dang sure put on a good roping for us young guys, and make it as realistic as it gets to the big BFI. It’s pretty cool to get my first big win here at the Lazy E.”
Arviso plans to stick his heading half of the money into savings, with the hope of rounding up enough money for back-up for Keta. Glenn also rode a buckskin, and says his horse Jammer, 12, has been a game-changer.
“I got him from a guy in Texas three years ago, and we’ve just clicked,” Landen said. “This horse made me the roper I am.”
Glenn, who lives in McAlester, Oklahoma, will ride Jammer when he heels for Tsinigine in the BFI here at the Lazy E on Saturday. Arviso and Glenn also won the Hooey Junior Patriot Open in Fort Worth about three weeks ago.
“We’ve been planning on roping together here for six or eight months,” Glenn said. “But we haven’t gotten to rope together all that much yet. James is smart, and always does his job. He makes sure he scores go, then goes and catches. He never takes any dumb shots. He makes it easy. I’ve just got to come around there and throw my rope. James has never turned me a steer that wasn’t heel-able.”
Arizona’s Jace Thorstenson and Denton Dunning came from sixth to finish second in the roping with 35.75 to Arviso and Glenn’s 32.93.
“This is one of the biggest ropings I’ve ever won—100 percent—because it’s so prestigious,” said Glenn, whose goals include making the NFR and winning the world. “It’s BFI Week, and we all grew up watching the BFI.”
“Jade Corkill,” he said. “He’s the best. He’s the man. I always watch him rope. He does everything right, and whether he’s trying to be 3 or 8, it always looks the same.”
It meant something to both of these young guns to get a big win at the Lazy E.
“I love this place,” said Landen, who also hopes to put his half of the cash toward additional horsepower. “I’ve won more money at the Lazy E and John Justin Arena (in Fort Worth) than probably anywhere else. I’ve won more at those two places than everywhere else combined. I only live two hours and 20 minutes from here, so the Lazy E feels like home.”
Hooey JR BFI Open Results
Average: 1. James Arviso and Landen Glenn, 32.93 seconds on four head, $25,000; 2. Jace Thorstenson and Denton Dunning, 35.75, $17,000; 3. Mason Appleton and JR Gonzalez, 35.93, $12,500; 4. Cole Smith and Michael Eugenio Calmelat, 36.6, $9,000; 5. Kyler Beshirs and Belden Cox, 41.34, $7,500; 6. Cutter Cain and Trey Moore, 41.34, $5,000; 7. Shye Pate and Catcher Gasperson, 43.53, $4,000; 8. Eli Green and Chase Helton, 45.13, $3,000
First Round: 1. Zane Collins and Chase McGuire, 6.68, $2,400; 2. Mason Appleton and Landen Glenn, 7.11, $600; 2. Brayden Schmidt and Logan Cullen, 7.11, $600
Second Round: 1. Cole Smith and Michael Eugenio Calmelat, 6.42, $2,400; 2. Jake Jet Toberer and Cashton Weidenbener, 6.77, $1,200
Third Round: 1. Cole Smith and Denton Dunning, 6.44, $2,400; 2. Raesh Casebolt and Nicky Northcott, 6.47, $1,200
Short Round: Daxtyn Feild and Howdy Jackson, 9.08, $2,400