Ropers Sports News | March 2023

PAGE 16 ROPERS SPORTS NEWS MARCH 2023 Dakota Kirchenschlager DK Performance Horses NFQ Qualifier #QualityToTheCore The ultimate weapon JAMIE ARVISO PHOTO 4 x 8.75” for March 2023 For more information, or book private lessons visit: For ordering information call: Colter Buck at 903-434-8970 Developed by 8-Time Consecutive World Champion Team Roper, Speed Williams The Speed Trainer can help you: • Improve balance and horsemanship • Learn to rope quicker • Dally better • Isolate and correct mistakes • Work with your horse for ` smoother and quicker runs each Regional Finals with the Wild Card winner. All vying for a chance to compete at The American Rodeo and win the $1 million bonus. Each discipline has their own rules and qualifying system. In the Breakaway, Hali could qualify in each region twice. They run two head and the top ten come back to the Regional Finals final performance and then the top four move on to the finals in March. She went to the Central Region qualifier in Tulsa first. Out of 100 entries, she won 1st and 3rd and made it back to the top 10 twice. In years past you’ve been able to take two runs to the semifinals to try and qualify for the American. The Tulsa Regional was going on the same time as the Ft. Worth rodeo and Hali and Jennifer were driving back and forth every day. On their way back to Ft. Worth for the finals on Saturday night, they got a call and were told that she was losing one of the qualifying spots she earned at Tulsa, and she would only have one run coming back on Sunday. Though this was done in all disciplines, it really caught us off guard because we thought she had two chances to make it. As contestants, we don’t make or understand all the rules, nor are we always informed of rule changes. While grateful for the amazing opportunity, it was disappointing to find out Hali could only use one of her qualifying runs to try to advance when she already beat 100 girls to earn those two spots. The only calf Hali missed that week was on Sunday, in Tulsa, to secure her spot in the American. The next Regional, the Eastern was the following weekend in Lexington, KY. Instead of the girls driving home, we agreed Gabe and I would meet them there. Gabe and I had qualified for that Regional and were scheduled to rope there. At the Eastern Regional, Hali won 5th in the first round, then missed her second calf. On her second run, she won 2nd in the 2nd round. All she had to do was catch her calf in under 12 seconds. Her calf came out, went right, moved back to the left then slowed up, and she roped him around the eyes. That’s one of the difficulties in the Breakaway. The calves that have been roped quite a bit tend to change speed and direction. Out of 60-something girls, not very many caught two-head, even with a barrier. In the Breakaway, they also have buy backs and for $1,000 you get one calf. Then the top two make it into the Regional Finals perf on Friday night. Lo and behold she drew the same calf she missed in the second round. This time the calf was Breaking It Down by Speed Williams Trying To Qualify For The American Rodeo What an amazing opportunity for cowboys and cowgirls in all disciplines. It’s nice not to have to rodeo all year trying to make the finals. I can’t say the American Rodeo hasn’t had its share of growing pains and format changes. Sometimes when you’re trying to make things better, it can be a struggle to find what works and what doesn’t. Below is a breakdown of the qualifying process. This year there are three regions in the American qualifying system, East (Lexington, KY), Central (Tulsa, OK), and West (Heber, UT). Initially there are 54 qualifying events where contestants compete for the opportunity to advance to the Regional Semi-Finals. The Regional Semi-Finals vets up to 100 qualifiers across 8 disciplines against automatically seeded athletes from the 2022 PRCA/WPRA word standings. Seeded and unseeded compete for the opportunity to advance to the Regional Finals. The Regional Finals (Friday night perf) includes the Top 10 finishers in the Semi-Finals + two athletes who earned their spots via a Redemption Round. The Wild Card event (March 8th) offers qualifying athletes one last chance at earning a spot in the finals. The Wild Card event brings together the 30 athletes from each Semi-Final, the 8 from each Regional Final, and the 4 from each Regional Redemption Round. The top performer in each discipline advances to the Finals. The Finals (March 9th) vets the Top 4 athletes from See SPEED WILLIAMS On Page 22

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