I recently visited Santa Rosa,  where many of the California wildfires hit hard this past month. I was born and raised in that area and was shocked to see the devastation that this firestorm had inflicted. Many of my friends were wiped out by this tragedy, losing homes, barns, animals, and personal items. There was such short notice to evacuate, that many were blessed just to make it out safely. The first wave of this firestorm hit in the middle of the night and at some point it was traveling at close to 100 miles per hour. The wind was blowing embers long distances, spreading the fire at a very fast pace.

Some of the team roping community was hit hard. Some of you have been following on Facebook or other social media venues and have been aware of the destruction. The Cresta family was hit the hardest, losing almost everything, along with the DeGrange family of the historical Cloverleaf Ranch north of Santa Rosa. It is hard to explain or visualize unless you go drive around and see the melted horse trailers and trucks along with the other items. Thousands of acres blackened in just hours.

The Sonoma County Horse Council has been very helpful in assisting horse people with everyday horse needs. The Sonoma County Fairgrounds hosted over 500 horses and many donations were made in feed and necessary items. Our thanks goes out to all who helped in the efforts to assist those in need. Many of these people will be homeless for most of the winter, which is hard to imagine. Many of you readers can help by going online or contacting directly anyone you know who was affected. Many don’t even have a saddle or bit to their name. There are many Go Fund Me accounts if you would like to help.

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Here it is November, which means year-end Finals in many of the associations including the RAM Circuit Fin­als. Cody Mora and Joseph Shawnego captured the title at the recent California Ram Circuit Finals. The two roped together as a wild card team as their regular partners didn’t make the Finals. It proved to be a good move for the team, as they are headed to Florida next spring for the Ram Circuit Finals. Congratulations to them and all the other winners. 

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Next month we will be in Vegas for the NFR and will once again enjoy the hospitality of the Southpoint Hotel and Casino. Their equestrian facility is state-of-the-art and will host many events including the World Series of Team Roping Finals. This year will break all records in payoffs and will make for some mighty happy team ropers from all over the world. Congratulations to all that have qualified.

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As I write this article, the ACTRA Finals are going on in Reno with some large payouts. They are held at the Reno Livestock Events Center on the Reno Rodeo Grounds. This is also the home of the BFI and the BFI Week events. Concepts to renovate this facility are rumored at this time and I sure hope that the Reno Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority follow through with this, as Reno is an ideal location for many equine events plus many others events that can be held at that venue. 

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Some new teams will be at this year’s WNFR as well as new names. Jeremy Buhler made it but his partner, Levi Simpson, did not, so Jeremy will be roping with Tom Richards. This should be a great team and will compete with the field of many repeat ropers from previous years. It will be great watching this year in many of the events as some close races are taking shape.  

The AA race is the one that I will be watching as Trevor is not far behind his brother-in- law, Tuff Cooper. Make your plans now to follow this great race. 

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Was saddened to hear of the passing of Ben Bates. Ben was a long-time Marlboro Man and stunt man. He doubled for James Arness in Gunsmoke for many years. He was a top steer wrestler and former NFR contestant. See his obituary in this issue.

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The December issue of Ropers Sports News will welcome  RSN’s journey to 50 years in the publication business. When I came up with the concept of putting out a newspaper, I never dreamed it would be in existence after 50 years. 

To celebrate our anniversary, we will have the original 4-page issue for you to read within the pages of the December paper.

We are honored that Kendra Santos will feature an in-depth article that chronicles the history of RSN.

Don't miss being a part of this special issue. Advertising deadline will be November 10th. More info at www.ropers­sportsnews.com



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