As this year of 2011 comes to a close I look back on all of the changes that have taken place. The selling of the Bob Feist Invitational was a major move for me as it has been my baby since 1977. I am excited about the new ownership and feel they are on a good track to making this year’s roping bigger and better than ever. The BFI was introduced to the roping world nine years after the start up of the Ropers Sports News which first came out in 1968. I have had some great people on my staff. They have helped make all of this be the success it is today and I would like to thank all of them for their hard work and dedication.

As most of you know by now, my mother, Alberta (Mom Feist) passed away this October. Mom was one of my first employees along with Arlene MacKerracher. Mother worked in the office for many years and didn’t know much about team roping. That was a good point. I used to joke that my mom thought a 5 steer for $15 was a heck of a buy on cattle. She lived to be 94 and over the years had cooked breakfast and other meals for many of the great rodeo people. I don’t think I could remember all of the famous rodeo legends that came and sat at her table for a meal. She will be missed around here but not forgotten. My thanks to all of you for your kind words, cards, and support over the past month.

When I started the Ropers Sports News it was the only team roping publication in the world. It was my dream to make team roping a more known sport and to get more people involved in a sport that I enjoyed so much. I had visions of people from all walks of life getting involved in this sport. I could see that it wasn’t just limited to working cowboys and full time rodeo contestants. The sport grew and look at it today. Team roping was not mentioned in many of the other horse and rodeo publications and if it was, it was kind of a backseat article. Today is different with many publications featuring team roping on the front page or featured in a main article within.

Team roping still isn’t recognized in a way I would like to see it with the PRCA still remaining separate from the roping world. Straight ropings are still categorized as jackpots or amateur events to those in the pro rodeo world. I guess what I am trying to say is that team roping would look a whole lot different if all a roper’s winnings were shown for the record regardless of where the money was won. Today some of the associations ropings pay out huge dollars and then there are some of the major single ropings that pay out career changing figures plus credibility. I would like to start up an association that would somehow record every dollar earned by a roper throughout the year that could be verified and at the year end have awards for those winning the most in all categories of roping: horse shows, rodeos, jackpots, and any other pertaining events. I guess I had better start planning and get this new venture going. LOL!

I just heard from Denny Gentry prior to presstime and he informed me of the huge payout that was going to be available to ropers in the four divisions at the World Series of Team Roping held at the South Point Arena in Las Vegas. My Resistol is off to him and Connie and all their staff for showcasing such a great roping for the sport. They will be paying out close to $4.7 million during the week. This is very rewarding to me to see how roping payoffs have progressed over the years with many of the roping associations paying out in the millions this year regardless of the economy. Team roping will be the most represented event during the National Finals Rodeo with all of the ropings going on in Las Vegas and surrounding areas. There will be more team roping related products sold by vendors at the various Christmas shows than any other event in rodeo. There will be more hay, feed and care products sold to team ropers than any other contesting group during that time period. There will be more dollars spent on rooms and other related products at the gift shows by team ropers than any other event supporters as a whole.

What I am trying to say is that team roping is a huge part of the WNFR and is probably the most represented event in Vegas during the WNFR from fan base to participant. This makes me very proud to see that team roping has grown to this level and seems to be alive and well. Good luck to all of the contestants who will be involved in competition during their stay in Vegas.

In Denny’s notes he stated that Michael Gaughan had recently written that cowboys and cowgirls will be leaving Vegas with close to $11 million and team ropers will be leaving with $6.2 million, and that doesn’t include the thousands of dollars of prizes they will earn. Pretty nice for a rodeo event that had to take a backseat in the rodeo world for so many years.

The Bob Feist Invitational was created because in the earlier days team roping was not a standard event of rodeo. I had decided if rodeo didn’t want to recognize their talents and offer big money then we would break away as a solo event. In later years the PBR did the same thing for the bull riders creating the Professional Bull Riders.

I would like to salute all of the associations who have completed their finals and to all of the winners of the same. The best of luck to all of the team ropers headed to Vegas, whether it be for the rodeo or the ropings that will be held there. Hope to see many of you down there at the South Point and all the other venues and events. I also plan to be in Bullhead City to catch the roping at the Mojave Crossing Event Center, the 12th annual Lucky 777 Roping.

While in Vegas, be sure to stop and see Judy Gillum and her Western Wind Wines in booth 449 at the Mandalay Bay gift show. Judy and her husband Ozzie are well-known in the western world as having produced many great rodeo horses. Be sure to stop by for some wine tasting or to buy a nice gift basket or box.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of our readers and advertisers.

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