Happy New Year to all of you out there in roper-land and congratulations to new world champions of the PRCA, Turtle Powell and Jhett Johnson. This team out-did the field at the Wrangler National Finals by winning the average and placing in eight of the 10 rounds. This team was one of three that roped nine of their 10 steers at the WNFR and did it in a time of 57.90 to finish 15 seconds ahead of the second place team in the average, Jake Barnes and Walt Woodard.
I have given over two weeks of thought before writing about the WNFR team roping because of the bad showing AGAIN in the team roping. I am sorry, but when you put 30 of supposedly the best team ropers in the rodeo business in a competition to see who the best is, and they miss over a third of their cattle, I have a problem with it.
Fifteen teams times 10 head is 150 runs. When it was all said and done, there were 53 no times, legs and broken barriers from the so-called best team ropers in the world. Maybe I should say rodeo team ropers as they normally get checks for roping fast and not necessarily consistent. It really shows at the Wrangler National Finals when there are that many misses. There must not be much thought in the minds of the ropers that this is a 10 steer average and you have to rope 10 to get a big check. It seems that the ropers treat it more like 10 rodeo runs from the start. In the first round, five of the 15 teams took no-times.
I have always granted that the Thomas and Mack Arena is not the ideal team roping arena but it is what it is and I think that on any given day the ropers that were there could rope 10 head if they really had to. It seems that too much emphasis is put into being fast than consistent. Granted, the rounds pay well and it looks good when a good run is made, but how many misses does the paying public have to see before they see a good run?
In the second round there were six no-times out of the 15 and in the third round again six no-times. Then in the fourth round the paying public got to see seven no-times when they came to see the best in the world. The fifth round saw five no-times and finally in the sixth and seventh round, everyone realized that maybe we need to catch. Those were the best rounds to watch of the whole week with only three misses.
The eighth round had six misses and in the ninth, five. The 10th and final round had seven no-times. When it was all said and done, three teams had caught nine head for the week, two teams eight head, three teams seven head, one team six head, four teams five head, (50%); one team only caught four head and worse than that, one team only caught three head and never recorded a time until their fifth run. One team never recorded a time until their seventh run.
I admire the talents of these great ropers, but for some reason the WNFR brings out the worst in their skills by them all trying to be so fast. I don’t know what the answer is, unless it is to put more money in the average and less in the rounds, or not have a barrier but to have a point in the arena the steer would have to get to be turned (old fashion barrel roping). This would make the ropers look one over before they threw. Granted the times would not be as fast but it would be better watching. Start a whole new set of records under these conditions and forget the past records. The headers seem to be forced to throw in a hurry thus making for the majority of the misses. Good headers are not supposed to miss in a long average.
For the past couple of years I had noticed that the quality of the roping in the BFI had gone way downhill in the first round accounting for a lot of no times in a six steer average. I had considered not paying any money in the first and maybe even the second round so ropers would settle down and rope for the average. This would allow them to display their skills to the roping fan who bought a ticket to come watch good roping and horsemanship skills.
I hate to get after this subject every year but I have to defend team roping everywhere I go and it always seems to be harder at the WNFR than anywhere else. After a bad night of team roping I get an earful from those who don’t think team roping should even be at the Finals. I always contend that it is the only event that is a real display of the modern day working cowboy, a display of horsemanship and roping skills which is not displayed to its fullest at the WNFR.
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The South Point Hotel and Casino was again a team roping paradise with the World Series of Team Roping hosting their finals. The Gentry’s along with the South Point did an outstanding job in putting on a great finals with the largest payoff in team roping history. Congratulations to all involved and to all the winners. See complete results starting on page 1 of this issue of Ropers Sports News.
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Make your plans now to attend the Cowboy Downhill in Steamboat Springs, Colo. on January 17, slopeside at noon. This is an annual event that invites cowboys and cowgirls who are competing at Denver to come up and have some fun on the slopes before the rodeo season gets into full swing. It is one of the best times of the year for out-of-the-arena events and has been for close to 40 years. Come join John Shipley and I as we call the action as the contestants ski or board through ski gates, over a jump, more gates, rope a girl, saddle a horse, then race to the finish line. Many wrecks and fun times. At the end, all of the contestants go to the top and come down in a stampede run. First to the bottom wins.
This year Bobby Delvecchio will be inducted into the Legends and Founders Hall of Fame. Make your plans now to be part of this function which will start on the 16th with pre-skiing and race on the 17th. Many of the contestants will hold over and ski on the 18th as well.
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Bob Scott will be hosting a two day roping in Queen Creek, Ariz. on Feb. 14th & 15th. Patterned after the famous Oakdale 10 Steer, his event will be a 10 Steer for $1,000 man, everyone gets 10 along with three loops. 80% payback should be a welcome payoff to the ropers. This event is for ropers 50 and over. See more details in the ad on page 13 of this issue of Ropers Sports News.
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Happy New Year everyone and hopefully things will turn around for the roping industry in this coming year.