You guys: We've written so many words about team roping in 2018. SO many words about headers, heelers, life changing money, heartbreak, horses, long drives, partner splits, barriers, legs, wave offs, and so much more.
We're the only place covering the sport from head to toe and horn to heel, and we're dang proud of the timely event coverage we provide free online and in the print magazine and on The Score podcast, coverage that's complemented by how-to stories to help you with your roping and feature stories to give you an even deeper insight into the personalities that inspire your roping life.
Here's a wrap up of team roping's biggest happenings in 2018 to get you psyched for the upcoming Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.
Aaron Tsinigine and Kyle Locket won the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver, Colorado with a time of 16.2 seconds on three head, worth $5,949 each. They didn't win any money in rounds one and two, but their team placed second in the final round with a 5.7 second run, worth $1,176 a man. This duo is currently sitting fifth in the PRCA World Standings with a total of $8,938.77 and $10,814.12 won, respectively.
Matt Sherwood and Walt Woodard won the Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show in Fort Worth, Texas after turning in a time of 15.6 seconds on three head worth $7,565 each.
“We came back tied for first with Shane Phillip and Joel Bach with a 10.1,” Woodard said. “They got to go last because they were 4.9 on one and we were 5 flat. They drew a steer that ran—too bad.”
Luke Brown and Jake Long split $30,000 after roping six steers in 40.91 seconds, besting the field of 37 teams at this year's Wildfire Open to the World in Hamilton, Texas.
Brown and Long were high call heading into the short round in the progressive-after-three jackpot, which moved to Hamilton after former owner Billy Pipes sold it to Dru Stewart in 2017. In previous years, ropers could enter the jackpot three times, but this year the format changed to enter once.
If you ask Junior Nogueira how things like winning $100,000 at RFD-TV’s The American happen, he’s got one answer: “That was God.” The Brazilian world champ will also tell you that losing your hat in the process is also God, just making sure he stays humble. (Just like the night he fell off celebrating his 3.3-second run at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo this past December.)
Squaw Valley, California's 28-year-old Jordan Ketscher, in just his second appearance at the Cinch Timed Event Championship, takes the $100,000 payday at the Lazy E Arena.
Coleman Proctor and Billie Jack Saebens jumped to the number-four spot in the PRCA World Standings with $29,100.99 won after banking $23,015 each at the San Antonio (Texas) Stock Show & Rodeo.
Lane Ivy and Ryan Motes roped three steers in a time of 12.36 seconds to win the average at the first-ever Lone Star Shootout Open Roping with a #16 incentive in Stephenville, Texas worth $60,000 total.
“It was a fast roping,” Motes said. “We had a couple of good steers which obviously helps. It was similar to a George Strait style—the barrier was two-foot under. We were a short-four three times. It was one of those deals where we came back third high-call and it was really tight amongst the top six teams right there.”
Matt Sherwood and Walt Woodard had to be 4 flat and break the arena record to win RodeoHouston. They did it. Matt cried. Walt’s voice cracked like a little girl on Christmas morning. Their emotion was sincere—and contagious. I, too, cried, and was far from alone. At 48 and 62, these guys are grandpas, for the love of God. And they’ve still got it.
The newly formed World Champions Rodeo Alliance held its first rodeo, the WCRA Rodeo Showdown, May 5-6 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. Clay Smith and Paul Eaves won the team roping title and $31,000 a man.
Cody Snow and Wesley Thorp won the first-ever World Class Invitational Open after roping four head in 18.04-seconds to split $60,000 plus Gist gold buckles at the 4 Bears Casino & Lodge in New Town, North Dakota.
“I was pumped that we won it,” Snow said. “To win the first one, too, that’s really one of the top three ropings of the year. The Strait is gone and there’s the BFI which pays more but it also costs more to enter. For the money you’re going to put up at the World Class Invitational, the rounds pay $2,000 and there’s a lot of chances to make it back.”
When the flag fell on the high call steer of the 2018 Bob Feist Invitational, a 24-year-old heeler from Las Vegas, New Mexico, made a victory lap around the arena in front of the Reno Livestock Event Center's packed house, then solemly rode his blue roan out the back, through the Monday crowd of kids swinging toy ropes and spectators streaming out of the stands, back to his stall, all while the announcer beckoned him back to the arena for awards and photos.
Aaron Tsinigine and Trey Yates are on a roll as Cowboy Christmas begins. Tsinigine and Yates are currently tied for fourth at the Livingston (Montana) Roundup with Kellan Johnson and Jhett Johnson and Riley and Brady Minor with a 4.6-second run, second at the Black Hills Rodeo in Belle Fourche, South Dakota with a 4.3-second run and first at the Cody (Wyoming) Stampede with a 4.1-second run. Tsinigine also placed fifth at the Flagstaff (Arizona) Pro Rodeo with Ty Romo, roping their steer in 6.2 seconds, worth $437 each.
From sixth call, Chad Masters and Joseph Harrison took a 1.7-second lead at the Cheyenne Frontier Days, turning in a fast time of 7.9 seconds to win the final round, worth $1,813 each, and give them a total of 26.4 seconds on three head, worth $8,939 a man along with trophy saddles and buckles.
By now, you’ve likely heard the unlikely news that Wyoming’s Johnson brothers—Kellan, 19, and Carson, 17—took the team roping title and gold medals at the Days of ’47 Cowboy Games & Rodeo, which ran July 19-21 and 23-24 in Salt Lake City. But you’re probably not aware of just how long the odds were against these two teen-aged brothers taking center stage to have those gold medals placed around their necks while being handed life-changing checks for more than $50 grand a man. To sum up this Salt Lake stunner in a word, “miracle” is more like it.
15. Another Day, Another Dollar: Jeff Flenniken and Jake Minor Win San Juan
Jeff Flenniken and Jake Minor rode into the August 25-26 Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo hanging by a thread to their dream of qualifying for their first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 2018. But their urgency for a paycheck went way beyond that. This wasn’t a case of casual crunch time. It was win or literally go home.
Clay Tryan and Travis Graves banked $12,784 at the Washington State Fair Pro Rodeo in Puyallup, Washington. They won the finals round, roping their steer in 4.6 seconds, worth $7,500 each and placed third in the semifinals round with a 5.6-second-run, worth $2,500 each.
17. Begay and Skelton’s One-Time Pair-Up Pays Dividends at Albuquerque
Derrick Begay and Rich Skelton won the New Mexico State Fair and Rodeo in Albuquerque with a 4.0-second run in what would be their first and only rodeo appearance together.
Eight-time world champion Skelton roped with Jake Barnes most of 2018, and is finishing the year with tie-down world champ Caleb Smidt in an attempt to get enough won to make it into the big winter rodeos like the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo in 2019. As entries closed for Albuquerque earlier this month, Begay still hadn’t clinched his eighth WNFR-berth, so he needed to make the trip to the building rodeo. His regular partner, reigning world champ Cory Petska, already had the Finals made, so Begay and Skelton paired up, saving Smidt a trip to New Mexico.
Tyler Worley was 34th in the PRCA world standings heading into the short round of the 2018 Pendleton (Oregon) Round-Up, and he and gold-buckle partner Chad Masters hadn't won any of the go-round money on the grass that week, either. But when Worley popped off on the first hop on a great steer on short-round Saturday, he and Masters' 5.0-second run put Worley in a fight-to-the-finish he wasn't expecting.
JD Yates piloted the 6-year-old bald face sorrel gelding DT Air Jordan to his second consecutive American Rope Horse Futurity Association heading world title with a score of 929.54 on four head.
Dual Patron, the 5-year-old buckskin stallion owned by Bobby Lewis and shown by Joseph Harrison, stood out heads and tails above the field at the 2018 American Rope Horse Futurity Association's $110,000-added World Championship Oct. 19, winning the $20,000 title with a score of 941.29 on four steers.