So, although the 2012 season has already technically begun, we're won?t see a lot of the new team roping teams until the next few weeks in Odessa and Denver.
The major shakeup came when Jade Corkill first announced he would head for the 2012 season, then later decided he would not rope at all. Since that's where the dominoes began to fall, let's start with his former partner, Chad Masters.
Chad will team up with Jake Long for 2012. I see that as a really solid partnership. Chad has some great rodeo horses, is always searching and developing new ones, and Jake?s Mikey is as a good as they come on the heel end.
They?re both thoughtful, level-headed and well-intentioned guys. I see it as a good match both in and out of the arena.
Jake?s 2011 partner, Brady Tryan, is paired with Allen Bach for Odessa, but Matt Zancanella for Denver and the foreseeable future. Brady?s big brother Travis roped with Zanc and they made the NFR in 2002 and 2003. there's some familiarity there, however, Zanc didn't rodeo much for a couple of years, but in 2010 finished 21st.
Speaking of Travis, he entered Odessa heading for Joel Bach (yes, Joel did head last year). But entered Denver with Brad Culpepper. He and Brad will rope at Denver, San Antonio and Houston. Again, that's a partnership that makes a lot of sense on paper. Both guys are veterans and know what it takes to win. However, Travis and Joel will rope again after that. I haven't heard who Brad who will rope with after that.
Joel Bach, on the other hand, entered Denver heeling for Quincy Kueckelhan. That could be a very rapid combo. Both guys are young gunners. Again, Joel and Travis plan to reunite after the winter run. Allen Bach did not enter Denver.
Perhaps the new team that I am most curious about is Charly Crawford and Clay O?Brien Cooper. Two veterans who will work hard with proven track records is always of interest.
Colby Lovell and took Crawford?s old partner, Russell Cardoza and again, that partnership looks good on paper. I think both Crawford and Cardoza were disappointed in 2011 after such a great 2010 NFR, so they probably needed a fresh start.
The other notable new team is Jake Barnes picking up Paul Eaves. Eaves has spent a lot of time with the Bachs over the years and this just might be his breakout season?especially considering how well Jake roped in 2011.
A few others round out the list: Kaleb Driggers/Caleb Twisselman and Ty Blasingame/York Gill are the most notable. I expect big things from Blaster and Gill, by the way.
Regardless, this list will once again be revised after the winter run and they?ll be a handful of new teams for Reno. Until then, best of luck to this group!
What new team do you think will make the biggest splash in 2012?