Golden Age: Inside Look at the January 2020 Issue
Take a peek at the Dear Roper letter inside the January 2020 issue of The Team Roping Journal.

Jennings Photography

Dear Roper, 

Right before Thanksgiving, a family friend of my husband’s passed away. His name was Gary Lauridsen, and he was 61 when he left this Earth. 

My husband and I went to the memorial service, and we walked in a bit late, as I’d rushed home from work early on a Friday to get there. We lingered in the hallway outside the 4H building in Greeley, Colorado, where they held the memorial service, and as I listened to the preacher talk about Gary’s life, I looked over to see a photo of him roping with his nephew at one of the World Series of Team Roping’s qualifiers produced by John Johnson in Cheyenne.

As the preacher’s words came into focus the longer we stood there, I realized he was talking about Gary’s roping, too. He talked about the time in 2017 Gary won 15 place in the #12 Finale in Las Vegas with the same nephew, Dustin Bowling, and how proud he was to have won that $6,000 check. At the front of the room filled with team ropers was a trophy saddle, and his boots and spurs sat next to photos of Gary and his extended family roping, on a table next to the food line.

I’ve worked with Denny Gentry long enough to hear him muse about the funerals he attends, year after year, just like this one. Denny’s always said how it catches him off guard, every time he sees a man buried wearing a USTRC or World Series buckle—the strange feeling he gets seeing a trophy saddle next to a casket.

This was my first real go at something like this, and Denny sure is right. It’s nothing insignificant we do here in the team roping business. This sport is in the ropers’ veins; it’s what makes you all tick, and on your last day, it just might be what you’re thinking of and part of what you’re remembered for.

If you made it to Vegas with us, I hope you made memories you’ll talk about the rest of your life. If you spent the month at home, I hope it was time spent with the ones you love.

Here’s to more memories in this small world in 2020.

—Chelsea Shaffer

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