Dear Roper

Hard-Earned: An Inside Look at the July 2024 Issue
Front row seats to the grind.
Karstyn, Kenna and Chris Francis with Oren Mathews and Cade Passig standing shoulder to shoulder in front of wood fenche
Karstyn, Kenna and Chris Francis with Oren Mathews and Cade Passig at a 2017 photo shoot. | TRJ File Photo

Dear Roper,

cover of the July 2024 issue of The Team Roping Journal
On the cover: WRWC Champion Kenna Francis at a pre-BFI practice session. | photo by Casey Allen

The roper on our cover, Kenna Francis, is no stranger to most of you. She’s in the office at so many of the country’s biggest ropings, from the Riata Buckle to the Ariat World Series of Team Roping’s outdoor qualifier at the Finale to so many qualifiers in Texas and New Mexico produced by Mathews Land and Cattle. 

When we first started The Team Roping Journal back in 2017, Senior Editor Gabriella Schiavino trekked to Las Vegas, New Mexico, to get a peek into the lives of Chris and Kenna Francis, Oren Mathews and Cade and Kersti Passig at MLC. The resulting story was called Elements of Success, and it’s still a great read seven years later. In 2019, I first got to really know Chris and Cade when they won The Feist, and it’s one of my all-time favorite pieces I’ve gotten to write, too.


Without a DOUBT: Our girls Kenna Francis and @Whitney DeSalvo are @Women’s Rodeo Championship $60,000 CHAMPS. 👊👊👊 #ropelikeagirl #ropeywomen #cowgirlstuff #mathewslandandcattleco

♬ Bad Reputation – Joan Jett

I guess these stories have stood out to us for the same reasons Kenna’s win with Whitney DeSalvo at the Women’s Rodeo World Championship for $120,000 does—because we’ve gotten a front-row seat to the grind. As a staff, we all see what Chris and Kenna and their MLC crew put into what they do, day in and day out, to rope their best and to ensure that everyone who puts their hard-earned money up at the ropings they produce gets their best shot at the pot. 

Needless to say, when Kenna and Whitney got those WRWC buckles and big checks, we all felt a little something for two ladies who’ve been so consistently exceptional at this sport, and who put everything they have into this game we all love. 

In the rest of the issue, you’ll find a very equine-focused collection of stories. Kendra Santos celebrates J.D. Yates’ induction into both the AQHA Hall of Fame and the ProRodeo Hall of Fame, while Julie Mankin pens a story about the long-great Harrison Ranch. Dig in, and let us know what you think. 


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