Throwin' It Back

Sharing the Memories: An Inside Look at the August 2023 Issue
The August 2023 issue covers big breaks, the top 10 traits of jackpot head horses, building your rope horse business and more.
Matt Sherwood and Travis Graves team roping at the 2005 US Open.
Matt Sherwood and Travis Graves seize an early career win at the 2005 US Open. | Brenda Allen photo

Dear Roper, 

I’ve got to admit—I’ve been distracted lately. I started a project a few months ago that’s got me mining the Spin To Win Rodeo archives, pulling old stories and images off CDs that had sat in binders collecting dust for decades. 

Every day, I pull a disk out of a sleeve, throw it in my drive, and wait—impatiently—for the files to transfer. It takes about 20 minutes, and while I wait, I type a story, make a phone call or take a meeting. But when the computer dings that the files are officially dropped onto the drive so I can open them, I rush over to flip through each one. 

I wasn’t raised in the sport of team roping, of course, so a lot of these images and memories, I’m seeing for the first time, even after 13 years at this magazine. I guess that’s where the excitement lies for me—a glimpse into the early days and biggest wins of so many people I’ve grown to care about so very much over the years. A lot of the wins, the horses, the partnerships and the money changed people’s lives, and revisiting them now makes the stories we write today that much richer. 

You’ll see plenty of those old stories coming to life online in the next few months, and on page 34, you’ll find our newest department, Big Break. There, we’ll highlight the original big wins of some of today’s household names—starting with the 2005 US Open win of Matt Sherwood and Travis Graves.

Just last month, we began rolling out some of the RodeoVideo archives on in the same spirit. Even if you’ve not yet subscribed, I hope you’ve seen some of the memorable clips from these great ropings. Whether it was Fred Whitfield, Roy Cooper and Mike Johnson dueling it out at the 1992 Mo’Betta Calf Roping in Apache, Oklahoma, the Mega Matches between Jake Barnes and Clay Cooper and Bobby Hurley and Allen Bach or the Spicer Gripp of the early 2000s, there’s magic in watching the legends of the sport—and I hope you take the time to share those memories with your kids, just like mainstream dads and moms watching clips of Roberto Clemente or Mario Lemieux or Terry Bradshaw did with their kids. (Did I mention I grew up in Pittsburgh?) I think we’re all a little better for that time with our folks and for the examples of the greats who came before us. 

Cover of the August 2023 issue of Team Roping Journal.
On the cover: Clay Smith and Apache Promise | Elite Equine Photo Legends only at the #MoBetta roping in 1992 🙌 drops TOMORROW 5/24 on #calfroping #tiedownroping #rodeohistory #cowboy #roping ♬ original sound –

See you down the road, 


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