Dear Roper

Viva Las Vegas: An Inside Look at the December 2023 Issue
It's gold buckle time in Las Vegas.

Dear Roper,

As this issue hits your mailboxes, my team and I will be doing the last loads of laundry before we stuff our suitcases and pack our cameras and gear bags and head to Vegas for the richest two weeks in roping— and we can’t wait.

Every year, covering the Ariat World Series of Team Roping Finale at the South Point and the Wrangler NFR at the Thomas & Mack marks the biggest event coverage endeavor this team tackles. And every year, we’re better prepared than the year before and arriving on-scene with greater ideas for delivering the best and most timely content from the events you all love the most, too. You won’t be disappointed.

Of course, that level of execution requires us to get to work yesterday. And, as this is issue is going to print, I am Momming it hard from early-morning Halloween hair styling sessions to in-school trick-or-treating to after-school trick-or-treating to trick-or-treating at our best friend’s place, too. Meanwhile, our first Colorado snow is finally thawing, so I’m running to clean just-thawed pens for my horses before I jet-set to Oklahoma to handle Riata Buckle coverage.  

Ropers prepare to rope early in the morning at the South Point Equestrian Center in Las Vegas.
Ropers prepare to rope early in the morning at the South Point Equestrian Center in Las Vegas. | Kirsten Ziegler photo

It’s … a lot. But for better or worse, I am here for the betterment of the sport and your experience as ropers. Dan Stewart was also an advocate for the industry, and we honor his memory and his passion for the sport on page 40. And if you really want to get hyped on hard work, check out the horses that carried the world’s best ropers to the Finals on page 90. 

But also, if you’ve had enough hustle (I hear that), you’re going to love reading what three-time World Champion Clay Tryan has to say about stepping back and changing course on page 92. Because if we’re lucky, this life will be long. And though it might be more full than we want at times, just maybe we’ll get to look back at a life well lived and our life’s works done well, like team ropers and artists Fred and Deborah Fellows on page 78. 

So whether you’re running-and-gunning like my team and me or team roping in your best retirement life in Wickenburg, I’ll see you in Vegas to watch World Champions be crowned (our NFR Preview is on page 84) and life-changing windfalls awarded (the Finale schedule can be found on page 95).

See you at the South Point, 

Chelsea

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