“Tonight was crazy,” Koch said.

Luke Brown and Hunter Koch came out on top of the leaderboard in the third performance of the WCRA Days of ’47 Cowboy Games & Rodeo after roping in unexpected weather conditions which delayed the rodeo.

Brown and Koch were the second to last team out during the performance on Thursday, July 22, and drew a steer that was on the stronger end of the herd. They stopped the clock in 4.91 seconds to win the round, worth $1,600 a man, and secure a spot in the Gold Medal Round on Saturday, July 24.

“The steer we had drawn was supposed to be the strongest one in the herd,” Koch said, who is one of the few team roping coaches at Roping.com. “It said medium-plus on the list; was strong and hard to heel. We were a little nervous about our steer, but we were fortunate enough to get by him.”

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The first five teams on the draw roped in severe weather conditions. The only team to catch during the heavy rain, wind and lightning storm was Resistol Rookie contender Reno Stoebner and Coy Brittain, who roped their steer in 5.48 seconds, but came up with one hind foot to add five seconds to their time.

“We don’t want to admit it, but weather does play a toll on us,” Koch said. “The wind was blowing hard during the first few teams. With it not being as good as conditions makes it hard.”

The rodeo was then delayed for the second time of the night after the fifth team roped. Once the rain and wind began to settle down the final three teams were prepared to rope. 

Bubba Buckaloo and Daniel Braman we're the first team back to rope and set the pace with a 6.1-second run to put pressure on Brown and Koch.

Luke Brown and Hunter Koch won the Sheridan WYO Rodeo the previous weekend. Find out about their win here. 

“We knew we had to be faster than 6.1, but you have Cody Snow and Wesley Thorp right behind you,” Koch said. “I told Luke right before we roped, ‘Remember that day when it was raining, and we were roping in the rain?' He said, ‘Yep.’ I said, ‘Well, here we go. This is why we practiced right there.’ He said, ‘I love it.’”

Brown nailed the barrier and stuck it on the tough steer faster that what Koch had anticipated.

“I honestly wasn’t expecting Luke to go that fast,” Koch said. “I had seen the rope go on the horns. I was a little further back than I wanted, but I also didn’t want to take a dumb shot. My horse helped me out there and crept forward a little bit and gave me extra time to get an extra swing in and get him roped.”

Behind The First-Time NFR Qualifier Hunter Koch

Koch knows that it takes an elite horse like Garfield, a 10-year-old gelding, to allow him to make the heel shot that he took and gives his horse all of the credit.

“A lesser horse I feel like could take that shot away from you when you need an extra swing,” Koch said. “He felt me getting ready to take another swing, so he crept forward a little bit more and helped me. At the same time, he finished really strong, sat down and backed off so we could get a good finish and a good, snappy flag. I feel like a great horse really helps guys in scenarios like that.”