Middle America should be proud of the cowboys it sent to Nevada for the richest one-day team roping in the world.
Jake Long, 33, of Coffeyville, Kan., and his best friend Coleman Proctor, 31, of Pryor, Okla., have roped together since they were kids, partnering professionally in five different seasons over the past 10 years.
Despite the fact that today Proctor was partnered with fellow Oklahoman Billie Jack Saebens of Nowata, he was the first man to ride over and congratulate Long, horseback, after Long and Luke Brown bested Proctor and Saebens for the coveted Bob Feist Invitational championship. The two teams earned $204,000 in cash.
The 40 anniversary of the oldest, most prestigious invitational team roping in the sport paid out $800,000 in cash and prizes Monday over six rounds of fierce competition. Brown and Long headed into the final round with a collective time just one-tenth of a second faster than that of Proctor and Saebens.
The latter team applied some pressure at the second call-back positon with a final run of 8.09 seconds, but Brown and Long responded in kind, roping their steer in 7.61 seconds to win the aggregate championship with a total time of 44.7 seconds over six rounds. The win was worth $120,000 plus prizes including custom Coats saddles, Gist buckles, and Best Ever pads, plus Justin full-quill ostrich boots, Bex Sunglasses, Yeti coolers and other retail certificates.
“This is my favorite roping; it always has been,” said Brown, of Morgan Mill, Texas. “As a little kid growing up in South Carolina, I was hooked on watching the video of the 1987 BFI.”
Brown has been close to the big win, and placed second here once, but the championship was a feather in the cap of one of rodeo’s all-time great headers. The veteran, who in 2008 became the first cowboy from South Carolina in 31 years to qualify for rodeo’s Super Bowl, has roped at every NFR since then and garnered three NFR average titles.
Long, a six-time NFR heeler who began partnering with Brown in 2016, said it was harder to know they could win the BFI with a nine-second run on their last steer than if they’d needed a six-second run.
“I’m not known for throwing my rope conservatively,” said Long. “I’ve worked really hard on those situations.”
It helps that Long was aboard “Colonel,” the defending PRCA/AQHA Heel Horse of the Year, and Brown was riding speedy “Cowboy” on the BFI’s fresh steers, which are given an 18-foot head start in a nod to old-school horsemanship skills.
For Proctor and Saebens, it wasn’t just the $84,000 payday plus prizes for second place that had them smiling. A fan made his way down to the arena after the event to have them both autograph a one-hundred-dollar bill they had signed last December at the WNFR. He’d carried it all the way to Reno.
Complete results from the 2017 Bob Feist Invitational:
First Round: 1. Zane Barnson and Cole Wilson, 6.68 seconds, $8,000; 2. Jake Barnes and Tyler Worley, 6.81, $6,000; 3. Charly Crawford and Joseph Harrison, 7.06, $4,000; 4. Paul David Tierney and Levi Tyan, 7.15, $2,000.
Second Round: 1. Kolton Schmidt and Dugan Kelly, 5.03 seconds, $8,000; 2. Billy Bob Brown and Logan Medlin, 5.71, $6,000; 3. Dale Benevides and Buck McCay, 5.76, $4,000; 4. Trey Blackmore and Jordan Olson, 5.82, $2,000.
Third Round: 1. Riley Minor and Brady Minor, 4.92 seconds, $8,000; 2. Lane Ivy and Buddy Hawkins, 5.20, $6,000; 3. Clay Smith and Paul Eaves, 5.72, $4,000; 4. Chad Masters and Travis Graves, 5.94, $2,000.
Fourth Round: 1. Dustin Bird and Russell Cardoza, 4.80 seconds, $8,000; 2. Kelsey Parchman and Chase Tryan, 4.89, $6,000; 3. Garrett Rogers and Jake Minor, 4.94, $4,000; 4. J.D. Yates and Rafael Paoliello, 5.31, $2,000.
Fifth Round: 1. Steven Duby and Taylor Duby, 4.65 seconds, $8,000; 2. Derrick Begay and Kyle Lockett, 4.81, $6,000; 3. Chad Masters and Travis Graves, 4.90, $4,000; 4. Dustin Bird and Russell Cardoza, 5.25, $2,000.
Wrangler/Priefert Short Round: 1. Jeff Flenniken and Wyatt Hansen, 5.76 seconds, $4,000; 2. Jake Barnes and Tyler Worley, 6.64, $3,000; 3. J.B. James and Brock Hanson, 6.87, $2,000; 4. Colton Campbell and Jason Duby, 7.45, $1,000.
Aggregate: 1. Luke Brown and Jake Long, 44.70 seconds on six steers, $120,000; 2. Coleman Proctor and Billie Jack Saebens, 46.23, $84,000; 3. Colton Campbell and Jason Duby, 47.27, $56,000; 4. Jake Barnes and Tyler Worley, 50.11, $33,000; 5. Travis Bounds and Jesse Sheffield, 51.44, $21,000; 6. Dan Williams and Caleb Twisselman, 52.18, $16,000; 7. Chase Wiley and Martin Lucero, 52.41, $14,000; 8. Hayes Smith and Cesar de la Cruz, 53.01, $11,500; 9. JB James and Brock Hanson, 55.51, $10,000; 10. Jeff Flenniken and Wyatt Hansen, 56.87, $9,000; 11. Chant DeForest and Bronc Boehnlein, 61.93, $9,000; 12. Tom Richards and Tyler McKnight, 40.75 on five, $9,000; 13. Brandon Beers and Jim Ross Cooper, 43.29, $7,000; 14. Tyler Wojceichowski and Krece Harris, 45.3, $7,000; 15. Riley Minor and Brady Minor, 47.84, $7,000.