While doing battle with the who’s-who of ProRodeo team roping at rodeos in the Badlands Circuit all season long, brothers Cooper and Tucker White stood out to secure the Badlands Circuit year-end titles.
After falling short the last few years, Hershey, Nebraska’s Cooper (23) and Tucker (27) took home the year-end titles with a total of $18,043.91 and $15,595.21 in season earnings, respectively.
“It's something that we've worked for for a long time together and fell short again and again,” Cooper said. “We had the year-end won before we ran our last steer, but it was just cool to cap it off, and to do it with your brother is even cooler because you know how much you both rely on each other and work towards the same goals.”
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“Obviously with the performances and everything counting put us in a good spot for the next year and getting into some other rodeos, possibly,” Tucker added. “The performances at Kissimmee also count for the standings so we're really excited about that. We've never been and we're on uncharted waters for me and my brother, both. We went in there winning it, but it was a tough year to win money in our circuit with 100 and some entries everywhere you went. It was like making a SportsCenter top 10 play to place anywhere.”
Cooper and Tucker knocked the circuit finals out or the park after turning in a time of 16.4 seconds on three head, worth $2,112 each. They won the first round with a 5.7-second run, worth $1,408 a man, placing second in the second round with a 5.1-seconds round worth $1,056 a man and placed second in the third round with a 5.6-second run, worth $1,056 a man.
“We got to go last every round,” Tucker said. “We won the second round and then we ended up leading the average, so we got to go last on the last one. It wasn’t like it was that terribly tough; we were just able to go out and make our run and it was fast enough to win something and it won good money.”
You don’t typically hear of team ropers setting their arena up with the dimensions of their circuit finals—that’s generally reserved for guys getting ready for the NFR. But with the determination that these brothers had, there was no way they weren’t going to prepare as best as they could by setting up their home arena as if they were at the circuit finals.
“We have another arena that runs across my arena kind of like Patrick Smith's,” Cooper said. “I wanted to get a feel before I got up there instead of just running one steer in the run through. We roped in it for about a week. When we started practicing I was reaching and trying to get it figured out but then I was watching old films and Erich Rogers and the guys that do so good in the little buildings, they get them on a tight rope. I started trying to do that a little bit more and our runs were better, faster. From that day on I said that I wasn't reaching.”
Not only did they capitalize their year with the year-end titles and the average win after the long nights of practice, Cooper’s head horse, Razor, owned by the White’s family-friend Andy Miller, was voted as the Badlands Circuit Head Horse of the Year award.
“He's one of the best that I've ever rode, but he was still pretty young,” Cooper said. “Most horses that I get are already finished, so I got to kind of help finish this one a little bit. I knew he was good, but I didn't know that the guys thought that about him. Andy said, 'I knew he'd win it. I got the watch the videos all summer and I knew he'd win it.' I didn't know. I was super happy, and I know Andy was very pleased as well.”
“We both know that we wouldn't have done any good without that head horse,” Tucker noted.
Tucker heeled on his gritty 16-year-old gelding, Gator.
“I wouldn’t want to compare him to the likes of Jackyl because I think Jackyl is one of the best heel horses ever, but I've heard people say that he's always in the right spot at the right time and that's kind of how my horse is,” Tucker said. “He's not the fastest and he's not the best looking, but he always seems to be at the right sport at the right time for me to win something.”
Cooper and Tucker and now leading the 2021 PRCA world standings with $5,632.16 in earnings.
“There's so many opportunities that can come from the circuit finals,” Tucker said. “If it was a normal year and you won the circuit finals then you got into Fort Worth and you qualified for Kissimmee. For us we had such a good finals that it's maybe letting us into Houston and San Antonio. Crazy opportunities come from just your circuit finals.”
1. Cooper White and Tucker White, 5.7-second run, worth $1,408 each
2. Jared Odens and Matt Zancanella, 6.2-second run, $1,056 each
3. Cody Hilzendeger and Ty Talsma, 6.4-second run, $704 each
4/5. Eli Lord and Dustin Harris, 6.5-second run, $176 each
4/5. Brent McInerney and Tanner McInerney, 6.5-second run, $176 each
1. Brent McInerney and Tanner McInerney, 4.8-second run, $1,408 each
2. Cooper White and Tucker White, 5.1-second run, $1,056 each
3. Jason Schaffer and Cole Robinson, 5.7-second run, $704 each
4. Cameron Irwin and Rory Brown, 5.9-second run, $352 each
1. Jared Odens and Matt Zancanella, 5.0-second run, $1,408 each
2. Cooper White and Tucker White, 5.6-second run, $1,056 each
3/4/5. Cody Hilzendeger and Ty Talsma, 5.7-second run, $352 each
3/4/5. Jade Schmidt and Jade Nelson, 5.7-second run, $352 each
3/4/5. J.B. Lord and Jesse Dale, 5.7-second run, $352 each
1. Cooper White and Tucker White, 16.4 seconds on three head, worth $2,112 each
2. Cameron Irwin/Rory Brown, 23.9 seconds on three head, worth $1,584 each
3. Brent McInerney and Tanner McInerney, 26.0 seconds on three head, $1,056 each
4. Jared Odens and Matt Zancanella, 11.2 on two head, $528 each