Cody Buffalo and reigning Ram National Circuit Finals Champion Heeler J.W. Borrego grew up roping together through junior rodeo, Little Britches and High School Rodeo. So when Cody was diagnosed with cancer while he, Borrego and Ty Blasingame were working for the Gosney family, the old friends stuck together to try to beat the disease. But six years later, Cody lost his battle.
“Karen Kaess started having his memorial roping that year, along with the Doug Kaess Memorial she’d been putting on,” Borrego said. “I wanted to win it so bad. It was a one-header, and Jay Tittel and I were the first team out.”
They were 4.6, and nobody would catch them. Borrego went to accept his buckle, but Kaess told him it hadn’t come in yet.
“Karen kept the buckle because she knew how much it meant to me, and she had my name put on it,” Borrego said. “That buckle means a lot to me. It was really emotional.”
Borrego will heel for Blasingame again this year at the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo in its inaugural year at the Silver Spur Arena in Kissimmee, Fla., representing the Mountain States Circuit, March 25-28.