Andrew Ward and Buddy Hawkins won $100,000 for their aggregate time of 40.66-seconds on six head at the Resistol Reno Open in its final year in Reno, Nevada on Saturday, June 18th.
This win comes as no surprise, as Ward and Hawkins have earned the reputation of being the team with the highest catching percentage in the history of the game.
In the second high call back position, Hawkins and Ward were separated by just one-hundredth of a second behind Clay Smith and Jake Long, and chose to continue with their well-tuned catching strategy during the final round.
“It’s so hard to beat Clay and Jake Long, but putting catches on the board is what we started doing and we try to hold true to it,” Ward, 31, of Edmond, Oklahoma said. “We were talking before the short round started, and Bud said, ‘What should we do? Are we gonna stick to the run? Are we gonna heat this one up?’ And I said, ‘If we finish the way we started, it’s gonna be good either way.”
This is a long-awaited win for Ward and Hawkins, who had discussed their strategy for winning the BFI nearly a year before beginning their partnership in 2019.
“Andrew and I talked for six hours one night on an all-night drive about this exact roping, probably a year and a half before we formed our team,” Buddy, 35 of Stephenville, Texas said. “We were over here at the Feist, and we both saw what we thought was the right way to approach this roping.”
Their strategies have paid off as Ward and Hawkins set the NFR team roping average record in 2021 and stand third in the PRCA world standings with $54,398.13 each. Their major wins include the Lone Star Shootout in Stephenville, Texas on February 27, worth $65,000 each, The American in Arlington, Texas on March 6 worth $100,000 each, although it does not count in the world standings this year, and their set at RodeoHouston, for another $5,750 after placing in each round and winning the second performance outright.
The team considers all aspects of the game in their strategy, including their horses. Ward rode his 11-year-old bay gelding Biscuit, Cole E Man, for the win, and Hawkins rode Easy, JAJ Dual Rey Pete, for the win, who he says was a strategic choice in roping with Ward.
“I knew I was going to rope with Andrew and Easy fit what we were looking for in our run,” Hawkins said. “And this roping today, what a confirmation for us.”
Despite the fact that Ward and Hawkins seem to have a plan for everything, it is really just the love of the game that keeps them going.
“The big wins are just like bonuses,” Ward said. “We rope cause we love it. We say it’s about the money but it really has very little to do about money. This is everything I’ve dreamed about doing since I was little bitty and getting to come to this roping and do good, whether I won first or 10th if I did my best I am going to enjoy it.”
Resistol Reno Open Average:
Andrew Ward and Buddy Hawkins, 40.66 seconds on six $100,000
Cody Snow and Wesley Thorp, 40.71 seconds on six, $46,000
Jake Cooper Clay and Billie Jack Saebens, 43.68 seconds on six, $21,000
4. Clay Smith and Jake Long, 45.13 seconds on six, $15,000
5. Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira, 46.86 seconds on six, $12,000
6. Jaxson Tucker and Wyatt Cox, 48.13 seconds on six, $10,000
7. James Arviso and Landen Glenn, 48.35 seconds on six, $8,000
8. Luke Brown and Hunter Koch, 49.69 seconds on six, $7,000
9. Pedro Egurrola and JC Flake, 51.52 seconds on six, $6,000
10. Britt Smith and Jake Smith, 51.92 seconds on six, $5,000
11. Jeff Flenniken and Jake Minor, 53.31 seconds on six, $4,000
12. Tanner Baldwin and Nano Garza, 66.61 seconds on six, $4,000
13. Bubba Buckaloo and Joseph Harrison, 41.13 on five, $4,000
14. Jake Raine and Cody Hall, 43.65 seconds on five, $4,000
15. Jace Mitchell and Chase Sullivan, 63.02 seconds on five, $4,000
Resistol Reno Open Round One:
1. Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira, 6.11 seconds, $5,000
2. Bubba Buckaloo and Joseph Harrison, 6.37 seconds, $3,000
3. Clay Tryan and Jade Corkill, 6.53 seconds, $2,000
4/5. Coy Rahlmann and Douglas Rich, 6.63 seconds, $500
4/5. Rhen Richard and Jeremy Buhler, 6.63 seconds, $500
Resistol Reno Open Round Two:
1. Jack Graham and Reno Eddy, 5.18 seconds, $5,000
2. Tyler Wade and Trey Yates, 5.39 seconds, $3,000
3. Hayes Smith and Cullen Teller, 5.50 seconds, $2,000
4. Riley Minor and Brady Minor, 5.77 seconds, $1,000
Resistol Reno Open Round Three:
1. Clint Summers and Ross Ashford, 4.54 seconds, $5,000
2. Nelson Wyatt and Tyler Worley, 5.16 seconds, $3,000
3. Hagen Peterson and Dylin Ahlstrom, 5.30 seconds, $2,000
4. Hayes Smith and Cullen Teller, 5.31 seconds, $1,000
Resistol Reno Open Round Four:
1. Brenten Hall and Chase Tryan, 4.86 seconds, $5,000
2. Brooks Dahozy and JR Gonzalez, 5.12 seconds, $3,000
3. Coy Rahlmann and Douglas RIch, 5.28 seconds, $2,000
4. Cury Kirchner and Reagan Ward, 5.36 seconds, $1,000
Resistol Reno Open Round Five:
1. Hayes Smith and Cullen Teller, 4.73 seconds, $5,000
2. Coy Rahlmann and Douglas Rich, 5.22 seconds, $3,000
3. Josh Torres and Jonathan Torres, 5.31 seconds, $2,000
4. Manny Egusquiza and Walt Woodard, 5.34 seconds, $1,000