Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira won the United States Team Roping Championships Cinch Jeans National Finals of Team Roping Open and $53,400 by roping five steers in 32.05 seconds, including a 5.54-second short round run.
Nogueira won $50,000 earlier in the day with partner Cooper Hatley in the #15 Shootout.
“I told everybody back there that if I could turn the steers and keep them on their feet, it would be doubles all day,” Driggers said of the way his partner was roping in Oklahoma City Oct. 22.
They came from second callback and bested the high call team of Aaron Tsinigine and Clint Summers by four hundredths of a second in a short round that separated the top four teams by less than two tenths of a second and the top six by two seconds.
“I was curious as to what he was thinking, so I kind of talked to him about it,” Driggers said. “When Zac Small and Trey Yates were 5.4, I knew we’d need to be fast. Then a couple teams were longer, and then Luke and Jake were 5.4. So we decided that if we got the right steer we’d just use him, and if not, we’d go make our run.”
When the flag dropped, both ropers were surprised that they were as fast as the announcer said.
“I thought we were 6-something,” Nogueira admitted of their short-round steer. “I had a shot but it wasn’t very clear, so I took one more to make sure I’d get paid.”
“I was a little late,” Driggers added. “The steer left there, and I try not to run over myself. I knew that horse would give me the chance to catch him fast if I wanted to.”
Driggers rode Russell, a new 17-year-old brown gelding he bought from friend Cody Russell.
“He’s an average, honest, good horse,” Driggers said. “He’s nothing spectacular but he lets me rope and he scores great and lets me win. Both of our horses have the Braddock brand on them.”
Nogueira opted for Green Card, his 10-year-old gelding, after riding Hali, his mare, in the #15.
“I’m riding good,” Nogueira said. “I’m feeling good and I’ve got a lot of confidence.”
1. Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira, 32.05 on five head, $53,400
2. Aaron Tsinigine and Clint Summers, 32.09 on five head, $37,200
3. Luke Brown III and Jake Long, 32.1 seconds on five head, $27,500
4. Zac Small and Trey Yates, 32.24 seconds on five head, $19,400
5. Kellan Johnson and Paden Bray, 34.16 seconds on five head, $14,600
6. Marcus Theriot and Cody Doescher, 34.43 seconds on five head, $9,700