Hot off a win with Cory Petska in the Open at Rancho Rio during Las Vegas in Wickenburg, Arizona, Kaleb Driggers, of Stephenville, Texas, headed south to San Antonio to team up with Billie Jack Saebens, of Nowata, Oklahoma, in the Gold Buckle Beer Open at the first of three WSTR Mega Qualifiers. Driggers and Saebens set out against the pack in the Rose Palace on Thursday, with their eye on the $5,000 added by Mathews Land and Cattle Co. and Resistol.
Driggers and Saebens came back third high call and, with a total time of 33.88 seconds on five head, they picked up $21,440.
“I wanted to press a little in the short round and see if we could move up a couple spots and possibly win the roping,” Driggers said. “We were a second behind, but the steers were really good, so I didn’t feel like it was a big gamble. I got a great start, and it allowed the run to come together fast. Naturally, if it had not worked, I would have been upset with myself for that plan, but that’s what I went with.”
“Kaleb was really aggressive,” Saebens added. “We just had to be 7.5, which is a pretty easy run to guarantee 5-grand. He brought the heat and I just caught him. He didn’t do anything crazy. It was a good roping.”
Saebens rode DT Sugar Chex Whiz, his 2019 AQHA Horse of Year and the same horse he rode to win the Gold Buckle Beer Open at the 2019 Ariat WSTR Finale in Las Vegas with Bubba Buckaloo—who he’ll be roping with at the 2021 ProRodeos. Driggers will be backing in the box on the rodeo trail with Wesley Thorp.
"These Mega-Qualifiers are building steam as we go," said Chris Francis, producer for Mathews Land & Cattle. "A lot of people have been excited they had somewhere to go and get to rope for good money close to home. People have received it pretty well. They told me yesterday somebody from Nebraska is here, so we're grateful people are coming to rope with us. The $2,500 added from Resistol and $2,500 from Oren Mathews made a big difference for the Open guys, and everyone appreciated that. The Rose Palace was really, really accommodating. I called them and said I need to have a roping there next week, and they just said 'Okay.' That doesn't happen very often." TRJ
Gold Buckle Beer Open
San Antonio, Texas
Thursday, Dec. 3
Mathews Land & Cattle
1st in Avg. – 33.88 seconds on 5, Kaleb Driggers & Billie Jack Saebens $21,440
2nd in Avg. – 36.16 seconds on 5, Tanner Tomlinson & Patrick Smith $16,080
3rd in Avg. – 38.07 seconds on 5, Manny Egusquiza & Lane Mitchell $10,720
4th in Avg. – 38.88 seconds on 5, Coy Rahlmann & Brady Norman $5,360
Fast Time SGO
1st – 6.46 seconds, Brandon Webb & Kollin VonAhn $1,000