The first chapter of an 18-year run of second-to-none Northwest cowboy hospitality came to a close August 28 when Scott and Jo Repp hosted the last roping at their WestStar Arena in conjunction with the Ellensburg Rodeo. Clay Tryan and Jade Corkill were 36.92 on five steers to win the WestStar Open and $21,500 a man, including the short-round W. All the open ropers are grateful for an opportunity like this—which has paid out more than $1 million over the years, and each year comes complete with added money and no cattle charge. But the love the team ropers have for these people goes way beyond their gratitude for an impressive payoff and fancy prizes.
“Scott and Jo are two of the nicest people I’ve ever met—maybe the nicest,” Tryan said. “They have a beautiful place, they put on a great roping and their hospitality has been unbelievable. It costs them money to have us all there and do what they do. They just do it to be nice. I started staying at their place in 2005, and it’s been my Northwest home ever since. They have a huge pasture, and it looks like a rodeo grounds out there.
“This was the third time I won the roping. I won it with Patrick (Smith) once and Jade twice, and have placed a lot at it over the years, too. It started when I was just starting to rodeo, and they just grew it year after year. It’s hard work putting on good ropings, and they do a great job. I sure thank Scott and Jo for all they’ve done all these years. They’ve become close friends of mine, and I’ve ended up spending about a tenth of my year at their place year after year. The Repps are like family to me, and I’m far from the only one who feels that way.”
Corkill, who like Tryan is a three-time world team roping titlist, concurs.
“Scott and Jo are two of the most selfless people I’ve ever met,” Jade said. “They are the example we all should follow. They open their place to non-stop team roping traffic for more than a month in September. I talk to them quite a bit throughout the year, and I hope they know how much I, along with many others, appreciate them. The roping they’ve put on all these years has grown to be one of the best ones we have. The pro/am paid $10,000. That’s unheard of. You need to listen when some people talk. The Repps are those people.”
Justin McKee subbed in behind the Ellensburg Rodeo microphone for late announcer Phil Gardenhire after his untimely passing in 1999, and has served as the rodeo’s emcee ever since.
“The year after I first filled in for Phil, I received a hand-written note from Scott Repp inviting me to come rope and stay at their place,” McKee remembers well. “I went and stayed out there, and have been there ever since. Speed Williams, Steve Purcella and Britt Bockius stayed out there, too, and came up with the idea for the roping. Guys like Keven Daniel, Kory Koontz and Cole Davison have stepped up over the years since Speed, Steve and Britt quit going.
“Scott shuts his pasture down for six weeks, so 50 rigs of team ropers can camp there, and road-foundered cowboys can turn their horses out and relax a little. There are electrical hookups, steers, people eat and play pickle ball. Scott and Jo have cooked countless meals in their house for team ropers. They provide hay and feed. They put a shower room and a washer and dryer in at the barn, so guys could get themselves and their clothes clean while hanging out in that beautiful spot. Packages arrive there every day, because it’s a place guys can get their mail during that time.
“Ninety percent of the team ropers stay there for six weeks every fall these last 20 years. Scott and Jo are the most kind, giving, unselfish, loving people I’ve ever met. They’ve made a lot of people’s lives better, and I’m inspired by them in a big way. The Repps are the finest people I know. Period.”
Williams has a lot of fond memories from the falls of his glory days spent up in Repp country.
“That was my home in the Northwest,” Speed said. “Scott and Jo treated me like family. We pulled in there and made ourselves at home. They opened their gate and their home to a lot of cowboys. When you’re out there rodeoing, it’s hard to find places where you can really relax. The Repps made us all feel right at home.”
Clay O’Brien Cooper is another rodeo royal with a happy heart for the Repps. Champ and fellow Dream Teamer Jake Barnes actually won the first-ever WestStar Open, and Cooper came back and won it again in 2018 heeling for Logan Olson.
“There are a lot of awesome people along the rodeo trail who go out of their way to help the rodeo cowboys by giving us a place to stay, keep our horses and rope,” Cooper said. “For years and years, the Repps have been a family that caters to cowboys in every possible way. They put on a good roping, they feed everybody and they just make us all feel welcome. Their place is the perfect setting, and they’ve gone out of their way to take us all in.”
What’s their motivation for going to the trouble it takes to roll out the red carpet to so many cowboys?
“Scott was on the Ellensburg Rodeo Board for 20 years, and discovered early on that it’s really tough on these contestants to go from rodeo to rodeo, especially later in the season,” Jo said. “If they aren’t ranked really high with lots of good sponsors, they struggle financially. It’s a tough life, and these guys who’ve become our friends need a place to stay.”
Ninety of the top 100 team ropers in the world were entered in this year’s WestStar Open, which moving forward will be run by four of the Repps’ friends at a different location. McKee has won the WestStar Pro/Am roping twice. But he’d much rather brag on the Repps.
“Scott came up with the concept for the Gold Buckle Club, which is now located at the end of the arena at the Ellensburg Rodeo,” McKee said. “It’s funded by contributors, which in turn helps the rodeo increase its added money, so is yet another way these people directly help cowboys. Scott and Jo Repp are simply the sharpest, most giving people ever.”