Montana's Kal Fuller and Oklahoma's Reagan Ward took home the biggest check in Bob Feist Invitational history—$150,000—in the event's first showing at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Oklahoma June 21.
"I'm speechless," Fuller said. "All I can say is thank you Lord. Winning it with one of your best friends, and having your people with you, that's the exciting part for me. Winning it is cool, but when you do it with your friends is even better."
Fuller, just 20 years old, and Ward, who will turn 33 June 22, won the roping from fourth callback after roping winning the short round (and another $5,000) in 6.04 seconds to be 46.89 on the roping's grueling six head.
"I was sitting with my little brother (Andrew)," Ward said of watching the top three teams fail to best their average time. "I'd have been pumped for fourth. I never thought we'd win it actually with all of those good teams. We won it by a tenth maybe. High call had to be 8.2 and they were 8.3. And we don't rope against those guys. We do the best we can do on what we draw. You'd be a miserable sucker if you root bad on anybody else. We put a good run on them, and it would be tough for a couple teams. But all of those guys are capable. I thought maybe third, but I was pumped for fourth. Now I'm really pumped."
"I was in shock," Fuller added. "I didn't think we'd win it. I thought third or fourth. Then I really started to pay attention, and it worked out."
Fuller and Ward got by a late start on their first steer, but that fit into Fuller's plan for the day.
"I wanted to be late and get a feel for it and get the nerves out," Fuller said. "The steer run real hard, run straight and I got it on him. Reagan heeled him good and we were 8.9."
Ward, from just down the road in Edmond, Oklahoma, bobbled his dally on their second steer, and made a solid run on their third steer before Fuller almost lost his rope on their fourth one.
"It made me sick," Fuller said. "I think I missed it once or twice and ended up getting it and Reagan heeled him fast and took care of us."
Ward knew their fifth steer, and had seen him take another team out of the roping. But by the time they got to him, he'd slowed down.
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"The fifth steer, it's harder to catch that one (than the short round steer) because you know where you're sitting in the roping and you know you have a chance," Fuller said. "But Brandon told me to just go catch him and ride my horse, so I did."
This is the first season that Fuller, who was the 2019 Resistol Rookie of the Year on the head side, and Ward, who has roped throughout his seven-year PRCA career with his brother Andrew, have roped together. Fuller is currently 13th in the PRCA world standings with $18,872.73 won, while Ward is 19th with $14,760.00 on the year.
Fuller rode a blaze-faced 13-year-old sorrel gelding he calls Marshall for the win, the same horse he's spent the last three years of his career aboard.
"I got him from Nick Pullara in 2017—somewhere around there," Fuller said. "That horse has made me so much of a better roper. If it wasn't for that horse I wouldn't be where I am today. I never rode a horse like him. He's good to be around. Scores good. Finishes good. One thing I do like about that horse, when you drop your hand he gives you 100% every time."
Ward, for his part, was on a 12-year-old horse named Sugar Daddy with another major long-score win to his name
"I actually bought mine last year from Kollin VonAhn. He won Cheyenne with (Brandon) Webb on that horse. I was going to jackpot on him, and he was my third string. Well, both of my other ones got hurt. My first rodeo was Reno on him, and it was definitely a struggle for sure last year. He was a different style, and the way me and Kollin rope is different. Today I felt like he did an awesome job. He's got two major titles, and Cheyenne championship and this now. He's really, really fast."
This year's BFI paid out some $679,000 across its five long rounds, short round and average. TRJ
Complete results from the 2020 Bob Feist Invitational:
First Round: 1. Cody Snow and Junior Nogueira, 7.04 seconds, $8,000; 2. Austin Crist and TJ Watts, 7.10, $6,000; 3. Casey Hicks and Steve Orth; Colby Lovell and Paul Eaves, 7.24 each; $3,000 each.
Second Round: 1. Justin Johnson and Cole Curry, 5.85 seconds, $8,000; 2. Aaron Macy and Jason Johe, 5.95, $6,000; 3. Rhen Richard and Jeremy Buhler, 6.09, $4,000; 4. Wyatt Imus and Joseph Harrison, 6.6, $2,000.
Third Round: 1. Brooks Dahozy and Brandon Bates, 5.30 seconds, $8,000; 2. Cole Morgan and Jett Hillman, 5.95, $6,000; 3. Colby Lovell and Paul Eaves, 6.06, $4,000; 4. Riley Minor and Brady Minor, 6.08, $2,000.
Fourth Round: 1. Cory Clark and Wyatt Cox, 4.65 seconds, $8,000; 2. Clay Tryan and Jake Long, 5.24, $6,000; 3. Clay Smith and Jade Corkill, 5.31, $4,000; 4. Dustin Egusquiza and Travis Graves, 5.58, $2,000.
Fifth Round: 1. Cory Kidd and Clay Futrell, 5.15 seconds, $8,000; 2. Clay Smith and Jade Corkill, 5.67, $6,000; 3. Riley Minor and Brady Minor, 5.83, $4,000; 4. Jake Barnes and Rich Skelton, 5.85, $2,000.
Wrangler/Priefert Short Round: 1. Kal Fuller and Reagan Ward, 6.04, $5,000; 2. Chris Francis and Cade Passig, 6.33, $3,000; 3. Casey Hicks and Steve Orth, 7.11, $2,000; 4. Andrew Ward and Buddy Hawkins, 7.13, $1,000.
Aggregate: 1. Kal Fuller and Reagan Ward, 46.89 seconds on six, $150,000; 2. Pace Freed and Cole Wilson, 46.96, $100,000; 3. Paul D. Tierney and Matt Kasner, 49.46, $74,000; 4. Andrew Ward and Buddy Hawkins, 49.92, $54,000; 5. Tyler Wade and Billie Jack Saebens, 50.67, $41,000; 6. Casey Hicks and Steve Orth, 50.79, $30,000; 7. Chris Francis and Cade Passig, 51.37, $24,000; 8. Matt Sherwood and Trey Yates, 51.63, $16,000; 9. Cody Snow and Junior Nogueira, 52.47, $14,000; 10. Derrick Begay and Ty Romo, 52.66, $13,000; 11. Riley Minor and Brady Minor 54.07, $12,000; 12. Trey Blackmore and Kory Bramwell, 61.16, $11,000; 13. Tate Kirchenschlager and Ross Ashford, 41.16 on five, $10,000; 14. Lane Ivy and Dillon Wingereid, 41.39, $9,500; 15. Jr Dees and Cody Cowden, 44.87, $9,500.