Photo by Allen’s Rodeo Photos
Bobby Hurley and Allen Bach didn’t set out to win five rounds in a row on the sixth day of the 1993 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. They were already out of the average, and they did know that their long-shot chance of Hurley winning the world that year would be to win out. But did they really, truly believe it could happen? No.
“For everything to fall like it did, you just don’t expect it,” Hurley remembered. “You go in there against the top 15 teams and you’re hoping to win one round, much less five. That’s something you can’t even fathom. But you’ve got to try or it will never happen.”
“From the time we won two go-rounds in a row—I don’t care if you’re the guy doing it or the guy next to you—you think ‘There’s no way you can do that again,’” Bach added. “Then we won three in a row.”
Bach rode his great horse Rickey, who had been ridden to a gold buckle by Clay O’Brien Cooper, too. Bach quickly credited Spiff, Hurley’s 1993 AQHA/PRCA Head Horse of the Year, as the key to the five-round run.
“He was so strong and Bobby would reach and stick it on ‘em, and he just pulled them steer’s legs together and got them opened up and ready to heel fast,” Bach said. “We didn’t just catch five steers, we had a run going because of Bobby and Spiff.”
Spiff didn’t struggle with the fresh, just-off-the-feedlot cattle of team roping’s earlier years. While the big, wild steers dragged some head horses down the arena, Hurley said, Spiff let Hurley and Bach rope consistently in the high-4- to low-5-second range.
The team got faster and faster each round, and finally, before the 10th round, Hurley realized what they were on the cusp of.
While Bach wasn’t in contention for the title himself, he perhaps felt more pressure than Hurley.
“I remember coming down to it, not only did we have to catch the last one, we literally had to win the go-round to win the world,” Bach said. “I remember shrugging our shoulders, like if anyone had a good chance to win the day money, I guess it would have been us. I was super proud of Bobby being able to have ice water in his veins and not change a thing and do it all over again. It was one of the greatest feelings for me, to help your buddy win the world. You know if you take an extra swing it’s over. The pressure was definitely on me to not drop the ball for him.”
After they roped their last steer to clinch the title for Hurley, Bach pulled a $50 bill from his wallet—one he’d been carrying in there all week. Hurley, at the time the superstitious type who always believed in not carrying money on him when he roped, couldn’t believe that Bach had taken the risk of carrying the bill.
The duo won the world together in 1995. The late Mike Cervi Jr. bought the great head horse, Spiff, and was rodeoing on the horse when he died in a plane crash in 2001. After Cervi’s death, his wife, Sherry, rode Spiff in the grand entry at the WNFR a few years.
“Of course he knew his way around that arena so she didn’t have to train one to go to the grand entry,” Hurley said.