Ben Brown knew he shouldn’t go to the Resistol #11 Super Qualifier in Salado, Texas, on Labor Day weekend. His wife’s car was broken down and in need of repairs, it was opening weekend of dove season, his regular partner had lost a finger a few weeks prior and couldn’t rope yet and his only head rope had already seen some 60 runs. Nevertheless, he hitched up, threw his trusty “Diablo” in the trailer and made the three-hour drive from Tioga.
“I did like all cowboys do,” Brown laughed. “Just go on and go to the roping.”
Still needing a second run, Brown unexpectedly partnered with Larry Renfroe of nearby Aubrey, Texas. The two were former acquaintances, but had never backed in the box together. Despite all odds, the stars in the Lone Star state seemingly aligned for Brown from the moment he scribbled their names on the entry blank.
With clean runs on their first three steers, including a fast time in round one, Brown and Renfroe came back high call and all but had to stop the clock to win it. Brown put it on him fast, and even with a leg penalty their combined 37.07 was nearly three and half seconds faster than Josh Palmer’s and Trent Spivey’s 40.43 on four.
“I guess we just clicked that day,” Brown said of the $15,600 win he split with Renfroe. In addition to the cash they also took home Resistol Saddles by Cactus Saddlery and Black Gold Resistol hats.
With a ‘W’ in the bag, Brown was ready to head to the hunting lease with his wife, Casie (an avid bow hunter), but his second Salado partner, Ryan Rouse, convinced him he should push that back and enter Shelley Productions’ #11 Super Qualifier in Hamilton the following day.
“He finally talked me into it,” he said. “We went over there that morning and left that evening. I roped in that one roping, that was it.”
He didn’t just rope, Brown and Rouse came from third high call to split $23,940 and win against the 349-team lot of the 2,514 total teams that roped in Hamilton over Labor Day weekend.
Brown had left home on Saturday with his one faithful head rope and by Sunday afternoon was $20,970 and two trophy saddles richer. When the World Series Roper got him on the phone a week later, he was still using that same old rope. He may never put it down.
“I’m telling you, it’s a freakish deal,” Brown exclaimed. “It was the craziest weekend I’ve ever had in my entire life at any level. I’ve never drawn so many perfect cows in a row. It was a once in a lifetime weekend because I’m certainly not that good.
“The Lord works in mysterious ways,” Brown added. With his earnings, he was able to buy Casie a new car and he’ll definitely be headed to Vegas this December for his very first World Series of Team Roping Finale.
Brown operates his own contracting company, Ben Brown Electric, where he specializes in horse barns and arenas. He and Casie have three daughters, and always supportive of one another’s hobbies, they’re either, “Roping, hunting or cheerleading.”
The win in Salado was equally memorable for Larry Renfroe, who finally won the roping—and his very first trophy saddle—after entering up seven out of the event’s eight years in existence. Coincidently, his father, Bill Carnes (the former National Sales Manager for Resistol) helped friend and fellow Resistol team’s Ricky Bolin start the roping.
“My dad worked there forever. It was on my dad’s birthday and I was also on his horse,” Renfroe explained about the Labor Day victory. “It was pretty dang exciting.”
A former bull rider and rodeo competitor, Renfroe just started team roping about seven years ago. A massive injury ended his rough stock career, but with a wife and young family he was ready to stay home. He and Michelle have two daughters, Ashlyn, 7, and Bryten, 16.
Renfroe currently runs the Diamond T Arena in Denton, Texas, and is the Vice President of 440 Productions, which mainly produces local jackpots and barrel races. An avid barrel racer, his daughter Ashlyn is not thrilled with the fact that her dad has said no more runs on the horse they share until after the World Series Finale. He’s agreed to one exception, to let her run the horse at the 440 Finals, which she qualified for earlier in the year.
They say all good things come back around, and if that’s true, that same little horse Renfroe calls “Rocket” is proof positive. Registered, My Ricochet Rocket, he won the cutting futurity in Reno as a 3-year-old. The horse came from Michael Gaughan, owner of the South Point Hotel & Casino, which, of course, is home to the WSTR Finale and where Rocket will be come December. While father and daughter compete on the gelding, Carnes still has the papers—bringing everything full circle..
If there were any final signs that Brown and Renfroe were destined to win the Resistol #11 Super Qualifier, it’s that they nearly didn’t.
“Ben turned him rather quick. He was giving me plenty of time, which I’m not always good at,” Renfroe recalled. “So I took my first shot and had roped both feet. My slack fell over my horse’s neck, I got it gathered and luckily came out with a leg."
See full results from the Resistol #11 Super Qualifier here.
The Resistol Roping began as a customer appreciation event and over the last eight years has raised funds for multiple organizations including Wounded Warriors and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum and Rodeo Historical Society in Oklahoma City, Okla.
In 2013 Cowboys Who Care—a non-profit 501c3 organization that provides “support, smiles and free cowboy & cowgirl hats to kids with cancer & other life-threatening illnesses”—approached Resistol about donating hats. Resistol agreed to the donation and last year also began donating proceeds from the Resistol Roping to the organization. Super Qualifier winners, Brown and Renfroe, eagerly donated $500 from their earnings.