The roar of the crowd inside the American Bank Center at Rodeo Corpus Christi (RCC) for Quisto Lopez and Daniel Braman on Friday night, May 13, was huge and for a couple of really good reasons.
For one, their time of 3.96 seconds was the fastest time of the entire rodeo, taking the lead in what was already the saltiest performance of team roping thus far.
But on top of that, Lopez and Braman are hometown cowboys, hailing from Beeville and Refugio, respectively, both within about thirty minutes of Corpus.
“I’ve grown up here and competed at Buc Days several times in the past,” Lopez said. In fact, Lopez won second here a couple of years ago and Braman made the Showdown Round last year while roping with Bubba Buckaloo.
Both men have their sights on winning a title here at the World Champions Rodeo Alliance (WCRA) Triple Crown of Rodeo event and have advanced to the Showdown Round set for Saturday, May 14. The top two from each performance of the Progressive Round moved on; Ric LeBlanc and Jed Sibley also advanced Friday with their run of 4.03 seconds.
Lopez and Braman actually drew up as a team for Rodeo Corpus Christi (RCC) but have often roped together over the years.
“I’ve known him since we were kids,” Lopez, 31, said. “We’ve roped together a lot as second partners. If our other partners don’t show up, we always link up.”
“I’ve known Quisto a long time,” Braman, 25, said. “He ropes really good.”
After two nights with few qualified runs, Friday the 13th seemed lucky for the team ropers as only one team failed to stop the clock and five were five seconds or better.
But none were better than Lopez and Braman.
“We knew that steer, my buddy Wyatt Bray ran him in the first round out at Robstown in the Qualifier the other day,” Braman said. “We weren’t really planning to go that fast but it set up right and just happened that way.”
“My header did a great job and I just tried to clean it up on the backside.”
For Lopez, it was a bit of a gut check moment when he saw the draw.
“Honestly I didn’t feel that confident. I’d seen that steer twice the other day and he was low-headed,” Lopez said. Lopez noted that he’d had a good chance at the PRCA’s RodeoAustin in the finals but waived one off a similar steer. “I was a little down on myself when I realized this steer had that same head trick.”
A little mental shake got things back on track.
“I decided just to do my best not to make the same mistake,” he said. “I just tried to do what was natural and Daniel’s an outstanding partner so I needed to give him a chance.”
Lopez and Braman have a lot in common besides growing up together and riding matching palomino horses. Both are new dads.
Lopez has a year old son named Quisten with his wife Cheyenne while Braman’s daughter Scarlett is nine months old.
Both ropers also say their horsepower right now is the best they’ve had.
“I call him Manny because I bought him from Manny Egusquiza,” Lopez laughed.
Lopez says he tried to sell the horse a few times and was offered a lot of money but every time ended up a no sale when Cheyenne threatened that he’d be looking for a new home if he sold Manny.
“She said she’d kick me out and so if I ever do sell him, I’ll have to get enough to buy a new house to live in!”
“He’s so laid back and easy. He’s the fastest horse I’ve owned and it doesn’t matter if it’s over a long score like Cheyenne or right there over the chutes like tonight, he does his job.”
Braman nicknamed his yellow gelding Pac-Man after the video game.
“I bought him a little under a year ago from a guy named Steven Stewart,” he said of the eight-year-old gelding. “He’s the best one I’ve ever had.”
Lopez has been having a great season roping with his first partner, Cody Thornton; the team is ranked inside the top 10 in the Texas ProRodeo Circuit and top four in the Cowboys Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA). Lopez wanted to rope at his hometown rodeo but Thornton was busy this weekend.
“He got married and he’s on his honeymoon,” Lopez said who noted he won one of his final events to earn just enough points to qualify.
Now, the hometown team has a shot to win the title if they can put together two fast runs on Saturday night. Everyone will rope one in the Showdown Round with the top three to immediately follow in the Triple Crown Round. Both rounds are sudden death and the final round winners get $15,000 and a Rodeo Corpus Christi surfboard.
Neither has plans to try out the latter.
“I don’t know if I’m coordinated enough to surf,” Braman admitted with a laugh. “I’d sure hang it on the wall.”
“I lived my entire life on the coast and I did a little boogie boarding when I was little, but I was a ranch kid,” Lopez said. “I grew up on the lake or the river.”
That doesn’t mean earning that surfboard wouldn’t be very special for Lopez. In fact, winning this rodeo would mean the world to him.
“Hamman Excavating has sponsored the team roping here for a long time,” he explained. “It’s a big construction company that was owned by my best friend Bobby Pullin who passed away a couple of years ago.”
Pullin’s wife and family took over the business and still support the rodeo. In fact, they were on hand to cheer on Lopez on Friday night.
“Seeing them tonight was special for me and I’d like to win this for him,” Lopez said.
To get the win, both Lopez and Braman say they need to just duplicate their run from tonight.
“Same as today, do the best we can on the steer we draw and see what happens,” Braman said.
“There are a lot of fast guys out tomorrow . . . the World Champs [Driggers and Nogueira] are up,” Lopez said, saying that just reacting without thinking too much is key. “I don’t think it’s a situation where you have to try to throw from the box, just see our draw and set a game plan with my partner.”
“Score sharp—my horse is amazing and does everything for me,” Lopez continued. “Give my partner the best shot I can and leave it in God’s hands.”
Friday, May 13, 2022 Results
1. Quisto Lopez/Daniel Braman, 3.96 seconds, $1,600 each*
2. Ric LeBlanc/Jed Sibley, 4.03 seconds, $1,200*
3. Clint Summers/Ross Ashford, 4.71 seconds, $800
4. Brit Ellerman/Rich Skelton & Manny Egusquiza/Tyler McKnight, 5.28 seconds, $200 each
5. Guy Raasch/Carson Sonnier, 7.00 seconds
6. Tanner Green/Tyler Domingue, 10.58 seconds
7. Blaine Burleson/Bronc Kothmann, 11.20 seconds
*Top 2 Advance to Showdown Round
Showdown Round Qualifiers
Kaleb Driggers/Junior Nogueira, Stephenville, TX — #1 Seed
Garrett Elmore, Springer, OK/Justin de la Garza, Freer, TX
Conley Kleinhans, Montague, TX/Bray Fenogilio, Nocona, TX (DY)
Tee Luttrell, Choudrant, LA/Joe Mattern, Plantersville, TX
Zachary Kilgus, Stephenville, TX/Jake Edwards, Fort Ann, NY
Quisto Lopez, Beeville, TX/Daniel Braman, Refugio, TX
Ric LeBlanc, Walker, LA/Jed Sibley, Denham Springs, LA