big weekend

Luke Brown and Travis Graves Take Home 50th Annual Windy Ryon Memorial Roping
Luke Brown and Travis Graves both have multiple Windy Ryon Memorial Roping titles.
Luke Brown and Travis Graves running down a steer at the 2024 Windy Ryon.
Luke Brown and Travis Graves running down a steer at the 2024 Windy Ryon. | Joe Duty

Luke Brown and Travis Graves kicked off the busy Memorial Day weekend jackpot circuit with the 50th Annual Windy Ryon Memorial Roping win in Saginaw, Texas, May 24, 2024, for $9,904.

Brown and Graves, who have 28 NFR qualifications between the two, roped five steers in 41.22 seconds to conquer the big arena and long score of the Windy Ryon. Though Brown and Graves both have Windy Ryon titles to their names, the win is historic, regardless.

“I’ve been coming here since I was probably 15 years old,” Graves, 40, said. “It’s a pretty historic kind of roping, and every Memorial (Day) weekend this is where you’d go back in the day. Now there’s a few more other ropings, too.”

The win also comes as another title to Brown’s impressive first half of the year. With The American Rodeo title, WCRA Rodeo Corpus Christi win and success at the inaugural Kid Rock’s Rock N Rodeo under his belt, the 49-year-old has some momentum going into the summer.

READ: Luke Brown and Hunter Koch Get $100K a Man for 2024 American Rodeo Team Roping Win

“It feels really good,” Brown said. “I feel like things are finally kind of turning around and going my way. My horses are getting better, my loop feels good, so I’m excited about this summer.”

The famous score them out and run them down nature of the Windy Ryon fits Brown’s style.

“I’m more comfortable when it comes to catching,” Brown admitted. “I love going fast and that’s what I’ve worked on is trying to be a better, faster header. But, like I said, my roots go back to turning steers, and when I get in that situation it seems like my confidence goes up.”

The Rundown

Brown and Graves entered the short round high call, just needing to make a 12-second run or better to take home the win.

“I didn’t know that we were going to have that big of a lead, but when they did call out the short round, it was a relief,” Brown said. “I felt like that was something we could pull off pretty easily; we should be able to do it. But even at that, if we stopped the clock, we were going to get paid, so my job was to get out of the barrier and turn him.” 

They drew a stronger, older steer, and Brown was strategically off the barrier a touch.

READ: Travis Graves Breaks Down Finding That Sure Shot

“Our last steer tried pretty good and was kind of fighting just a little bit,” Graves explained. “I just made sure I caught. I think we ended up being 10-something—got it done.”

With a 10.29, they sealed the deal.

“Travis did a great job of heeling him, that was a superman heel shot right there to make sure he got him down,” Brown said.

Windy Ryon horsepower

Brown rode an 8-year-old buckskin mare he calls Pecos. DDD Miguelssmartbusy was trained by his nephew, and they took it pretty slow on her to start.

“I rodeoed on her some and jackpotted on her quite a bit, and she’s been doing good,” Brown said. “I went slow enough to not try to fry her so that when you are high call and you have to see tail around, she’ll let you do it.”

Graves rode a gelding he calls Night Rider, whom he bought from 2017 NFR qualifier Tyler McKnight.

“I rode him a lot last summer and he got hurt,” Graves explained. “He’s really, really fast, so this deal kind of fits him really good. He makes it pretty easy to be able to get up there and get my shot.”

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