Round Rock, Arizona's World Champion Header Erich Rogers will rope with Granbury, Texas' rookie Paden Bray in 2019, with hopes of getting Bray to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in his rookie campaign.
Their new partnership was on display at the Cinch Timed Event Championship, where Rogers won third and $15,000 for their efforts.
"He's a young heeler, and has all the talent and ability to do it," Rogers said. "He's got two good heel horses going down the road. I want to help him win the Resistol Rookie of the Year and get his first qualification to the NFR as a rookie."
Rogers and Bray made the decision to rope together just days before the Cinch Timed Event Championship, where Bray helped Rogers win third place and $15,000. But they've known each other far longer than that.
"He's stayed at my house ever since I was 11 years old," Bray said. "I have come up here and helped him at the Timed Event every year. I was sure glad he asked me. It's crazy how good an opportunity I have this year. I'm very, very grateful for it."
Roping as occasional second partners this winter, Rogers and Bray have won nearly $13,000 between the Lone Star Shootout and an open jackpot at San Angelo.
"I'm just trying to take it one steer at a time," Bray said. "My job is to rope two feet. Everybody says—well I've never been out there, I've just been home amateur rodeoing—but everybody says the amount of steers he spins out there for money is ridiculous. I just want to catch some steers and I'll be all right."
Bray roped at the National Western (Denver) Qualifier this December with last year's Resistol Rookie of the Year in the All-Around, Tanner Green, and won fifth in the first round with a 5.4-second run. Green and Bray also won the Los Fresnos (Texas) Rodeo with a 5.9.
Bray, an online student at Cisco University in Cisco, Texas, filled his permit in 2018 and bought his card last November. He's won a couple thousand in unofficial PRCA earnings already this year, and is ready to start his rookie campaign this spring. Despite his rodeo schedule, Bray plans to continue his education at Tarleton State University through online courses next fall. Bray and college rodeo partner Grady Quam are currently winning their region.
Rogers qualified for last year's Wrangler National Finals Rodeo with Clint Summers, where they won $48,288 each and finished seventh in the average. Summers has not yet decided with whom he'll rope in 2019. TRJ