Texas team ropers Robert Pixley and John Hight were the high call team in the #14.5 WSTR outdoor qualifier but went out with a no-time. Fast forward less than 24 hours later and they were backing in the box at the South Point Arena during the Ariat WSTR Finale XIV AGCO #14.5. This time when the Priefert chute opened $176,000 was on the line and the long-time friends weren’t about to let this one slip away. They came tight on four steers in 27.64 seconds to take the largest share of the first million-dollar divisional payoff of the Finale.
“Every minute that goes by it gets a little more real,” said Pixley who owns and operates Rockin P Utility in Livingston, Texas. “It’s just a huge blessing. We’ve both got families and it blesses them as much as it blesses us.”
Hight, who has a growing family—three kids and a fourth on the way—had originally planned to rope with Tracey Cearley, but when the Montgomery, Texas, cowboy broke his collar bone he had to draw out. In an effort to find the best replacement partner he could, Hight reached out on social media.
“We were at a roping and saw John’s post and my wife asked if she should reply,” explained Pixley, who had won some with Hight in the past. “I told her if we could pay the entry fee go ahead.”
The duo teamed up and made the trek to Las Vegas, but it wasn’t without additional complication.
Pixley’s good horse, a 19-year-old gelding he calls Ace, had been turned out for almost two years due to an injury. When he decided to rope at the Finale, he knew he had to take a chance at bringing him back. Ace went to Champion Fit in Madisonville, Texas, where he ended up lame once again, this time on a different leg.
“They found he had a broken splint bone in a hind leg,” Pixley explained. “We took him to Brazos Valley Equine, and they did surgery. After that he went back to Champion Fit and they did a phenomenal job bringing him back. He’s only four weeks off from that surgery. I was just lucky to have him here.”
Hight, who resides in Carthage, Texas, not far from the Louisiana border, was riding a powerhouse of a horse. The black gelding they affectionately call Fresh Prince is owned by 2019 PRCA Hall of Fame inductee and Champion Team Roper Allen Bach. Bach also owns and operates the roping machine company Smarty, where he recently hired Hight to take the helm as President.
“We’d been praying about finding some additional revenue streams for several months when Allen called out of the blue,” said Hight. “My original partner, the one who broke his collar bone, actually made that connection. It’s an answer to our prayers for sure.”
Smarty endorsee Junior Nogueira was signing autographs at the South Point just before the AGCO #14.5 short-go and decided to stick around for the action.
“It’s pretty cool when you’ve got one of the best guys in the world cheering you on,” said Hight. “I told him afterwards I’d buy him a steak dinner. He just laughed and said I’m going to go win the round tonight and I’ll buy dessert.”
“We didn’t really have a game plan going in,” Hight added about their big win. “We were just going to make our run. If it wins us something it does, and if it doesn’t it doesn’t. I always think the contest is between you and steer, not you and the team in front of you.”