New Mexico’s Korbin Rice and Texas’ Zant Paul Lewis won the Yeti Open Junior NFR after roping four head in 26.40 seconds, worth $14,700.
“I roped in the #13 this morning and me and him (Lewis) actually won fast time and that was about it,” Rice said. “It wasn’t all that great until now.”
“Just another normal day at a team roping except this one is a big one,” Lewis added.
Both Rice and Lewis are entered up this week so winning this big of a paycheck helped pull them into the black early in the week of roping at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds in Oklahoma City.
“I have lots of money in it this week,” Rice said. “I just got a new head horse that I was riding today and it will help a lot.”
“It feels good,” Lewis said. “I was needing it. I have a lot of money in it this weekend.”
The young guns came into the short round in the number-one position with a fast time of 18.78 on three head and had plenty of time to rope to hang onto the winning spot. But, the short round was one for the books with headers reaching and heelers heeling two feet over their horses necks.
“When ever they started knocking them down in 4, I thought that it might get a little tough, but it’s no fun if it’s not,” Rice said.
“I just knew that we were going to have to go knock one more down,” Lewis said. “We were 18 on three so we had four seconds on them all. All we really had to do was make a good run in the short round and get paid. When they said we just had to be 10 I knew I just had to go get him caught and rope two feet.”
Rice and Lewis almost missed the chance to rope, but thanks to some confusion, the fateful paring came together.
“Everybody thought that it was enter three times at first,” Rice said. “A bunch of people had already sent their entries in and I hadn’t yet—I’m just kind of a last minute guy. Both of my other heelers had already had their headers send their entries in, so I couldn’t rope with my usual runs.”
Rice recently bought his sorrel who helped him with his snappy head loops.
“I bought him from Sloan Hendley,” Rice said. “He’s only 9-years-old. This is the first roping that I’ve ever taken him to. He works outstanding—he’s easy and flat. He just lets me do whatever I want to do.”
Lewis was on a horse that’s familiar with winning.
“His name is Mack,” Lewis said. “He’s 14-years-old. I got him from Randy Lewis. He won probably $300,000 on him at the World Series Finale. Ever since I bought that horse, I think he wins for me sometimes. He’s just a winner.”