Sally Ball, originally of Max Meadows, Virginia, moved to Texas to further her education. In the process, the animal science major at Tarleton State is getting Masters-level instruction in the arena too, and at JX2 Productions 17TH Annual Wrangler National Team Roping League Finals in Jacksonville, Florida, Ball’s schooling paid dividends. By virtue of nominating and winning at the Division 3 team roping qualifier on January 29 at the JX2 roping, Ball punched her ticket to the Women’s Rodeo World Championships (WRWC), May 16-18, 2022, in Fort Worth, Texas, at Cowtown Coliseum.
Ball finished second in the World Champions Rodeo Alliance All-Girl Roping average with header Ryleigh Parker to earn $2,650 plus another $320 in WCRA Fast Cash as the highest finishing Challenger who nominated.
“Me and my sister Sydney, who heads for me, made the trip from Texas to Florida just to rope in the All-Girl,” said Ball. “We go to all of John Johnson’s JX2 ropings because they pay really well, and he always has good cattle. They are great ropings, and I definitely wanted to make sure I nominated and got points.”
Ball, who turned 21 in Las Vegas, Nevada, while competing at the 2021 WRWC, has made it a goal to use the VRQ nomination process to her advantage. The Ball sisters are both intent on gunning for a portion of the $750,000 payout, which is the largest women’s rodeo payout of the year, in Fort Worth.
“There are not very many opportunities like what you have at the WRWC and WCRA,” she acknowledged, “especially for that kind of money available to women team ropers. The fact that they have equal money for the ladies in the roping, it’s definitely something we want to be a part of.”
Ball, who ranks first in the W22 Challenger Standings in the heeling with 2,817.25 points, says that moving to Glen Rose, Texas for college helped transform her roping.
“My roping has advanced a lot in the past year; I’ve had a lot of good opportunities,” she said. “It was last year at the same JX2 Roping in Florida that my sister and I met Mike and Hannah White, and Mike has helped me a lot with my roping. They invited us if we ever wanted to come out to Texas to come stay and rope. So, we took them up on that and now we stay at Kevin Stewart’s place and every day we get to rope, which is awesome. Kevin gives lessons so there are always people roping and chances to get help.”
Ball, who exclusively team ropes, says she loves what the WRWC offers and wants to be sure she’s a part of the most lucrative women’s rodeo event on the scene. She aspires to become a high-numbered roper like fellow WRWC qualifiers and W22 Pro Standings leaders, header Beverly Robbins and heeler Jessy Remsburg, both of whom she credits as helpful mentors.
“I’m thankful for a lot of people for sure,” said Ball, adding that her equine partner Pancho has helped her get to the next level.
“He’s 6 this year,” she said. “I bought him a little over a year ago from Blake Walker in North Carolina. He makes my job easy and I’m thankful to have him. He’s a great horse for me. I got him when he was pretty young, and I feel fortunate that he’s come on for me the way he has and that he’s real forgiving.”
Ball says that she and her sister were first turned on to the opportunities the WCRA organizers were formulating with WRWC by JX2 promoter John Johnson.
“John told us about it two years ago and me and my sister were like, yeah, we’ve gotta do that,” Ball said. “We’re really thankful for what they’re doing with the WRWC. It’s cool and crazy to think about how awesome it is to have a chance at being a world champion and winning that kind of money.”
Qualifier Series Events (QSE) like the one in Jacksonville are held leading up to the 2022 WRWC to give athletes who nominate via the VRQ a chance to compete for one of the most lucrative and widely viewed network television events in rodeo history—and most definitely in the history of women’s rodeo. The generic qualification is given in the average round of the event to the highest placing athlete in the Pro and Challenger competition. If the event does not have an average, then the qualification will be given based on the round that determines the overall event winner. According to WRWC criteria, ladies qualify to compete as Challenger Team Ropers if they are rated at or below a #4.5 Header or a #4.5 Heeler in the Global Handicaps System or Rope Metrics classification systems.
A record 2.3 million viewers tuned in to the 2021 WRWC when it was held in Las Vegas, and the Fort Worth installment aims to bring women rodeo athletes into that many homes or more in 2022. For more information on the WRWC visit https://wrwc.rodeo or https://wcrarodeo.com.