The team at Mathews Land and Cattle is planning for a massive turnout at its San Antonio Ariat World Series of Team Roping Finale qualifier Memorial Day Weekend, with ropers anxious to get back to the arena after the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders expired in many states.
On the heels of a 2,700-team World Series of Team Roping Finale qualifier in Ardmore, Oklahoma May 1-3, producer Chris Francis is hoping for 3,000 teams in San Antonio, as the first major WSTR qualifier in the state since the quarantine.
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"My phone has been ringing like crazy with ropers wondering if we're still having it," Francis said. "We had to cancel three ropings because of the coronavirus, so we really want this to be good for all of the ropers."
Francis plans to bring 500 head of cattle, including two older sets he and Cade Passig have roped through and kept the cream of the crop.
"Then we have three fresh sets, and I have a guy in Sou Texas that I'm getting a set from that will be really, really good," Francis said. "The guy who runs the Rose Palace is going to put tape on the ground for social distancing and open the heeler side of the grandstands to encourage people to spread out. We want everyone to be safe and smart, but we want to give ropers the chance to rope."
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Francis and crew will haul two or three pickups and four semi trucks full of cattle from their home base in Las Vegas, New Mexico, for the roping. Plus, they'll have two rigs full of chute help coming too, Francis said, so their operation will run as efficiently as ever.
The roping will feature an Open, World Champions Rodeo Alliance-approved event to kick off the weekend, followed by a #15.5 pick/draw and a #13 slide.
The premier roping of the weekend will be the World Series of Team Roping's #10.5 Heartland Finale—always one of the association's biggest events of the year that gives away Cactus Saddles, Cactus Pads and Gist Buckles. In addition to the big-money Finale qualifiers, Mathews Land and Cattle will also have a saddle roping Sunday and Monday. TRJ