The Texas Panhandle town of Hereford hosted the country's top ropers and sweltering heat the first weekend in August for the annual Spicer Gripp Memorial Roping.
In addition to professional showdowns in team roping, calf roping and steer roping, a pro-am team roping, dummy roping, beef carcass contest, BBQ cook-off and dances were held in memory of Spicer Gripp, a man cherished by the agricultural and rodeo communities of the cow town. He was remembered not only for his dedication to the sport of roping, but also his encouragement of the area's youth in their agricultural and academic endeavors. In fact, the goal of the weekend was to raise money for the Spicer Gripp Memorial Youth Foundation, which provides West Texas A&M Ag and Rodeo Scholarships. Nearly $60,000 was raised this year for the program.
The open team ropers took the arena by storm in the Whiteface Ford Open Team Roping. Forty-two teams competed for over $80,000. Two places were paid in each of the first two full go rounds; first paid $1,200 a man, and second paid $600 a man.
Turtle Powell and Travis Graves won the first round with a time of 6.62. The second place check was presented to Justin Yost and Jory Levy for their 6.86-second time. Ropers stepped it up a notch in the second round, but nothing could stop Turtle Powell and Travis Graves from clinching another first place in the go round with a 5.69. Billy Stephens and Jaytin McCright received second in the round for a time of 6.36 seconds. The fastest time in the first five rounds was a 4.98 second gem from JoJo LeMond and Martin Lucero.
The short round was a tough one. Chad Masters and Jade Corkill not only won the short-go fast time with a 5.42, but also won the roping by a mere 0.2 seconds. They were 42.42 seconds on six head, which earned them $14,160 apiece. Turtle Powell and Travis Graves each took home a second place average check for $10,620. Matt Tyler and Rich Skelton were 48.50 on six head, placing third and earning $7,080 each. Fourth went to Justin Yost and Jory Levy for their 49.29 seconds of work. They received $3,540 each for their efforts.
The Alltel Calf Roping on Saturday attracted some of the best ropers in the business. Four places were paid in each of the three full go rounds. The first round was won by Shay Good, who tied his calf in 9.96 seconds. Times got tougher in the second round. Stran Smith showed his remarkable capabilities, winning the second round with a 9.32. The third round was even more challenging. First went to Cody Ohl, who tied his calf in 7.86 seconds.
In addition to paying four places in each round, the Spicer Gripp calf roping paid four places in the short go. Fast time in the short go paid $1,563 and went to last year's champion, Adam Gray, with a time of 7.94 seconds.
The champion calf roper of this year's Spicer Gripp Memorial Roping was Cody Ohl. Ohl tied his four calves in a total of 37.06 seconds. He was presented with a check for $6,254. Adam Gray's 39.73 seconds worth of work earned him a second place check of $4,691. Scott Kormos placed third, receiving $3,127. Scott's total on four was 40.01 seconds. $1,565 was paid to Justin Maas for his 41.89 seconds of effort on four.
Jarrett Blessing won the BJM Sales and Service Steer Roping by tying four steers in 56.64 seconds. He won $4,364.
Travis Eldridge and Cory Petska roped three steers in 30.09 to win the header half of the pro-am, while Colter Todd and Zeb Read roped three in 37.77 to win the heeler half.