With huge payouts and Finale qualifications on the line, the Ariat World Series of Team Roping Title Fights and Heartland Finale at the Circle T Arena in Hamilton, Texas, paid out a whopping $577,120, plus prizes, in the first event of its kind outside of Arizona.

Borrowing its name from the big February roping at Arizona’s Rancho Rio Arena, Title Fights of the Heartland kicked off with the Gold Buckle Beer Open on Friday, Oct. 23, 2020, hosting some of the top ropers in the country. Tyler Wade of Terrell, Texas, teamed up with Helena, Montana’s Chase Tryan, to make short work of four head, turning in a time of 26.72 to win the roping and $10,300.

The #14.5 Title Fights Roping came down to the short go, and Matt Davis and Scott Wilson did not come into the short go as the high call-back team by accident. They were a 23.08 on three head, needing only a 9-second run to take the lead in the average. They answered the call with a 7.58-second run, giving them a total of 30.66 seconds on four head to clinch the title. This run earned them a payout of $11,220.

The #13.5 Title Fights Roping win went to Wade Blake and Murt Stewart with a time of 33.89 seconds on four head, earning them $13,380. The fourth call-back team of Wade Smith and Cooper Robertson won second, earning $8,030; and the fifth call-back team of Guy Elkins and Hollis Harris won third, earning $5,350.

#12.5 Champs Helton and Tate

#12.5 Champs Helton and Tate

The #12.5 Title Fights Roping went to the duo of Kayelen Helton and Colton Tate with a time of 34.83 seconds on four head, worth $16,780.

“I’ve always wanted to go to the Title Fights in Arizona, so I was excited that the World Series decided to have one in Hamilton,” Helton said. “The boxing gloves that we won are definitely something new for me!”

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The sixth call-back team of Clark Holder and Brock Jones won second with a 37.12 on four head, earning them $11,980. Rounding out the top three was the seventh call-back team of Jimmy Pruit and Josh Smitherman with a 38.46 on four and winning $9,100.

Not only were these top places rewarded by large payouts, but this roping paid through fifth place in the average, as well as a $2,000 check to teams with the fastest time of the short go not placing in the average.

#11.5 Heartland Winners Justin Turner and Seth Schafer

#11.5 Heartland Winners Justin Turner and Seth Schafer

In the #11.5 Heartland Finale, a special-fees roping, the high call-back team of Justin Turner of Noble, Oklahoma, and Seth Schafer of Millsap, Texas, roped four head in 33.73 seconds, worth $30,330, Cactus saddles and Gist buckles. The New Mexico team of Nicky Delgado and Chance Gomez were the fourth high call-back team, but finished with a 36.07, clinching the second-place spot in the average, winning $21,230. The 11th call-back team of Heath Crofford and Brian Warner stepped up in the short go, securing third place in the average and earning $16,180. Chance Hannah and Tee Woolman won fourth place in the average, winning $12,130—which was $2,130 more than Tee and his partner split when they won the 1980 BFI in Chowchilla, California. The roping paid seven places in the average, fast times in each go-round, as well as the fast time in the short go. It also paid four fast times on two head.

#11.5 Heartland winners Turner and Schafer

#11.5 Heartland winners Turner and Schafer

Saturday finished up with the #10.5 Title Fights Roping. The fifth call-back team of Casey Lambert and Scube Waggoner secured the average win with a smoking run of 7.68 seconds in the short go, leading the field with 37.66 on four head. The team pocketed a check for $20,880. The high call team of Stephen Trichle and Juston McBride won second with a 38.69 on four, winning $14,550. Checks were handed out through six places in the average.

In the #9.5 Title Fights, Dawn Murrell and Luke McClymond had a leg in the first round, but rebounded to win the average with a time of 41.35 seconds on four head and earned $23,450. Second in the average was the third call-back team of Pete Garza and Robert Wood with a 42.34, winning them $16,410. The fifth call-back position was the Kaufman, Texas, team of Brad Lands and Kelly Jackson with 42.70 on four to take home $12,500. This roping paid seven places in the average and one fast time in the short go.

The #9.5 Over-40 Heartland Finale is an extremely popular format in other parts of the country, so the World Series of Team Roping wanted to bring it to Texas.

“The Over-40 ropers are some of the association’s best supporters and this roping is an extension of our dedication to them, thanking them for their support over the years,” said Ty Yost, WSTR president.

The second call-back team of Bobby Cody and Brandon Gee won the average with a 39.36 on four, earning an astonishing $30,330. Scott Burleson and Neal Wood snagged second place with a time of 40.93 seconds on four head, worth $21,230. There were checks through seventh place in the average, as well as two fast time in the round checks and four checks for fastest time on two head.

When the top four high call-back teams had some tough luck, they opened the door for the fifth call-back team in #8.5 Title Fights Roping. The team of Wesley Cody and Brandon Gee capitalized on this and were 42.39 on four to win $19,930. No, you did not just take a jab to the chin and are seeing double: Brandon Gee was on a winning streak, adding to his already stellar day with this win. The sixth call-back team of Arch Maples and Earl Higgins, won second in the average with a 44.24 on four, earning $13,890. Rounding out the day and weekend, this roping paid through sixth place in the average. 

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