Drawing for a partner can be daunting, but luck was on the side of Sydney Ball and Heather Rogers at the Feb. 12 Hearts on Fire roping. A time of 29.49 on three head helped the team capture the aggregate win. For their efforts, the ladies were awarded $1,250 for first place, a qualifying spot to the WRWC, and a WCRA Fast Cash bonus of $240 for Ball and $320 for Rogers.
Both Ball and Rogers nearly skipped the roping. Ball made a spontaneous decision to ride with Beverly Robbins and Jessy Remsburg to Casa Grande, Arizona, in hopes to secure a WRWC position, just as her sister, Sally Ball did in Jacksonville, Florida, at the NTRL finals in January.
As for Rogers, she fractured her wrist a month before the event and wasn’t sure if she would be healthy enough to attend the roping. However, she decided to borrow a heel horse and took off for the jackpot at the last minute. Once she drew Ball as a partner, she was especially glad she decided to show up.
“I was pretty happy I drew Sydney. I’ve seen her rope before,” Rogers said. “I thought ‘Man, this is a good one,’ and I knew I had to try hard. She handled the steers great.”
Rogers is a true “Challenger” in the sport of team roping. Her family was involved in local rodeo events when she was a child but, at a young age, she picked up a basketball and never looked back. After playing collegiate basketball and earning her degree in electrical engineering in South Dakota, she returned to Arizona just over two years ago.
Living with her older brother—2017 PRCA World Champion and 11-time NFR Qualifier Erich Rogers—inspired Rogers to learn how to rope after her initial return to Arizona. Her big brother’s lessons seem to be paying off, as Rogers captured both first and second place in the Challenger aggregate despite her time spent healing her wrist.
“I’ve never heeled like I did this weekend,” Rogers said. “I think the four weeks off did my mind some good.”
On the heading side, Ball recently made the move from Max Meadow, Virginia, to Glen Rose, Texas, to grow her roping ability while studying Animal Science at Tarleton State University. She has been enjoying her time in Texas so far, thanks to the competitive environment pushing her to step up her game.
“Moving out to Texas opened up so many opportunities for me. I’ve had help from great people,” Ball said. “It’s been instrumental to improving my roping.”
Both cowgirls will be making their second consecutive trip to the WRWC and are excited to attend the event in Fort Worth, Texas, in 2022.
Ball was back to her busy class schedule on Tuesday morning following the roping and plans to continue to hit the practice pen as she gears up for the WRWC with her sister, Sally.
“If there’s a day that we can be trying to get better, we’re out there getting after it,” Ball said.
As for Rogers, her brother Erich will continue coaching her, and she is doing her best to soak in the experiences.
“I think I came in at the right time. I feel like if I started seven or eight years ago, I wouldn’t be able to stay hooked. Thanks to all the women who did everything to grow it, I get to reap the benefits,” Rogers said.
In the WRWC classification system, a Challenger is defined as a team roper who is a #4.5 or below in either heading or heeling, based on the Global Handicaps System or Rope Metrics classification systems. Contestants earn points towards WRWC standings as well when nominating qualifiers and other events. Currently, Sydney Ball has 1666.25 points in the Team Roping Header standings and sits in the No. 2 position behind Kay Stevens with 1668 points. Ball’s sister, Sally, leads the Team Roping Heeler standings with 2,817.25 points.
In the Pro division, the champions of the Hearts on Fire Roping were Beverly Robbins and Jessy Remsburg, whose time of 23.85 seconds on three head earned them $1850 in the aggregate, and an additional $600 for Robbins, and $440 for Remsburg in WCRA Fast Cash.
Robbins and Remsburg previously secured their entry into the WRWC in Jacksonville, Florida, in January, but their win boosted their leaderboard standings and still allowed them to be awarded the Fast Cash bonus. Robbins has been guarding her No. 1 position in the Team Roping Header standings with 7,312.75 points, while Remsburg made her move into the No. 1 position in the Team Roping Heeler standings this week with 5,703 points.