Twenty teams entered the short round of action in the Roper Outerwear US Open Championships at the Cinch National Finals of Team Roping, and Arizona team ropers Derrick Begay and Cesar DeLaCruz were the third high team back. They moved to the driver's seat when they roped their short-round steer and posted a time of 7.33. Two teams were left and either of them were readily equipped to upset Begay and DeLaCruz.
Texas ropers Jake Kropik and Wade Clayton were the second high team back in the short go round and they needed an 8.56 or better to move Begay and DeLaCruz.
When Kropik nodded, the music vibrated off the coliseum walls. When the flag dropped, the pair had roped their short round steer in 7.25 to take the lead.
The high call back team in the short go round, Aaron Tsinigine and Brock Hanson, failed to make a qualified run. Unexpectedly, in a mere matter of seconds, Kropik and Clayton's paychecks just became $43,000 a man.
"This is the most money either of us have ever won," Clayton said shyly as his hands shook. As a team we don't really have a game plan. I know what he is going to do and he knows what I'm going to do because we have been roping together a long time."
"I guess the main thing is to never ever give up," Kropik said, "The steers were strong but we drew good and we just wanted to make really good solid runs."