WRCA World Champion Dustin Bowling's team branding buckle.

Among his 2014 WRCA World Champion buckle, his 2015 WRCA Team Branding Champion buckle, and his 2016 WRCA World Champion buckle, team roper Dustin Bowling of the Jolly Ranch and S&L Cattle team prefers to wear his 2015 buckle.

“I just think it’s a cool buckle,” Bowling offered. “Our World Championship buckles, I don’t know. I’m just superstitious about stuff like that.”

The buckles are awarded in November, following the annual World Championship Ranch Rodeo held in Amarillo, Texas, headquarters of the Working Ranch Cowboy Association. Throughout the year, working cowboy teams must qualify for the Championships by competing in events that mimic the tasks required on the ranch, such as team penning, bronc riding, and the always-eventful wild cow milking.

The Jolly Ranch is a cow-calf operation in Agate, Colorado, with a history dating back to 1932, while S&L Cattle is a Lamar, Colorado, yearling and feedlot operation. The latter is owned by team members Phy Lord and Kyle Spitz, while Bowling’s brother-in-law and team captain, Jesse Jolly, completed the 2015 team, heavy with team ropers.

“Jesse roped in the team branding,” Bowling relayed of their championship event. “We kind of rotate, and I either rope in the stray gathering or in the cow milking.”

Beyond being the go-to ropers, Bowling and Jolly also lead the charge in terms of arena fashion by donning argyle sweater vests throughout each competition, just in case there’s not already enough action in the arena. n

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