Photo courtesy George Strait
Kory Koontz was just coming off his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo berth when he backed into the box high call on his last steer at the 1993 George Strait Team Roping Classic. Rube Woolsey was on the head side, and they needed a solid run to win the $20,000 payout.
“I was so young and at the stage of my life where I thought I was supposed to go out and win every roping I went to,” Koontz says. “We were in that small arena in Kingsviile, where they used to hold the Strait, and we just needed to catch. Rube turned him, and he gave me a semi-crossfire kind of shot. And I took it.”
Woolsey and Koontz would win the Strait “going away” as Koontz says. They’d go on to make the NFR again that year, and Koontz would win the GSTRC again the next year and in 2000.
“We didn’t have any money, and it freed up the whole year for us and changed my roping career,” Woolsey says. “We were leading it the year before, and I missed him. So I had that demon to deal with. I would have been about 23 years old, and that was the first time in my team roping career that I’d had a cushion. Back then, we had the Bob Feist Invitational, the George Strait and the NFR, and those were our three chances every year to make a name for ourselves.”
Woolsey is careful to point out that he only had a mustache for about three weeks of his entire life, and this win happened to fall in that time period.
“My kids have always wanted to see this picture so they can see me with a mustache,” Woolsey laughs.