It’s been 30 years since the USTRC hosted its first National Finals of Team Roping with a star-studded Open roping that 15-time NFR header Charles Pogue won along with heeler Steve Northcott. The Open disappeared in 2018 but is returning to the format September when the NFTR will kick off for the first time in Fort Worth, Texas, so here’s a look at its beginnings.
“Anytime you were earning quite a bit of money and all the top guys were there, it always meant something,” Pogue said of the chance to compete at the 1990 event. “Of course, the Open, anybody can go, but with them starting the number system, it was all new and nobody knew then where it was headed. It was definitely a change in the times.”
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Pogue joined the PRCA in 1987 and (in true PRCA Rookie-of-the-Year form) began qualifying for the NFR from the get-go, so the Open was a great opportunity to help fund his professional ventures, as well.
“I was luckily fortunate enough to win it a few times. We were roping for quite a bit of money and stuff, so it was definitely one of the ones I considered to be major because of the competition that was there, and I wanted to try to win every year.”
The Oklahoma native does lament the ease with which he was able to get to the US Finals when it was held right there in Oklahoma City, but he’s a big fan of the return of the Open and thinks it will contribute to the success of the whole event in the future, too.
“I lived close, so I went to the US Finals anyway, but it wasn’t the same without the Open in it. It was a shame to see it not there anymore from what it used to be, where it was a big roping and kind of prestigious to win. Even them guys that were entered in some of the better ropings would get there a day or two early to watch it because it’s always good watching when you’ve got the best guys there, so, when that wasn’t there, it was definitely a different atmosphere. I hated to see it go. I just thought, if there was any way to have it, then they needed to try to have it. And yeah, I’m really glad they’re bringing it back.”
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