Fifty and Fabulous: Kory Koontz Gets Set to Defend BFI Title

Kory Koontz will return to the Lazy E to defend his title at the Bob Feist Invitational April 2.

A lot has changed in the life of three-time and reigning Bob Feist Invitational Team Roping Classic heeling champ Kory Koontz since he won it all with Manny Egusquiza at the Fabulous Lazy E Arena in 2021. Koontz blew out 50 candles on his latest birthday cake, and did not buy his Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association card this year for the first time since turning 18. These days, Koontz is spending most of his days sharing everything he’s learned in a lifetime of world-class team roping with others, and is loving every minute of it. But take heart, team roping fans—Manny and Kory will be back on April 2 to defend their title at the 2022 BFI.

“Even though the only card I bought this year was my World Series (of Team Roping) card to go to the Lone Star Shootout and BFI, I still feel the want and need to win,” said Koontz, the 22-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo heeler who’s now living in Canyon, Texas. “Now that I’ve established this business of teaching and am making a living without competition, it’s kind of a weight lifted off. Seeing people’s minds click and them roping better after I share with them what helped me win is a good feeling. For once in my life, I can just go to the BFI and rope without needing to win.

“Don’t get me wrong, I want to win. And I’m going to rope aggressive, and hopefully get through six steers again this year with another good result. That’s always the game plan.”

Egusquiza was aboard Sleepy and Koontz rode 2021 Heel Horse of the BFI Remix to the BFI winner’s circle last year. Performance Horse Photography

Manny and Kory were 44 and 49, respectively, when they stormed the Lazy E for $75,000 a man last year. It was Koontz’s third celebration in the BFI winner’s circle, having won it back-to-back about a quarter century earlier with Rube Woolsey in 1995 and Matt Tyler in 1996.

“When I think about the 2021 BFI a year later, I just think about how blessed I was to have a great day that day,” said Koontz, who roped at those 22 NFRs during the span of 1992 and 2018. “I think about all Remix and I went through to get back to a big win like that, which was against all odds.”

The 2020 road wreck that Kory and Remix survived and rose up from to win the 2021 BFI. Courtesy Kory Koontz

It was a great big blessing and a much-appreciated financial boost, for sure. But in the grand scheme of things, no BFI win or any other is going to change Kory Koontz’s life.

“My life was going to be good whether I won that roping or not,” Koontz said. “Winning the BFI definitely bettered my life. Money’s always good, and it made me feel good about myself. To realize at 49 then and 50 now that I can still accomplish big things is satisfying. It bettered me. But it didn’t change the way I look at life. My outcome is set because of my beliefs and where my strength comes from. And that’s all my Lord and savior Jesus.”

Kory’s now spending most of his time teaching other team ropers everything he knows, and is loving it. Courtesy Kory Koontz

The only other roping on Koontz’s radar right now for 2022 is this summer’s Spicer Gripp.

“Other than that, I’m not going to any rodeos—amateur or pro—and there’ll be no jackpotting just for the fun of it,” Kory said. “I’m teaching roping schools and giving roping lessons, and am moving into the next phase of my life. Competing is no longer the major component in my life. But it will be fun to go back to the BFI and try to duplicate our success. We’re entered, so you can bet we’ll be there trying to win something.”