For the sixth year in a row, Scott and Jo Repp hosted the best open roping in the Northwest with the WestStar Open Invitational Team Roping/Calf Roping. It's the only jackpot of significance during the fall, and because it's the day before slack at the Ellensburg Rodeo, all the top ropers, or as the Repps tout, The Best of the Best, come to rope.
And since it's inception, local heeler Brady Minor has been trying to get a piece of the $90,000 pie. Brady and his younger brother/header, Riley, are headed to their first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo together this year (Brady roped with Garrett Tonozzi there in 2006).
Still, neither had ever had any luck at the Northwest gem until now.
"I've been winning after three the last two years and I messed up last year, I can't remember what happened the year before, and I was winning after three again this year," Brady said. "So I was really trying to pull through and I'm just tickled that it worked out."
The brother team stopped the clock in 31.94 seconds on five head and took home $10,000 apiece, custom leather chinks and tooled day planners, as well as John Deere vests. Speed Williams and Allen Bach were second with a 32.78-second time.
Wade Wheatley and Randon Adams turned in the fastest time of the team roping with a 5.36-second scorcher in the second round. The Minor brothers won round three with a 5.51-second tie.
"I'm sure everybody there knew me and we were high call so there was more pressure there than anywhere else," Brady said.
Still, it was only fitting for hometown boys to win a roping that has such a hometown feel. The Repps open their home to anyone and everyone coming through town for the rodeo. In fact, many ropers stop in on their way to and from other rodeos scattered throughout the Northwest.
For years, the Repps' open-door policy has come with stalls for cowboys' horses, hookups for the living quarters trailers, a private shower, washer and dryer and even the occasional basketball tournament.
What's more, the roping has caught the attention of local business owners who have stepped up more and more over the years to provide sponsor dollars and make the event pay. Anderson Hay Company, for one, sponsors both Minor brothers, as well as the roping. Mark Anderson, who owns the company that sends it's sought-after hay to horse farms as far flung as Louisville, Kentucky and Japan, is a shirttail relative to the Minor brothers. He provides each competitor with four or five bales to get down the road.
"It's really nice," Brady said. "It started out just like any other roping, paying three or four thousand, then over the years Scott just adds a few new sponsors. It works out good because everybody's there for Ellensburg slack the next day so Scott lets everyone come out there and park in the pasture. He's got a real nice place."
In addition to the team roping, Repp hosts a 16-man match calf roping. Two-time Wrangler NFR tie-down roper Nate Baldwin bested the likes of Matt Shiozawa and Stran Smith to win the $3,200 top prize.
In the Pro-Am, David Key and ACTRA National President Clyde Saunders roped three head in 37.81 to win one half while Dan Powell and Kinney Harrell roped four head in 29.82 to win the amateur header side.