The Team Roping Ties That Bind The Class of 2022

Four members of the ProRodeo Hall of Fame's Class of 2022 reflect on their most memorable moments prior to the induction ceremony on July 16.

 Hubbell Rodeo Photos

There could be no greater compliment in a cowboy career than being immortalized with induction into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame. It’s an honor reserved for a very rare few who stand above the rest in their contributions to the sport. Ironically in a game where confidence is a critical component of success, having your name etched in stone for the rest of time has been described by all fortunate enough to experience the feat firsthand as the most humbling honor of all. Four members of the ProRodeo Hall of Fame’s Class of 2022 have ties to team roping as they look back on their most memorable moments riding into the July 16 induction ceremony in Colorado Springs.

Trevor Brazile

It’s easier to count the rodeo records that don’t belong to Brazile than the ones he owns. ProRodeo’s only $7 million man earned an unparalleled collection of 26 gold buckles, including an unmatched 14 of them for all-around versatility. Trevor has headed, heeled, roped calves and steer roped at the National Finals, and won the world in all but the heeling. His 54 National Finals qualifications and 74 National Finals go-round victory laps are additional examples of the countless accolades that put Brazile in a league of his own. 

What accomplishment in your cowboy career makes you most proud?

“The Triple Crowns (three world titles in one year), just because they’re pretty rare,” said Trevor, who’s 45 now and lives in Decatur, Texas, with his NFR barrel racer wife, Shada, and their kids, Treston, Style and Swayzi. “The one in 2007 was cool (he won all around, tie-down and steer roping championships that year), but to win the world in the calf roping and team roping the same year (like he did his second Triple Crown season in 2010 heading for Patrick Smith) is something I’m most proud of, because of the competition I was up against. I had all the respect in the world for the guys who were at the top of their game in both events.” 

READ MORE: Before He Was King: Trevor Brazile’s First Timed Event

What word best describes the feeling you had when you got the call that you’re headed into the Hall for the rest of time?

“A mix of humbled and giddy,” Trevor said. “I guess it was a mix of both. When you’re retired, you aren’t winning anything anymore, and the magnitude of induction into the Hall of Fame is pretty humbling. So this news was like I just won something really big, only better.”

PRCA ProRodeo Photo/Mike Copeman

What do you hope to be remembered for 100 years from now?

“In and around the arena, I’d like to be remembered as a cowboy,” Trevor said. “I hope I’m remembered not as a tie-down roper, team roper, steer roper or specialist of any kind, but as a cowboy who could do it all. Outside of the arena, I hope to be remembered as a father, husband and a good human. I’d like people to remember that I was a Christian who knew where all my gifts came from.”

Talk about team roping’s role in your life…

“The calf roping is what I loved,” Brazile said. “Team roping is something I found along the way when I wasn’t big enough to calf rope. Team roping gave me the ability to get ahead with my rope, and I think team ropers as a whole are better with their ropes. Team roping helped me polish my skills with a rope, and that helped me in every event. 

“Team roping is different than any other event—it’s like the golf of rodeo. It brings people from outside the sport into the sport, and you can be proud of your success at every level. It’s one of the few events where you can have success along the way, stay connected with our industry and still have a full-time job. Team roping has kept a lot of people in the Western industry that would have had to say goodbye to rodeo a long time ago had they only competed in other events.”

World Champion Heeler Bobby Harris won the NFR average three times. PRCA File Photo

Bobby Harris

Bobby Harris roped at 18 NFRs between 1981 and 2010, and won Round 1 heeling for Scott Laramore at that first one when Bobby was 18. Harris won the NFR team roping average three times—twice with Tee Woolman, with whom he won the world in 1991, and once with JD Yates. Harris also competed at the National Finals Steer Roping eight times between 1986 and 2006. Dee Pickett dubbed Bobby “Big Money” more than 30 years ago.

“The day after the 1990 Timed Event, I flew into Phoenix and walked into slack,” Harris remembers clearly. “I was roping with Dee at the time, and he said, ‘Well if it ain’t Big Money,’ and it stuck.”

What accomplishment in your cowboy career makes you most proud?

“I’m most proud of winning a world championship,” said Harris, who lives on the family ranch in Gillette, South Dakota with his wife, Colleen. “That’s the lifetime dream when you start roping as a little kid. I got my (PRCA) card when I was 15. When you go from junior rodeo to high school to jackpotting, then finally feel good enough to take off rodeoing, the world is what it’s all about. 

“I was jackpotting with the grown-ups in Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Montana, and North and South Dakota when I was 14 years old. There was a rule back then that you couldn’t pro rodeo and amateur rodeo at the same time, so I never went to an amateur rodeo until much later in my career when that rule changed. I started college at Torrington (Wyoming) when I was 18, and got three calls the first week of school (from Laramore, Mark Arnold and Roman Figueroa). I took off rodeoing with Scott the fall of my freshman year of college, and never looked back. Winning the world was the lifetime dream since I was a little boy, and I accomplished my dream.”

READ MORE: Catching Up with World Champion Heeler Bobby Harris

What word best describes the feeling you had when you got the call that you’re headed into the Hall for the rest of time?

“Honor,” Harris said. “Everything else we do in our career is competing. I feel honor and awe trying to describe what this feels like. It’s very special, and it means a lot to my whole family. This is the last thing I’ll ever win, and it’s the most important thing. This isn’t really something you win, but something you earn—the hard way.”

That’s Colleen and Bobby Harris with South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem. Harris Family Photo

What do you hope to be remembered for 100 years from now?

“I hope to be remembered as a good cowboy and a good hand,” Harris said. “People have complimented me since I was a little kid on how I swing a rope. That means a lot to me. I remember a time in my career when I was a little down, and my dad (four-time NFSR qualifier Nick Harris) telling me, ‘People really enjoy watching you rope.’ So I guess I’d say that I hope people remember that people really enjoyed watching me rope.”

Talk about team roping’s role in your life…

“Team roping has taken me all over the United States, and introduced me to fabulous people I’d never have met if I had a 9-to-5 job,” Harris said. “The thing about team roping is, you always have to be grinding and every day’s a new day. 

“I made a commitment along the way not to whine or complain about being out there rodeoing. I always told myself I was going to go make the Finals. I wasn’t trying to make the Finals. I was going to make the Finals. In that era, guys like Leo and Jerold (Camarillo) didn’t give you an inch or pat you on the back. It was tough. But I was determined to make it.”

Bobby Mote makes a mud run with World Champ Mike Beers at the Oakdale (California) Rodeo. Hubbell Rodeo Photos

Bobby Mote

Bobby Mote is a four-time world champion bareback rider who qualified for 15 straight NFRs from 2001-2015, and won 25 go-rounds at the NFR. Bobby and his wife, Kate, live in Llano, Texas, and have three kids, Charlie, Laura and Trey. 

What accomplishment in your cowboy career makes you most proud?

“I’m probably most proud of winning four world championships, because it’s hard to win one,” Mote said. “The first one (in 2002) was five years before the second one (in 2007), and it’s really hard to repeat (like he did with back-to-back gold buckles in 2009-10). I felt like I ran away with the first one, but the other three were all different in different ways, and special because of all the injuries I had to fight through. 

“There was sports-hernia surgery, from when I tore the abdominal muscles away from my pubic bone, and two neck surgeries that I had to bear through. Riding with pinched nerves and bones spurs in your neck isn’t much fun. But sometimes it’s part of it, and I had to deal with a lot of physical issues after that first championship to get the rest of them.”

READ MORE: All About Life with World Champion Bareback Rider Bobby Mote

What word best describes the feeling you had when you got the call that you’re headed into the Hall for the rest of time?

“Relief,” Mote said. “I’ve fought for positive change in rodeo for a long time, and that can come at a personal cost with walls put up by some people who don’t ever want to see any change. Getting that call makes me feel like I can come out of the corner and we can all get back to raising the rodeo bar for the rodeo athletes who have always deserved continued progress. Being part of the Class of 2022 is something to be celebrated, and I sure appreciate it.”

Mote won four gold buckles and 25 NFR go-rounds in his Hall of Fame bareback riding career. Hubbell Rodeo Photos

What do you hope to be remembered for 100 years from now?

“I’d like to be remembered as someone who did whatever it took to get the job done,” Mote said. “I wasn’t necessarily someone you would have hand-picked to do what I was able to. Everybody said I was too tall (he’s 6’ 1”), and not enough of this or that. But I was an overcomer. Injuries could have ended my career a lot earlier, but I wasn’t going to take no for an answer. I set my mind on something and found a way. Maybe I should be best known for being stubborn.”

Talk about team roping’s role in your life…

“Team roping’s a great event for everyone, and I’ve loved to rope for a long time,” Bobby said. “Hard work pays off, and if you do the work, there’s a positive outcome and you can see progress. In that respect, team roping’s a lot like life in general. I enjoy learning and preparing to compete, and team roping lets me continue to compete and also gauge whether or not I’ve put in enough preparation.”

Mel Potter’s a big believer in the Driftwood bloodlines, and Dinero was a Potter Ranch legend. Courtesy Potter Family

Mel Potter

Mel Potter has worn about every kind of cowboy hat there is—from contestant to stock contractor and PRCA Board member—in his 87 years. He roped calves at the first-ever NFR in Dallas in 1959, and team roped in and around his native Wisconsin and Great Lakes Circuit in more recent times. The Potter Ranch in Marana, Arizona, is home to Mel; his NFR barrel racer wife, Wendy; and daughters, two-time National High School Rodeo Association All-Around Cowgirl Jo Lynn Alexander and four-time World Champion Barrel Racer Sherry Cervi and her World Champion Team Roper husband, Cory Petska. 

What accomplishment in your cowboy career makes you most proud?

“I won a lot of big rodeos—Denver, Tucson, Phoenix, Odessa and Calgary included,” Potter remembers. “But winning a go-round in the steer roping at Cheyenne when I was 60 and beat all the kids might top them all. I’ve had an interesting life in the rodeo world, and I was fortunate to be fairly successful.”

What word best describes the feeling you had when you got the call that you’re headed into the Hall for the rest of time?

“Surprised,” Potter said. “I never expected this to happen, because the family cranberry business always came first and rodeo was my hobby. My mom took me to the Tucson rodeo when I was 9 years old, and I was hooked. I joined the Rodeo Cowboys Association at 16 in 1951. It cost me $25, and it’s been a heck of a ride.”

What do you hope to be remembered for 100 years from now?

“I want to be remembered as a friend to the cowboys—riding events, timed events, all of them,” Potter said. “I feel like I helped a lot of them, and that made me feel good. I helped keep the PRCA from blowing up at times in our history, and I’m pretty proud of that, too.”

READ MORE: The Horseman’s Breeder: Mel Potter

Talk about team roping’s role in your life…

“My team roping goes all the way back to the team tying days in Arizona, where you had to get off and tie the knot on the feet,” Potter remembers. “The first time I ever dallied at a rodeo was roping with (Hall of Fame steer wrestler) Harley May at the rodeo in Clovis, California, and we won second. I roped calves, bulldogged, steer roped and team roped, and the last thing I got to compete in was the team roping.”

Potter worked every timed event in his cowboy career. DeVere Helfrich