Clay Tryan and Jake Long might not be winning everything under the sun, but they have unofficially qualified for their 19th and 10th Wrangler NFR with two weeks left in the 2021 Pro Rodeo regular season.
Tryan is currently sixth in the PRCA World Standings with $78,519.93 in total season earnings, and Long is seventh with $82,740.85.
Tryan has been loyal to swinging the Mach III head rope for most of his team roping career. During the 2021 Pro Rodeo season, he also picked up to four-strand ropes, the Cobalt and the Centerfire 2.
“They have a lot of ropes now-a-days, so there’s a good selection,” Tryan said. “I like them a little heavier than I used to because, when I started having to reach all the time, the light rope didn’t feel that good. What I like about Fast Back Ropes is that they have whatever you need. They have heavy, light, dead, fast—whatever you like.”
But, the thing about head ropes is, when you find one you like, you always go back to it. Just like Tryan, who has switched up his rope choice and went back to his faithful three-strand rope.
“I got so used to it. I loved it and it was hard to change,” Tryan admitted. “If I ever got to roping bad, I wouldn’t blame the rope, but just felt like I didn’t know why I changed, so I just always go back to it.”
With the comfortable feel of his three-strand rope, Tryan still stashes a few four-strand ropes in his rope bag.
“I just have to keep them mixed in the bag for whatever feels good that day,” he said.
Tryan headed back to Texas after competing in the Northwest to finish out the season in the Texas Circuit, where he is third in the heading standings with $15,724.74 in earnings. He is well aware that weather has a big impact on a rope’s performance.
“This time of year in Texas, it’s like 95 degrees and humid, so it’s summertime here still,” he said. “We roped at Dillon, Montana, in 40-degree slack and Ellensburg, and one rope that’s stiff that afternoon might not be as stiff that morning, so you have to sometimes have some stiffer ropes because they might limber up a little bit.”