The USTRC has long played host to the wolfiest lady ropers in the game. These top 5 winning women—who span both ends of the run—have pocketed big money at USTRC qualifiers and at the Cinch National Finals of Team Roping since its inception in 1991.
Table of Contents
- 5) Rebecca Kropik | $224,732.50
- 4) Jimmi Jo Montera | $239,147.50
- 3) Annette Stahl | $252,370.00
- 2) Barrie Smith | $253,231.50
- 1) Beverly Robbins | $274,881.00
5) Rebecca Kropik | $224,732.50
Rebecca Kropik learned how to rope by herself on a Shetland pony with a 5-gallon bucket, but that didn’t stop her from earning six figures in her USTRC career.
“I thought I was Billy Bad Butt roping that bucket,” Kropik laughed. “I roped calves, and then heading steers was easy after roping calves.”
Kropik ran around with Agnes Ohl—Cody Ohl’s mama—and they had heck getting guys to enter with them at the ropings back in the day before the USTRC introduced its number system.
“We would go to ropings and not be able to get anybody to rope with us,” Kropik said. “There was a handful of us girls who roped, and it was tough. Back then, you couldn’t beg them to rope with you.”
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But a lucky encounter with some family friends changed that dramatically.
“I wasn’t very good,” Kropik admitted. “When I married (former husband) Richard, he was training horses, so I was on a horse from 8 or 9 in the morning, and we’d stop for lunch, then get back on our horses until dinner. He was friends with Monty Jo Petska, Daniel Green and Allen Bach and, because we lived close to the Astrodome, they were at our house for three weeks during Houston. They challenged me, and that’s when I went to winning in the USTRC.”
They’d leave on Thursdays to rope and get back Sunday night, and they’d stay in the practice pen all week.
“I’m just telling you, it did a lot for me,” Kropik said. “I was comfortable, and it was fair. And it was a place I could go that it was up to me whether I won or lost. I always felt like it was a level playing field, and it was how good did I rope or not rope. There was never anything else. When I left there, I was already planning for next Thursday to leave.
“I used to tell women, ‘Girls y’all are sitting in the stands! You could be doing this.’ They’d just be watching their husbands. It’s like watching paint dry to sit in those stands, and those women were qualified—everybody was. You can start at those low numbers and work your way up.”
Kropik’s daughter, Reba Benton, grew up at the ropings, too. And team roping built into her the same confidence it gave her mama.
4) Jimmi Jo Montera | $239,147.50
Jimmi Jo Montera has a storied history as one of the winningest women to ever swing a rope, having won the 1991 and 1992 WPRA breakaway roping world title and the 1993 WPRA all-around title. She also claimed the 1990 College National Finals Rodeo average and year-end titles in the goat-tying, and she was the CNFR All-Around Cowgirl and National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association All-Around Cowgirl.
Montera graduated from college just in time for the emergence of the USTRC, getting to hone her newfound love of heeling while roping with her dad across Colorado’s Front Range.
“We’d go to the Rope the Rockies, because they were the big USTRC producer back then,” Montera said. “It was easier for me to go to the US ropings, because so many of the all-girl ropings and all-girl rodeos were in Texas.”
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Montera has two sons and worked for her family’s vet-supply story, Colorado Animal Health, for years. Now, she and husband Rick spend their winters in Arizona jackpotting, and they get to US ropings whenever they can.
“The USTRC is the reason so many people go,” Montera said. “You have 3s and 4s and 5s and they can go compete. It pays more money, and I don’t think that would have happened without the number system and the USTRCs to go to.”
Montera won the All-Girl title at the US Finals three times, and she placed in plenty of shootouts and regional finals along the way to get the massive earnings number she’s accumulated.
3) Annette Stahl | $252,370.00
Annette Stahl grew up at the USTRC’s goat and dummy ropings while her dad jackpotted at the early qualifiers across the Southwest. She banked big wins throughout her time in US competition.
“They were Denny Gentry ropings back then,” Stahl said. “So you knew they were good and you knew what to expect.”
Stahl has won every major all-girl championship in the sport, except the US Final’s Cinch Ladies’ title.
“I placed in the all-girl in 2005, and back then it got me into the #10 Shootout in Oklahoma City,” Stahl said. “I roped with my cousin Renee, and then we went on to win the #10 Shootout.”
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Stahl ranches now with her husband, CR, in Salt Flat, Texas, and she generally spends most of her entry fee money at the Ariat World Series of Team Roping qualifiers and all-girl ropings.
“It’s really cool to be among the top women,” Stahl said. “You have to have goals, and you have to continue to want to evolve or you get left behind in this game. The evolution is so fast. If you roped in the #10, you could rope a couple legs and still place. Not anymore—you don’t win with mistakes. I’ve gotten older and smarter, and I’ve started to realize where I need to work on it. I want to get better and be someone they still talk about being consistent. I want to consistently rope two feet no matter the situation. That’s what I started working on—I’m working on my technique to save my body and still be able to do it for years to come.”
2) Barrie Smith | $253,231.50
Barrie Smith grew up in Gilbert, Arizona, dominating the sport of goat-tying early on. A college national champ in the all-around and the goat-tying, Smith married 1978 World Champion Brad Smith and was around for the earliest days of the USTRC.
“I remember going to Albuquerque and West World,” Smith said. “And then there was Waco and Oklahoma City for the US Finals, and those were always good. I had two kids by then, so I ran barrels and I roped. We just went to compete and win.”
Smith roped with her husband, as well as with her brother, NFR switchender Bret Beach. Her biggest win came with George McQuain, winning the Gold-Plus at the US Finals in 2014.
“I got the tractor,” Smith remembered. “We didn’t want to compete with each other when we had to rope off for the truck or tractor, but he beat me! We had so much fun, we didn’t even care.”
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The 2010 Women’s Professional Rodeo Association World Champion Header, Smith is known as a true horsewoman, and she’s had two head horses in the Thomas & Mack: one ridden by World Champion Turtle Powell, and one by two-time NFR header Tom Richards.
“I like to fool with horses.” Smith said. “There used to be a bunch I’d keep around, but I only have four right now. That’s plenty.”
Smith’s home base is in Stephenville, Texas, these days, but she goes to Arizona to jackpot all winter long. A long-time barrel racer who’s won her fair share in that arena, too, these days Smith mainly sticks to team roping. But because the ropings are so good in Arizona all winter long, she doesn’t have to haul much these days.
“You almost need a break after roping all winter in Arizona,” Smith admitted.
1) Beverly Robbins | $274,881.00
Beverly Robbins has long been the leading lady of team roping, so her spot at the top of this list is no surprise. Robbins was the first woman to place at the Bob Feist Invitational, but long before that, she was cutting her teeth in the ranks of the USTRC.
“I remember the first phone calls Denny Gentry was making putting together all of those ropings,” Robbins said. “And gosh, look where it’s gone now. Before the number system, we had the A, B and C ropings east of the Mississippi, and that’s all you could rope in.”
Robbins, of Tuscumbia, Alabama, grew up playing polo with her dad and didn’t pick up a rope until after graduating college. Her dad got to be friends with Perry Bigbee, one of roping’s early supporters in the East.
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“Dad and Perry put on rodeos when they were young, and Perry got dad started in team roping,” Robbins explained. “Dad got to where he couldn’t play polo anymore, so we turned all of the polo horses into team roping horses. Needless to say, I had a rough start trying to train polo horses to rope and learning to rope myself.”
Rough start or not, Robbins has found massive success in team roping. She’s won every title in the all-girl ranks, and she’s also made the short round at the George Strait and the BFI (three times). She’s won the 2019 Women’s Professional Rodeo Association heading world title.
“Now, I’m really pumped about the USTRC and the US Finals,” Robbins said. “With the aged events like the Legends ropings and the all-girl coming back as an Open, I think we’ve got a lot to be excited about.”
Now a mom to a teenager, a business owner and an entrepreneur, Robbins still prioritizes her roping every chance she gets. In January, she won the average at the NTRL Finals in Jacksonville, Florida, in the Franklin Thomas Century Roping with Jay Holmes, in the #12.5 Shootout with Nathan Berg and in the WRWC Ladies with regular partner Jessy Remsburg. TRJ