There may be a recession in this country and around the world, but at the Spicer Gripp Memorial Roping in Hereford, Texas, raising money for education is the most important priority and will not be held back by a shaky economy.
For 15 years, the citizens of the town in the Texas Panhandle known as the "Beef Capital of the World" have put on one of the premier open ropings of the year-with the proceeds benefiting young people.
The Spicer Gripp Memorial Youth Foundation provides agricultural and rodeo scholarships for West Texas A&M in nearby Canyon, Texas.
The featured event, the Open Team Roping, boasted a $94,800 payout and kicked off with Travis Tryan and Michael Jones winning the first round in 5.93 seconds. The second round saw times dip below the five-second mark when Chad Masters and Jade Corkill were a quick 4.78 seconds. Each received a check for $1,200, but the time also held through the short go and the pair were awarded the fast time checks of $600. Rounds three through five did not pay.
In the short round, Steve Purcella and Jhett Johnson drew a flag in 5.37 seconds for the fastest time, but Shane Philipp and Brock Hanson held on to the average with a 39.19-second time on six head to win $14,058 each.
Turtle Powell and Travis Graves were second in the average. Powell and Graves had a total time of 41.78 seconds, and each received $10,650. Third in the average went to Charly Crawford and Russell Cordoza, who had a total time of 43.69 seconds and won $8,520 each. Trevor Brazile and Patrick Smith were a close fourth in the average and won $5,538 apiece for their total time of 43.94 seconds. Chad Masters and Jade Corkill rounded out the average with a total time of 44.09 seconds and each received a check for $3,834.
In the calf roping, Tuf Cooper set the pace in the first round by tying his calf in 8.95 seconds, and he never looked back. He placed in each of the three go-rounds and led the average by over two-and-a-half seconds heading into the short go. Justin Maass was a close second with a time of 9.20 seconds.
Cody Ohl did his best to put the pressure on the youngster, tying his short round calf in 9.36 seconds, but Cooper's cushion allowed him to make a businessman's run and still win the average by 3.68 seconds over Ohl with a 37.72 on four head.
In sum, Cooper won $12,410 of the $45,500.
The Open Steer Roping featured 40 of the world's best in the sport vying for $40,000. Jim Locke turned in the fast time of the roping, a 9.81 in the second round, and won the third round as well.
Nevertheless, J. Paul Williams led a group of four steer ropers who had 25-second average totals on three head. Buster Record, Guy "The Legend" Allen and Leo Campbell were all within striking distance for the title.
The Legend did his best to put the pressure on Williams, roping his short-round steer in 13.06 to win the round. However, Williams rose to the occasion and tied his steer down in 14.58, good enough for second in the round and first in the average by just under a second. Williams won $8,367.
Sixty amateur team ropers entered the Pro Am team roping and the roping was broken down into two groups: amateur headers who were paired with a pro heeler and amateur heelers who were paired with a pro header. In the amateur header/pro heeler division, first went to Kevin Huddleston and Steve Northcott, who roped four steers in 36.41 seconds. Second place, with a 36.56 was Spin To Win Rodeo Advertising Representative Nick Griggs and Ryan Motes.
On the pro header/amateur heeler side, Turtle Powell won with Jay Teague after roping four steers in 38.56 seconds.
New to the Spicer Gripp Memorial Roping was both the Senior Steer Roping and the Ladies Only Roping. Shorty Garten won the steer roping by tying four steers in 56.64 seconds and earned $2,880.
Rylea and Debbie Fabrizio-a mother-daughter team-roped four head in 52.17 seconds to win the $2,575.
For more on this annual event, visit www.spicergripp.com.