Top Professionals on tap for this weekend
Top team roping professionals will be churning up the dirt in their quest to capture the top prize in a purse of more than $231,000 as they compete in the U.S. Open at the Cinch USTRC National Finals of Team Roping beginning Saturday, October 23. A total of more than $4.2 million will be awarded during the nine-day run. Action begins at 8 a.m. in the Jim Norick Arena at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds. All events are free to the public and includes a free trade show featuring a variety of equine and western related products.
Produced by the United States Team Roping Championships (USTRC) the preliminary rounds for the Open begin October 23 with the finals being held at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, October 24. Opening ceremonies for the Finals will feature top team ropers as well as focus on the efforts of Western Wishes, a not for profit that grants wishes to children faced with adversity and who love the western way of life.
The roster reads like a who’s who among team roping’s greats, including past Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association World Champions Allen Bach, Jake Barnes, Rich Skelton, Clay O. Cooper and Speed Williams, along with 2009 World Champion Nick Sartain of Yukon, Okla., and seven-time PRCA All Around Champion Trevor Brazile of Decatur, Texas.
Team roping is a timed event that requires a team effort. A team is made up of a “header” and a “heeler”. The header’s job is to catch the steer around the horns, and then set it up by turning it across the arena. The heeler then rides in and ropes the steer around both hind legs. The clock is stopped when the steer is secured between both ropers and their horses are facing each other.
Much like the sport of golf, ropers are handicapped or receive a classification rating based on their skill level and competitive ability. Ropers can be classified from a #1 to a #10, depending on their roping position and ability. The added total of both roping partners handicaps determines their division eligibility. For example, if the division is a #11, the total rating for both ropers cannot equal more than 11, with some divisions requiring a handicap floor.
More than $19 million was paid in prize money in 2009 during USTRC sanctioned competition, making it one of the richest “pay-for-play” sports in the industry.
The United States Team Roping Championships is the official home of America’s Cowboy Sport, representing more than 35,000 competitive team ropers across the country. USTRC brings the sport of team roping to the national stage by providing competition with integrity as the trusted source of team roping competition rules and classifications.
For more information and a full schedule of events, go to www.ustrc.com or call 254.968.0002.