While rodeo fans lined up to take in the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, team ropers from both sides of the border made their way over to “Cowboy Central” or better known as the South Point Hotel Casino & Spa for the World Series Team Roping, December 7 to 14. For anyone able to make their way to Sin City during rodeo week, roping and extensive cowboy shopping at the South Point, was ultimately a whole trip in its self.
Scrolling through the 127 teams which showcased Canadian team ropers, the reigning Miss Rodeo Canada Katy Lucas of Carstairs, Alta., had her name on the entry list. Lucas is a 2014 Canadian Team Roping Champion and her father is four-time Canadian Tie Down Roping Champion and six-time National Finals Rodeo Qualifier Joe Lucas… therefore, it’s no surprise that she was determined to put her hat into the ring this season. Lucas qualified for the World Series Finals before she was crowed in Edmonton, during the Canadian Finals Rodeo. Despite a hectic schedule during WNFR week, she said she didn’t want to miss the opportunity to rope at Las Vegas.
“It’s been crazy busy,” said Lucas with a smile. “But it’s been really fun.”
On December 9 and 10, Lucas followed through with her original game plan and roped in the #12 category for a piece of the $200,000 payout. After her final run, she said it didn’t go as well as planned, but the opportunity to rope at Las Vegas, was well worth it.
This year the roping finale offered up $8.5 million dollars to its qualifiers. Since it’s inauguration in 2006, the competition has grown by $1 million dollars each year. In 2014 two new arenas opened to facilitate the WSTR Finals.
What’s really surprising, is how the WSTR Finals has mushroomed in less than a decade. WSTR founder Denny Gentry, originally had the intention to bring “cowboy golf” to Las Vegas… and to have a few rodeo celebrities get involved. The Rodeo Capital certainly proved to be a perfect fit for this handicapped style of sanctioned roping event. The WSTR has turned into not only the final event of the season, but it has become a roping extravaganza, which accommodates the who’s who of the roping and rodeo worlds and it is currently one of the top ten highest paying equestrian events on the planet.When it’s rodeo time in Sin City, this is now an extraviganza every fan of the sport has to see to believe.
Here’s a look at some of the Canadian WSTR money earners, in 2014:
#13 Finale Short Go Total Payout $1,729,000
5th – Coby Littlesoldier of New Town, N.D., & Bryan Bacon of Athabasca, Alta. $105,000
#12 Finale Short Go Total Payout $1,788,00
18th – Rocky D McLeod of Monte Creek, B.C., & Kelly Buhler of Monte Creek, B.C. $11,400
25th – Dusty Johnson of North Pine, B.C. & Rod Spiers of Fort St John B.C. $10,000
#11 Finale Short Go Total Payout $1,755,000
8th – Jeff Bailey of Kennewick, Wash., & Art S Gallais of Olds, Alta., $60,000
12th – Bruce Chernoff of Calgary, Alta., & Todd Snodgrass of Longview, Alta., $18,000
18th – Duane Robbins, Dayslend, Alta., & Scott McDowell, Elk Point, Alta., $11,400
33rd – Greg Wilson, Ft St John, B.C., & Rod Spiers, Ft St John, B.C. $6,000
Rotation 4 Fast Time
1st – Murdock Keith of Clyde, Alta., & Lawrence Simmons of Sherwood Park, Alta., $6,000
#10 Finale Short Go – Total Payout $1,888,000
25th – Barry Black of High River, Alta., & Ray Lane of Wittman, Ariz., $10,000
48th – Doug Wedel of Taber Alta., & Bill Reeder of Cardston, Alta., $6,000
10th – Bill Campbell of Buffalo, Alta., & Jared Pancoast, Redcliff, Alta., $5,000
#9 Finale Short Go – Total Payout $1,500,000
10th – Robert Heggie of Raymond, Alta., & Bill Reeder of Cardston, Alta., $30,000
38th – George Schreiner of Mesa, Ariz., & Art Gallais of Olds, Alta., $6,000
42nd – Jason Lemieux of High River Alta., & Matt Gingras of Strathmore, Alta., $6,000