Roping becomes annual event

By Jesse Wolfersberger: Freedom Newspapers

In few sports can an average Joe — or Joanne — step on the same playing field with the best in the game. Joe’s Boot Shop Calf Roping will be one of those exceptions.

“It’s kind of like the NFL Pro Bowl,” Wayne Needham, the event’s producer said. “Except everyone gets to play. It’s a chance for people to be out there with some of the faces they see on TV.”

The second annual Joe’s Boot Shop Calf Roping will be Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the Curry County Mounted Partol Arena.

Needham said 15 of the top 20 calf ropers in the nation are expected to compete in the event and, for the price of an entry fee, anybody can step right in there with them.

Needham said the positive response from last year’s competition has people excited about this year’s installment.

“Everybody said that was the best roping of the year,” Needham said.

One of the unique events new this year is the ladies tie-down match roping.

Needham said the ladies tie-down match roping is certainly a rarity.

“It’s an added flair,” he said. “A lot of people don’t get to see girls rope.”

The ladies match will be between Kelly Lawrence, Jackie Jo Adams, Kim Williamson and Jackie Hobbs — all are highly decorated rodeo champions.

Lawrence, a two-time world champion, said an all-women’s tie-down match roping competition has often been talked about, but this is the first time one will come together in a long time.

“I enjoy the opportunity to match these women,” she said. “Last year I watched the men rope, so I’m looking forward to ropin’ this year.”

The key distinction between this women’s match and most others is that these women will be getting off their horses and tying the calf down. Women often compete in breakaway roping, where they rope a calf from their horse, then the roper stops the horse, making the rope taut, breaking a string tied to the rope to end the run.

“I don’t break-rope,” Lawrence said. “Break-roping doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.”

Another highlight of this year’s event is the young guns shootout match between 2004 Pro Rodeo Cowboy Association World Champion Monty Lewis and 2005 PRCA All-Around World Champion Ryan Jarrett.

Lewis, a Hereford, Texas, native, said he thinks it is fun to be in a match that is being promoted like a heavyweight boxing title fight, with his and Jarrett’s mug shots on the top of flyers for the event.

Lewis said he and Jarrett plan to have a little fun, but there is no question that both of them will be there to win.

“You bet. It’s very competitive,” said Lewis, who roped and won in the last year’s headline match. “I’m looking forward to it. It’s awesome. It’s great for the sport. It gets people out to see it. I really appreciate what it’s done.”