By Press Release
Stephenville, Texas– A local roper qualified to compete at the richest team roping in the world during the recent United States Team Roping Championships (USTRC) Southeast Regional Finals September 3 at the Tunica Arena and Expo Center in Tunica, Miss. Dale Martin of Cleveland roped four steers in a time of 32.28 in the Gold Plus division with partner Mike Woolven of Nettleton, Miss. The duo took home custom trophy leather rope bags and split a paycheck for $9,228.
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.
The Southeast Regional Finals is the fifth among seven Regional Finals to take place across the U.S. throughout the summer with an estimated purse of $250,000 along with $77,000 in prizes, including 22 Martin Saddles and Gist Silversmiths buckles. Also held during the Regional Finals is a preliminary roping event that allows ropers to qualify for the USTRC-branded “Shoot Out” finals division for each classification. More than 1,000 teams from across the region are expected to compete at the event that continues through September 5.
Much like in 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.
Offering an estimated combined total of $2 million in cash and prizes, Regional Finals events are a stepping-stone leading to the USTRC Cinch National Finals of Team Roping inOklahoma City, Okla., October 22-30. An estimated purse of more than $4 million in cash and prizes will be on the table for the taking at the event expected to attract more than 7,000 teams.
The USTRC approves more than 85 team roping events across the United States, attracting ropers from bordering Mexico and Canada, as well as other countries.