EDITOR’S NOTE: For the next few days, I will be running biographies on the qualifiers to the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping. I hope you enjoy getting to know a little more about the top 15 cowboys.
The Kansan is the two-time reigning World Champion Steer Roper for a reason: He earned it.
In fact, Patterson won his second straight gold buckle last season in record-setting fashion, becoming the first steer roper in PRCA history to earn six figures in a given season. Patterson earned $101,685, winning steer roping titles at 13 rodeos.
The 2011 campaign hasn’t been nearly as grand, but it’s been pretty strong. Patterson enters this weekend’s championship No. 3 in the World Standings and with a boatload of experience in this arena. In fact, this marks the 17th time in 18 years Patterson has qualified for the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping. Still, he won the final event of the regular season in Anadarko, Okla., and moved from third to second in the world standings.
How strong is the Pratt, Kan., cowboy? He has won more than $62,000 this year, but he has just three rodeo wins under his belt. Even though he hasn’t walked away with nearly as many championships in 2011, he’s pocketed a lot of cash – that means he’s been a major player just about everywhere he’s been this season.
That might be the most telling statement about Patterson, who has been one of the elite players in the game for most of his 20-year career.
“To me, longevity means something,” Patterson said.
Since he became a member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, Patterson has won some of the biggest rodeos in the sport, from Texas outposts like Odessa and Pecos to Sheridan, Wyo., and Walla Walla, Wash. His distinguished career is no surprise to those who have witnessed his work ethic and talent – he was, after all, the 1992 Resistol Steer Roping Rookie of the Year.
He’s just gotten better with age.