In addition to the top 15 cowboys, steer roping finals will feature the greatest horses
GUTHRIE, Okla. – It takes a great horse to make a cowboy. No matter which rodeo event it is, each cowboy realizes the path to championships is on talented mounts.
“There’s no event in rodeo where you need a great horse more than steer roping,” said J.P. Wickett, a 12-time qualifier to the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping presented by National Saddlry, with the 53rd edition set for 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Nov. 11-12, at the Lazy E Arena.
Wickett knows more than most of what he speaks. Not only is the Sallisaw, Okla., cowboy one of the elite Steer Ropers in the game – only the top 15 ropers qualify for the two-day, 10-round finale, where the 2011 world champion will be crowned – but also he’s the event’s representative in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.
“Steer roping is one of the original events in rodeo,” said Wickett, who qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 1998 as a header in team roping. “I’ve roped claves, headed and heeled, but roping steers takes more horsemanship. You’ve got to be able to rope; you’ve got to be able to tie, but in steer roping, it’s all about the horse. You’ve got to have horsepower. The guys that win the world, when you look back, they’ve been the ones with the best horses.”
That history lesson bodes well for the others in the field, from standings leader Trevor Brazile – a 14-time world champion who owns eight all-around titles, three tie-down roping championships, two steer roping crowns and a team roping-heading gold buckle – to reigning two-time world champion Rocky Patterson to others who have become regulars in this weekend’s championship.
“It’s like any other event, where if you want to win the world title, you have to have a good finals,” said Brazile of Decatur, Texas. “It’s going to be close enough by that time that it will be about anyone’s to win.”
When the greatest in the business are all under one roof, something explosive is about to happen. That’s the great thing about the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping; the world championship is on the line, but so is the biggest prize purse in the sport inside the Lazy E Arena.
“I don’t know the exact dimensions of the arena floor, but I know you could set a lot of coliseums in an arena that is that big,” Wickett said. “It’s unreal. It’s the pinnacle spot to have the steer roping finals.”
It’s a bigger deal for someone like Wickett, a proud Oklahoman by birth and one of five cowboys from the Sooner State in the field. Competing in “this” championship inside “this” arena is special to those cowboys – the NFSR took place at the Lazy E from 1984-2000, then moved to Amarillo, Texas, through 2005 and Hobbs, N.M., through 2008. The championship returned to the Lazy E in 2009.
“Since the National Finals moved to Las Vegas, it’s good to have the steer roping finals back at the Lazy E and back in Oklahoma,” Wickett said.
As in years past and just like the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, the event will consist of 10 go-rounds to determine the PRCA world champion and the final 2011 PRCA steer roping world standings. On Friday night, Nov. 11, Rounds 1 through 5 will take place – that means 75 runs in one night. Then on Saturday night, Nov. 12, Rounds 6 through 10 – and another rugged 75 runs – will determine who walks out of the Lazy E Arena with the PRCA world championship gold buckle and saddle.
The Lazy E Arena was built to host the NFSR in 1984 by E.K. Gaylord II. The Lazy E hosted this world championship event from 1984 until 2000. After eight years, first in Amarillo followed by Hobbs, the event moved back “home” to the Lazy E. In 2009, the Oklahoma state Legislature unanimously passed a resolution to change the name of the event to honor the late Clem McSpadden, who served for many years in the Oklahoma Legislature and the U.S. House of Representatives while also building a reputation as one of the best announcers in rodeo history. He worked the steer roping finals a record 27 times. McSpadden was also known as the “Voice of the Lazy E”.
Steer roping fans will enjoy all of the activities planned for the performances and in addition, the Senior National Finals Steer Roping will take place during the day at the Lazy E Arena on Nov. 11-12. VIP ticket prices for each performance of the NFSR are $37 … Box seats $30 and general admission $20 pre-show. Children 12 and under are free in general admission. Group discounts are also available … Call (800) 595-RIDE for complete details. A portion of the proceeds from the 2011 Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping will again be donated to the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City and the Clem McSpadden Endowed Chair at Oklahoma State University. The Lazy E is proud to support these institutions for Western preservation.
Tickets are on sale now available at www.lazye.com, all ticketmaster outlets, by calling Ticketmaster (800) 745-3000 or by calling the Lazy E directly at (800) 595-RIDE. Call now for the best seats possible for this world championship.
The 2011 Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping is presented by National Saddlery, with support from Wrangler, American Farmers & Ranchers Insurance, Boyd Gaming, Montana Silversmiths, the American Quarter Horse Association, Justin Boots, Priefert Ranch & Rodeo Equipment, Ram Rodeo, John Vance Auto Group, Pendleton Whisky, Purina Mills, Cinderella Horses, the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo, Kyler Cattle Company, the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, The Oklahoman, One Stop Copy Shop, the Fairfield Inn & Suites – Edmond, Best Western – Edmond, and the Comfort Suites – Edmond.
The Clem McSpadden NFSR is a Lazy E Production. For more information on the NFSR or other Lazy E events, contact the Lazy E Arena, 9600 Lazy E Drive, Guthrie, OK 73044, (405) 282-RIDE, (800) 595-RIDE or visit www.lazye.com.