OKLAHOMA CITY – Spencer Mitchell has a rare distinction heading into the 2013 edition of the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo.
Mitchell, a header from Colusa, Calif., is one of just three champions who can defend the titles they earned last April at State Fair Arena in Oklahoma City, joining tie-down roper Matt Shiozawa and barrel racer Brittany Pozzi.
“It’s a great rodeo, it pays well and it’s prestigious,” said Mitchell, who was a late replacement for Riley Minor, who had suffered an injury earlier in the season and wasn’t able to compete with his brother, Brady Minor. “Last year I got in on a deal, and this year Russell Cardoza and I did real well in our circuit and did real well in our (California) Circuit Finals.”
Mitchell earned around $10,000 last April, earning little money prior to the final run. They got through the opening two go-rounds without a paycheck, then were solid in the eight-team semifinals to qualify for the final round, which featured the top four teams. That’s where they dominated, posting a run in 3.7 seconds to win the lion’s share of the money and a $20,000 voucher for a Ram pickup.
“I held off on getting anything most of the year, then (Ram Rodeo representatives) brought me a new truck right to the NFR,” said Mitchell, a two-time qualifier to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
Erich Rogers, a two-time NFR qualifier from Round Rock, Ariz., took care of business with heeler Nick Sarchett in the Turquoise Circuit. They’ll make trip to Oklahoma City, which is something to which Rogers has grown accustom – he’s qualified each of the last four seasons for the RNCFR.
“It’s a smaller version of the NFR,” Rogers said. “It’s a fun building to be in when you consider the Wrangler (National) Finals used to be at it. It’s fun to be in there and compete at a rodeo in that building. The ground is usually good, and the set-up is fast.”
That’s just the way the greatest ropers in the game like it.