LAS VEGAS – Jim Ross Cooper folded the golden sheet of paper that revealed the final team roping results from the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
“I’m keeping these for motivation,” said Cooper, 29, a four-time heeling qualifier from Monument, N.M.
Through 10 day of ProRodeo’s championship competition in the Nevada desert, Cooper and his partner, header Brandon Beers, earned $33,454. That’s a far cry from their goals they had set heading into the NFR, but those are the breaks that come with competing in the season finale.
“I would say this NFR is below average for what a guy expects,” Cooper said Saturday, moments after he and Beers posted a 4.5-second run for third place in the 10th round, worth $11,118. “You’d better expect good things, or you shouldn’t be here.”
Cooper should be in Las Vegas. While he’s disappointed, it is his best NFR in regards to earnings. He and Beers also earned a share of the third-round victory, and that helped toward the money. They also finished eighth in the average, finishing with a cumulative time of 51.1 seconds on seven qualified times; that was worth $4,507.
The fact that Cooper and Beers placed that night in the average is proof of just how tough team roping has been in Las Vegas.
“This building, and rodeo in general, has a way of showing you your weaknesses, so we’ll just keep trying to get better,” Cooper said of the Thomas & Mack Center. “There were two or three steers we didn’t catch that would’ve probably done us a lot of good to catch.
“Everybody’s trying their hardest. We just try to get better. This is almost doubled what Brandon and I won at our first NFR. If we just keep doing this, here in two or three years, we’ll be ready to roll.”
He was kidding, of course. Cooper and Beers have the talent to have exceptional careers in rodeo and to, eventually, win world titles like their gold buckle fathers, Jimmie Cooper and Mike Beers.
“It is mostly humbling to do what you enjoy and be top tier at it,” Jim Ross Cooper said.