LAS VEGAS – The Cooper boys know how to rope, and they showed it Friday night during the second go-round of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
Team roping heeler Jim Ross Cooper of Monument, N.M., and tie-down roper Clint Cooper, who grew up in Lovington, N.M., each finished in third place on the second night of ProRodeo’s championship event.
Jim Ross and header Brandon Beers stopped the clock in 4.6 seconds, while Clint roped and tied his calf in 8.0 seconds. Those third-place runs earned each cowboy $11,340. It was the first time at this year’s NFR that the Lea County Coopers placed.
This is the fifth NFR for the Coopers, who are cousins. Both their fathers are world champions and inductees of the ProRodeo Hall of Fame; Clint’s father, Roy, is an eight-time world champ, while Jim Ross’ dad, Jimmie, won the 1981 all-around gold buckle.
Both also are “Riding for the Brand” for Tate Branch Auto Group, which has dealerships in the southeastern New Mexico communities of Hobbs, Artesia and Carlsbad. Their NFR teammate, two-time world champion saddle bronc rider Taos Muncy of Corona, N.M., bucked off his horse, Tiger Warrior, which is part of the Calgary Stampede bucking string.
Eight nights remain in ProRodeo’s grand finale, so there are plenty of more opportunities for the three New Mexicans to earn top payoffs.