DODGE CITY, Kan. – Mike Weir has a lot of confidence heading into next weekend’s Kansas Professional Rodeo Association Finals.
He should. After all, he and his partner, Brian Padilla, grew up together and have been roping together most of their lives. Between the open team roping and the 40-40 team roping, they have earned nine year-end titles together and would like to another average title from the KPRA finale, set for 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23-Saturday, Sept. 24, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25, at Roundup Arena.
“We’re right on the heels of the guys that are winning the standings right now,” said Weir, who, like his partner, is from Dodge City. “That’s where I’d rather be, sitting second going into the finals.”
Padilla and Weir have earned $7,563 in the KPRA this season and are within reach of the 40-40 team roping standings leaders, Justin and Brian Crist. Padilla is $123 behind Justin Crist, while Brian Crist has a $511 lead over Weir.
Now they’re in a race for another title.
“It proves to me that I can still compete against everybody,” Padilla said. “I’ve been doing it for years. I’ve gone to the PRCA rodeos, and when you go to those, it costs you a lot more money. This is just another way that I can be on top of the world in the heading side.”
The duo graduated from Dodge City High School in 1989, but they’ve been around rodeo a lot longer than that. Now they’re both passing that passion for the sport on to the next generation. Weir has twin boys that are already doing well, and Padilla is just getting his youngsters started in the game.
“Rodeo is very hard,” Weir said. “You drive all night, get home and get up to go to work, then you get off work and do it again. There were times this summer where we went to four rodeos in a week, so you were always going.
“I love it, though. I like the people in the sport more than anything. I love to get to visit with the people, and I love to compete. I’ve done it ever since I was a kid.”
That competitive nature has shown brightly over the years. Padilla and Weir have earned the open team roping title eight times and have added the 40-40 – an event made up of teams whose combined ages are at least 80 years old.
With years of experience together, they like their chances when it comes time to enter the arena.
“Mike and I just know each other, and we know exactly what needs to be done,” Padilla said. “We know each other like the back of our hand. That’s what makes us so competitive.”
Weir echoed those sentiments – even down to the same cliché – in identifying what makes them so successful.
“There’s just a lot of chemistry, but we’ve been roping together since we were kids,” Weir said. “It’s good that we can compete at the finals in Dodge City. Anytime you can compete at a hometown rodeo, it’s great. You feel like you’ve got one up on the competition. It’s definitely a home-field advantage.”