HEMPSTEAD, Texas – The Waller County Fair and Rodeo is a bright beacon on the radar of ProRodeo’s brightest stars.
From a world-class rodeo to some outstanding opportunities for the greatest names in the game, the path to Hempstead is programmed as a favorite on everyone’s GPS. A big reason for that is The Eliminator, which traditionally has featured eight of the greatest tie-down ropers in rodeo.
This year’s list of tie-down ropers falls into that same category, and they will all battle for that prize Tuesday, Sept. 27. But the Waller County Fair Board has added the Team Roping Eliminator, which takes place Wednesday, Sept. 28.
“We’ve had a lot of success with The Eliminator in the first two years we’ve had it,” said Paul Sholler, co-chairman of the rodeo committee. “We have some great team ropers lined up, like Joe Beaver, Luke Brown, Jake Long, Colby Lovell, Travis Graves and Kaleb Driggers. We want to have these kinds of competitions because we know the fans love them.”
Fairgoers are treated to outstanding entertainment and competition throughout the exposition, but it is turned up over the final five nights of the fair and rodeo. The tie-down roping eliminator is just the start of it all.
“I just enjoy the fact that it’s a head-to-head competition and it’s unique,” said Shane Hanchey, the 2013 tie-down roping world champion from Sulphur, La. “It’s unlike anything we go to all year. You can break the barrier (and suffer a 10-second penalty) and still survive is someone misses.”
What makes The Eliminator so unique is the format, by which each competitor or team will rope in the first round. The slowest time is eliminated, and that process continues through the remaining rounds until one is crowned champion.
“We have a lot of good rodeo fans, especially calf roping fans, in this area, and it’s been a big hit,” said Clint Sciba, chairman of the Waller County Fair Board and co-chairman of the rodeo committee. “It’s a lot of fun to watch because of the format.
“It’s been such a hit that we decided to add a night to it and bring in some outstanding team ropers. Joe Beaver may have made a name for himself as a calf roper, but he won the all-around because of team roping. We’ve got a lot of (National Finals Rodeo) qualifiers that will be part of it.”
“It’s just a different deal, and we’re all there together by the roping boxes waiting to go,” he said. “We have a game plan of what a person needs to do, so it’s pretty cool interaction. The cool part about Hempstead is there are a bunch of people in the stands. It’s a calf-roping town, and they know what they’re watching.”