Rocky ready for finale

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MULVANE, Kan. – Rocky Patterson is one of the most decorated Kansas cowboys in professional rodeo history.

He is a three-time world champion who has qualified 19 times for the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping. Still, he was on the verge of missing his 20th trip to the grand finale until some late-season heroics.

Rocky Patterson
Rocky Patterson

“I kind of had some horse trouble this year,” said Patterson, 48, of Pratt, Kan. “I gave a little thought to not rodeoing so much this year and trying to get some horses going for next year. Naturally that doesn’t work. You start going to rodeos, then you’re behind. It was working on me.”

Enter the prestigious Pendleton (Ore.) Roundup, which took place just a few weeks before the regular season came to a close. Using a borrowed horse from fellow NFSR qualifier Chet Herren of Pawhuska, Okla., Patterson roped about $10,000 and moved into the top 15 on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s money list.

Only the top 15 in the world standings qualify for the championship, set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 7, and Saturday, Nov. 8, at the Kansas Star Arena in Mulvane.

J.P. Wickett
J.P. Wickett

“We’re glad to go to the Kansas Star,” said J.P. Wickett, a 15-time NFSR qualifier from Sallisaw, Okla. “We’re glad to have that contract up there and increase the added money a little bit.”

The ropers will battle for their share of the $210,000 purse. When the competition ends, it will mark the first time in rodeo history that a PRCA world champion will be crowned in Kansas. That’s the draw of the Kansas Star Arena, the premier facility for Western sports and entertainment in the country.

“The facility is fabulous,” Wickett said. “Everything will be right there, and I think the steer ropers will just eat it up.”

That is especially true for Patterson, who was raised near Anthony, Kan., just 60 miles from the Kansas Star Arena. His home in Pratt is about 100 miles from the complex.

“I’m sure there will be some family and friends there being that close to home,” he said. “I don’t think they’ve had a National Finals of any kind in Kansas. It was really going to bother me if I had to buy a ticket to go to it.”

Instead, Patterson is 12th in the world standings and returning to the championship event at the Kansas Star Arena. Of course, it’s just like home to him.


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