Solid time keeps ropers in the running

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LAS VEGAS – Jim Ross Cooper looked around the room, then explained his Saturday night team roping run with header Brandon Beers.

“We caught,” said Cooper, a five-time NFR qualifier from Monument, N.M., one of three cowboys “Riding for the Brand” for southeastern New Mexico-based Tate Branch Auto Group. “Sometimes that’s very important.”

During the third go-round of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, Beers and Cooper stopped the clock in 5.2 seconds, finishing eighth in the round and out of the money. But they have a three-run cumulative time of 27.5 seconds and are fourth in the NFR average race – they are 10 seconds behind average leaders Turtle Powell and Dakota Kirchenschlager, but only six teams have had qualified times on three runs.

None of the three Tate Branch contestants actually captured a paycheck in the third round, but Clint Cooper of Decatur, Texas, continued to be solid. Clint Cooper, who grew up in Lovington, N.M., roped and tied his calf in 9.1 seconds. His three-round cumulative time of 26.5 seconds has him sitting fifth in the tie-down roping average race.

Taos Muncy, a two-time world champion saddle bronc rider from Corona, N.M., rode Korkow Rodeo’s Fraid Knot for 76 points and finished well out of the money. He was saddled with a no-score in the second round, but he remains first in the world standings.

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