Tandem tangos in Estes Park

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ESTES PARK, Colo. – It was almost a year ago when header Jase Staudt and heeler Jayden Johnson began roping together.

The two are making things work, even though they live seven hours apart. They stopped the clock in 6.7 seconds during Sunday’s third performance of Rooftop Rodeo; they sit third in the second go-round and second in the two-run aggregate with a cumulative time of 12.7 seconds.

Estes Park was the perfect meeting point, and they’re taking advantage of it.

“Last summer, I was looking for a partner for Cheyenne, and we went and roped there and did a little bit of good,” said Staudt, 27, of Saguache, Colorado. “We finished out the rest of the circuit rodeos through August and September together, and it went really good.

“I love roping with Jayden, so it just made sense for us to start the year off this year and rodeo together.”

Staudt has had more overall success, roping the all-around championships at the last two Mountain States Circuit Finals Rodeos. Both are focused on regional rodeos; the Mountain States Circuit is made up of rodeos and contestants primarily from Colorado and Wyoming. It’s a good mix for the two cowboys. Johnson, whose father, Justin, competed in team roping for several years, and his uncle, Jhett, was the 2011 world champion heeler.

“It’s been awesome roping with Jase,” said Johnson, 28, of Casper, Wyoming. “We clicked and did good, and then he called me again this year to see if I wanted to rope again, and I said, ‘Yeah, absolutely; let’s do it.’ ”

Rooftop Rodeo is a major stop in the circuit, and this is a good chance for the tandem to pick up some big-time cash in just a few days. They love making their way to Estes Park every July.

“This is a great place to be,” Staudt said. “It doesn’t get more beautiful, and they have nice stalls and great hospitality. The committee is great to everybody. It’s a pleasure to be here.”

Is staying in the circuit their primary focus?

“We both have pretty good jobs and stuff and have some ranch work that we need to do,” Staudt said. “He drives trucks and hauls a bunch of cattle, so we like going to these circuit rodeos.”

Neither is ruling out making a run for world titles and qualifying for the National Finals Rodeo.

“I would say (the circuit) is about good right now, especially with having ranch duties and other business stuff to do,” Johnson said. “The circuit is pretty easy to go to, especially when you make your own schedule. I thought I’d like to maybe one day try to make the NFR. I think it’d be a really fun, good experience.”

Until then, they just hope to rope in a little Rocky Mountain money in Estes Park.


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