Calf roping under way at Mounted Patrol Arena

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks Richard Gray of Smyer, Texas, shows his calf-roping skills Friday afternoon in Joe’s Boot Shop Calf Roping event at the Mounted Patrol Arena at the Curry County Fairgrounds. Gray is 70 and has been roping calves since was 8.

By Mickey Winfield: Freedom Newspapers

Dirty cowboy hats and dusty saddles are right at home at the third annual Joe’s Boot Shop calf roping competition at Clovis’ Mounted Patrol Arena this weekend.

The contest kicked off Friday afternoon and continues through Sunday. Competitors have come from all over the Southwest, and they come for different reasons.

Kirsten Stubbs, 16, from Eldorado, Texas, has been roping since she was about 5 and says it’s the competition and camaraderie that attracted her to the sport.

“It’s competitive, one-on-one, and I have a lot of friends at the rodeos,” Stubbs said. “It’s good roping. It’s one I don’t miss.”

Arizona resident Dustin Martin, 16, explains why he travels to this event.

“It’s good roping,” Martin said. “We’ve been here a couple of times before. They’ve got a lot of money that goes out — it pays good.”

Martin attends between 50 and 60 rodeos a year, and says it’s a sport his whole family participates in.

“My family’s been around rodeo my whole life and I just kind of grew up around it,” Martin said. “We’re pretty much gone every weekend all the time, going different places.”

Joe Rhodes, owner of Joe’s Boot Shop in Clovis, said the competition has grown each year and has turned into a must-attend for regional ropers, with a total prize pool this year of about $140,000.

“It is the biggest calf roping (event) in the area,” Rhodes said. “There’s one in Oklahoma that’s a little bigger, but we’re trying to make this the biggest, and hopefully we will.”

Calf roping action resumes at 9 a.m. today. Tickets are available at the gate, at Joe’s Boot Shop, or by calling 763-3764.