Lazbuddie roper wins USTRC open

By Julie Bryant: U.S. Team Roping Championships

In what was a star-studded field of open ropers at the U.S. States Team Roping Championships Southwest Regionals, it was the local ropers who fought to the top of the 63-team field Thursday at the Curry County Events Center.

Josh Morris of Lazbuddie and Brandon Gonzales of Bosque came from the third call back position to defeat former world champions Patrick Smith and Speed Williams and win a $5,000 paycheck.

Roping in a time of 6.70 seconds, the pair posted a total time of 36.63 on five head, and only had to wait on the world champions who were to follow, then the top finalists, another formidable pair of three-time NFR qualifier Keven Daniel and two-time NFR qualifier Russell Cardoza.

Williams and Smith ran into as Williams quickly roped the steer, with Smith tracking a bit too closely as his horse and the steer briefly collided. Smith recovered quickly, roping two heels in a time of 8.77, posting a total time of 38.67 on five. Fate would also frown on the team of Daniel and Cardoza as Daniel’s looped missed the mark, dropping them from the money.

Morris admitted he hadn’t roped with USTRC for a while, but the roping, less than an hour from his home, was just too close to miss. “It turned out good,” he said. “We had great steers all day. Didn’t draw a bad one.”

Gonzales, smiling ear to ear, said it was a real confidence builder to be able to defeat world champion and NFR qualifiers. “They roped really well all day long, but it was a great birthday present for me to be able to win.”

Capturing the Open incentive average were local roper Clay Lewis of Clovis and Jed Middleton of Wolfforth, Texas, who roped four in a time of 30.49 to earn $2,874.

The No. 15 Preliminary, which allowed ropers to qualify for the all-important “Shoot Out” Finals, was won by Lane Ivy of Amarillo, who paired up with Clovis roper Logan Medlin. The pair won $2,778 and a qualification to the Shoot Out.

The team of Body Baize of Anthony and Calvin Taylor of Canutillo, Texas, left the Curry County Event Center $5,082 richer after roping in a time of 7.14 as the sixth callback to post a time of 39.21 on five to win the Southwest Regionals No. 15 Shoot Out.

The event continues through Sunday and admission is free.