New Mexico ropers competitive in USTRC

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks Donnie J. Helmer, front, the header, and son Chad Helmer, the heeler, competed on Friday in the United States Team Roping Southwest Regional finals at Curry County Events Center. They didn’t get a time on the run.

Julie Bryant

New Mexico ropers took on the competition in fine fashion from neighboring states, and some from as far away as Georgia and Alabama, capturing some economic stimulus on their way to top spots at the United States Team Roping Championships (USTRC) Southwest Regional Finals on Friday at the Curry County Events center.

The event has already paid nearly $150,000 in cash of the expected $300,000 to be awarded this weekend.

In a roping designed for big money and ropers 21 and older, the USTRC Gold Plus offered a purse of $50,560, the richest of the day. Tyler Riggan and Taylor Pettigrew literally sweat out three rounds to defeat 214 other teams in the final and fourth round, roping as the top finalists in a time of 8.15 for a cumulative time of 29.24 on four head. Were it not for the need of deodorant, the Texas and New Mexico team of Riggan of Snyder and Pettigrew of Tatum, might never have left the Curry County arena smelling like a rose and $9,752 richer after winning the No. 12 Gold Plus.

“We’ve known each other about a year and only met because I was walking past his trailer at a roping and asked if he had any deodorant,” said Riggan, who will marry soon and move to Lubbock from Snyder. “This is the first time we’ve ever roped together, though. I had to call him about two months ago because he usually already has all the partners he needs.”

Pettigrew, who runs Mesa Feed in Tatum, couldn’t stop smiling as he reflected on the win. “I just told Tyler to ask God for strength and I give God all the glory,” he said.

In the No. 13 Preliminary, Texas and New Mexico teamed up to come from the 10th place position to take the win. Aaron Macy of Post and Randy Sanchez of Jarales spun their ropes to stop the clock in a time of 8.30, posting a final time of 35.28 on four to win $3,404.

Javier Chavez Minguer of Santa Fe, though small in stature, roped in a big way with 19-year-old college student Brandon Baca of Las Vegas during the No. 13 Shoot Out.

Stopping the clock with a time of 7.35, the team posted a total time of 35.68 on five steers to earn $10,000 of the $19,118 purse. Brandon, a student at Luna Community College with plans to transfer to the New Mexico State University rodeo team, said this was the second win in less than a month for him and Minguer.

“We’ve roped together for about year and won another saddle about two weeks ago in Colorado Springs,” he said. The pair won more than $3,500 there in the same division at the Colorado Championships.

Coming in second was the team of Katey Anthony of Jal and Lane Siggins of Ruidoso, roping five in a time of 40.83 to earn $4,560. Texas ropers Monroe Timberlake of Hereford and Monty Wood of Silverton teamed up to win $3,038 roping five in a time of 42.31.

The No. 12 Preliminary saw 96 teams compete for a purse of $12,884 and Portales roper Kenny Martinez paired up with Colorado roper Justin Price of Laveta to rope four in a time of 33.29 to win $4,776.