Top cowboys hope to rope 2011 world title
The best steer ropers in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association will converge on central Oklahoma Nov. 11 and 12 to decide the 2011 world championship of steer roping at the 53rd annual Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping presented by National Saddlery at the Lazy E Arena.
The two-day championship that begins at 7:30 p.m., each evening will feature the top 15 steer ropers from the final regular-season world standings, all chasing that elusive, yet coveted, Montana Silversmiths gold buckle given to the cowboy who earns the title of PRCA World Champion. Atop the list heading into this year's 10-round slugfest is 14-time World Champion Trevor Brazile, owner of a record eight all-around titles, three tie-down roping crowns, a team roping championship and two steer roping season victories. Through late August, he held a $13,000 lead over Vin Fisher Jr., the No. 2 man in the world standings.
"It's like any other event, where if you want to win the world title, you have to have a good finals," said Brazile of Decatur, Texas. "It's going to be close enough by that time that it will be about anyone's to win."
Brazile had a significant run at the 2010 steer roping finale inside the Lazy E last November, winning more than $28,000 in two days. But Kansan Rocky Patterson walked away with the world championship, setting a new standard in the process. Patterson, carrying a significant lead in the standings heading into the November finale, earned nearly $18,000 and finished fourth in the aggregate race. Most importantly, though, is that the money won at the Lazy E shot Patterson's season earnings to $101,685; he became the first cowboy in PRCA history to earn more than $100,000 in steer roping.
"I think the last two years have been good for me, but it's also a little combination for a lot of years at this," said Patterson, the two-time reigning world champion who has qualified for the steer roping finals for the 17th time in his storied career. "To me, longevity means something."
This year's field is expected to feature a who's who in the world of steer roping, including two-time world champion Scott Snedecor of Fredricksburg, Texas; Bryce Davis of Abilene, Texas; and Cody Lee of Gatesville, Texas--those contestants are firmly in the top 10, but there are several others who are battling their way through the remaining few weeks of the season to play in the world championship.
"There's a lot of tradition in steer roping," Brazile said. "It's the first event, period. It's one of the earliest cowboy sports. That tradition means a lot to me, plus it's just a cowboy event."
Brazile knows more than most the prestige that comes with winning the Steer Roping World Championship. The Texan owns a record eight all-around gold buckles, but his 2006 steer roping world title marked the first time in his career that Brazile had earned an individual event championship. One of just two men to have qualified for a ProRodeo national finals in all four roping disciplines--team roping (heading and heeling), tie-down roping and steer roping--he's also the man with the biggest target on his back when NFSR begins.
"I'm going to have to start roping better if I'm going to win another title," Patterson said. "When you're talking about Trevor, I think he's just that talented; I think he works hard at it."
As in years past and just like the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, the event will consist of 10 go-rounds to determine the PRCA World Champion and the final 2011 PRCA Steer Roping World Standings. On Nov. 11, Rounds 1 through 5 will take place--that means 75 runs in one night. Then Nov. 12, Rounds 6 through 10--and another rugged 75 runs--will determine who walks out of the Lazy E Arena with the PRCA World Championship gold buckle and saddle.
The Lazy E Arena was built to host the NFSR in 1984 by E.K. Gaylord II. The Lazy E hosted this world championship event from 1984 until 2000. In 2001, the steer roping finals event moved to Amarillo, Texas, for a five-year run then made a three-year stop in Hobbs, N.M. Officials at the Lazy E Arena could not be happier that this prestigious event has made its way back to Oklahoma. Last year, the Oklahoma state Legislature unanimously passed a resolution to change the name of the event to honor the late Clem McSpadden, who served for many years in the Oklahoma Legislature and the U.S. House of Representatives while also building a reputation as one of the best announcers in rodeo history. He worked the steer roping finals a record 27 times. McSpadden was known as the "Voice of the Lazy E."
Steer roping fans will enjoy all of the activities planned for the performances and in addition, the Senior National Finals Steer Roping will take place during the day at the Lazy E Arena on Nov. 11 and 12. VIP ticket prices for each performance of the NFSR are $37. Box seats $30 and general admission $20 pre-show. Children 12 and under are free in general admission. Group discounts are also available. Call 800-595-RIDE for complete details. A portion of the proceeds from the 2011 Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping will again be donated to the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City and the Clem McSpadden Endowed Chair at Oklahoma State University. The Lazy E is proud to support these institutions for Western preservation.