Turn­ing Points

Jake Barnes and Clay O’Brien Cooper win the first-ever team rop­ing at the Daddy.


The city of Cheyenne, Wyo., has cel­e­brated its Western roots with Cheyenne Fron­tier Days since 1897, but the rodeo has only in­cluded team rop­ing in that fes­ti­val since 2002. The Daddy jumped on board just four years be­fore team rop­ing be­came a manda­tory stan­dard event in the ProRodeo, and, ft­tingly, le­gends Jake Barnes and Clay O’Brien Cooper took home the frst-ever Cheyenne Fron­tier Days team rop­ing ti­tle.

“I was ex­cited be­cause I’d never even been on the fair­grounds there in Cheyenne,” Barnes re­mem­bered. “I had al­ways heard it was the Daddy of ’Em All, and I’d heard of guys win­ning big money for all those years and I’d never stepped foot on those grounds.”

That year, to make things even more in­ter­est­ing, they roped fresh mu­leys.

“That was old school,” Barnes said. “Back when Clay and I were rop­ing, it was some­thing we did a lot at home, and there weren’t a lot of peo­ple at that time who roped a lot of mu­leys.”

Barnes’ fre­quent ex­pe­ri­ence in the prac­tice pen made heel­ing be­hind him easy, Cooper said.

“We made three re­ally nice runs,” Cooper said. “They were so easy. The rea­son was Jake do­ing such a great job. He made them so easy to rope, and that’s not easy to do run­ning fresh ones like that.”

The win came at a time when Barnes and Cooper were fght­ing for a spot in the top 15.

“We weren’t so much un­der the gun then,” Cooper said. “We needed a big week, and we got one.”

For Barnes, the win marked his frst of two in Cheyenne. He won it again in 2011 with Walt Woodard.

“It’s an emo­tional high,” Barnes said. “It’s one of the most thought-of rodeos. It’s a huge deal. If you can win Cheyenne, Salinas or Pendle­ton, that’s a feather in your hat.”


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