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.”