RENO MIL­LION

Spin to Win Rodeo - - Features - By Ken­dra San­tos

The only thing Peg and Jim Wil­liams love more than rop­ing is each other. The 58-year-old mar­ried champs of this year’s Reno Mil­lion’s life re­volves around their fa­vorite past­time, which boosted their house­hold’s bot­tom line by a hefty $200,000 when they won the 21st an­nual No. 11 rop­ing—for­merly the Reno Rodeo In­vi­ta­tional— on June 20.

The only thing Peg and Jim Wil­liams love more than rop­ing is each other. The 58-year-old mar­ried champs of this year’s Reno Mil­lion live a life that re­volves around their fa­vorite pas­time, which boosted their house­hold’s bot­tom line by a hefty $200,000 when they won the 21st an­nual No. 11 rop­ing— for­merly the Reno Rodeo In­vi­ta­tional—on June 20. By Ken­dra San­tos

“When we first started rop­ing we were thrilled if we won enough to pay our fees and buy din­ner,” the Wil­liamses said in uni­son. “We’re still amazed at what Denny Gen­try has done for am­a­teur team rop­ers. To be able to win this kind of money and prizes for catch­ing four steers is un­be­liev­able to us.”

Their 38.54 sec­onds on four head, which bested this year’s 136-team field, fin­ished 2.44 sec­onds ahead of re­servists Marti An­der­son and Roy Owens, whose 40.98 on four paid them $56,000. Rid­ing into the short round sev­enth high call, the Wil­liamses said win­ning the whole shootin’ match never re­ally crossed their minds.

“I sure didn’t think we would win it,” Peg said as she stepped into the win­ner’s cir­cle. “I was hop­ing we would place in the top five. I hon­estly didn’t think we had a chance to win it. We were go­ing to go make our run, and then let ev­ery­body else do their thing and see how it all ended up. When I go into a short round, I al­ways just want to be first in the av­er­age af­ter we rope. So go­ing in sev­enth, I just wanted to be first when we rode out of the arena. I want to take over the lead of the rop­ing, then it’s on ev­ery­body else’s shoul­ders to beat me.”

No­body did. One thing af­ter an­other took out all six teams that fol­lowed them. The Wil­liamses’ pre­vi­ous big­gest pay­check was a $76,000 model from the 2014 World Se­ries of Team Rop­ing Fi­nale in Las Ve­gas. But the money wasn’t the sweet­est part of their win at the Reno Mil­lion. The cash was trumped by self-sat­is­fac­tion.

“Watch­ing two feet go in the loop was the best part,” Jim grinned. “That’s it for me.”

Mr. and Mrs. Wil­liams are both 58, and South Dakota na­tives. She’s orig­i­nally from right around Rapid City, and he’s from the south cen­tral part of the state, down by the Oglala Sioux Reser­va­tion. They got mar­ried in 1981. That’s when life­long roper Jim—who’s a No. 6 heeler—in­tro­duced Peg—now a No. 4 Elite header—to the rop­ing bug. She’d pre­vi­ously com­peted in the other women’s rodeo events, in­clud­ing goat ty­ing, pole bend­ing and bar­rel rac­ing. But it was Jim who got his wife hooked on team rop­ing. It wasn’t that big a stretch, of course, based on the fact that, “I love horses,” Peg said.

South Dakota win­ters can make year-round rop­ing dif­fi­cult, if not im­pos­si­ble at times. The Wil­liamses are so pas­sion­ate about their pas­time that they moved their lit­eral dog and pony show— the fam­ily cur­rently con­sists of their main mounts, Cow­boy and In­dian, a cou­ple prac­tice horses and their blue heeler, Tater—to King­man, Ariz., in 1988 so they could rope year-round. Tater,

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