THE NEW GAME
Denny Gentry addresses changes to the USTRC National Finals of Team Roping.
When Active Interest Media announced its purchase of the USTRC mid-year, ropers had to know there would be a few changes at the National Finals of Team Roping in Oklahoma City. The August advertisements for the NFTR went out before anyone had an opportunity to review, much less alter, them. As a result, this September issue of the magazine contains the official new forms and new schedules. You may also find this information at the website ustrc.com.
After a slow decline for several years the 2016 US Finals dropped nearly 2,000 teams from 2015. By late July, a management team had been assembled to brainstorm a few ideas at the regionals and then address the 2017 US NFTR. The mood of this new group is very upbeat, and it didn’t take long for them to cut to the chase. While the US NFTR is the largest-attended roping in the world, the time has come to accept its position as second-richest roping in the world, and stop the chase. That will allow the event focus to change from baby boomers with deep pockets to providing a better overall experience for a broader group. That’s not to say that the NFTR will not provide at least four ropings focused toward that group; but the underlying effort will be on simplifying everything, giving customer service wherever possible and taking pride in the event, its history and what it has meant to thousands of ropers over the years.
With that said, the plan emerged very quickly: support those who have supported the program all year long by softening the price of Shoot-Outs. For ropers entering with flex earnings, Shoot-Out fees are reduced to $400/roper. Direct entry for ropers without flex earnings will be $500/roper. This is not a late fee! All the entry money will find its way into the pot. The thinking is simple. Ropers entering the preliminaries in the past were fighting to get into Shoot-Outs. By eliminating the preliminaries, we can provide them the opportunity to go directly to the Shoot-Outs for no more than the price a Shoot-Out has been over the last couple of years.
Preliminares are eliminated and replaced with direct entry to the Shoot-Out.
To simplify matters, after decades the “Preliminaries” have been eliminated. The management team decided that the amount of money moved to the Shoot-Outs from the prelims, and the amount of purses paid in the preliminary itself, made both efforts mediocre. Those moneys will be better spent where they are intended. If ropers want to run at the big money then ropers without Flex earnings will be provided the opportunity to directly enter the Shoot-Out. Those simply wanting to jackpot will find opportunities both in OKC (where time permits) and at the Guthrie Championships.
The elimination of the preliminaries will reduce the number of ropings at the Finals by seven (21 to 14). The benefits of having one-third more money focused on fewer divisions should help payoffs.
The pricing strategy revolves around rewarding customer loyalty. If you act early, and have supported USTRC, on-time payments are discounted. If your entries are direct or late, you’ll pay a higher fee. There are no such thing as late fees, the higher entry fees are added to the pot. Same with stalls rentals. Reserving a stall by the deadline will be both cheaper and easier than showing up and standing in line. Phone entries and stall reservations will also be available.
Those moneys will be better spent where they are intended. If ropers want to run at the big money then ropers without Flex earnings will be provided the opportunity to directly enter the Shoot-Out.