A note from Chelsea Shaffer
Isat on a panel by the stripping chute of the South Point Arena for just about every short round at the World Series of Team Roping Finale XII. I watched the abject heartbreak on some ropers’ faces after splitting the horns for more money than they’ll make in the next few years, and I saw some shaking with excitement after they just caught the most important steer of their lives. World Series of
Team Roping producer Troy Shelley sat next to me, telling ropers who went to first in the average to wait just a second by the gate, just in case they would be the ones making the victory lap.
Some sat there smacking their ropes on their legs, taking their cowboy hats on and off and wiping their brows. Husbands and wives shook hands and looked deeply at each other and then back at the arena with bated breath. Some sat stoic—unbelievably so—almost like the poise they’d drilled into themselves before backing in the box wasn’t ready to wear off.
By the time they got upstairs to the South Point awards stage to talk to us media types, they were out of breath and sometimes, out of words. Nearly every roper realized that somehow, their lives were about to change thanks to the steer they roped that day. They realized, too, that they had just helped change their partners’ lives, a fact they said made it that much more sweet.
Erich Rogers and Cory Petska weren’t really all that different Saturday night in the Thomas & Mack. They’d just won the
world title, on a steer that did everything it could to take them out of contention. The enormity of the task didn’t quite sink in by the time they got back to the press room in the arena’s underbelly. The emotion hit Rogers when he realized that he’d just helped Petska get his first world title—something that meant more to him than winning it himself.
I hope we’ve managed to capture a glimpse of what those 10 days were like for those of you who couldn’t be there. Even more, I hope there’s some information in here that will get you to Vegas someday, either for that little 10-header at the Thomas & Mack or that $12-million jackpot down the road at the South Point.