These last nine months have been a whirlwind since I came on board with the USTRC back in January. I have been extremely optimistic about what we have been implementing to make the association better—and for good reason. I sure don’t want to point a negative light about its past, but despite the USTRC Finals being up a little last year, there wasn’t a lot of bright spots to talk about when I walked in the door. (Exactly the type of scenario anyone taking the job should smile about— opportunity abounding, with so little reason to fear failure.)
The USTRC staff pulled a rabbit out of the hat finishing the 2017 regionals after the sale to Active Interest Media and growing the NFTR with some positive changes.
So, let’s fast forward 13 months for the staff and nine months for me, starting with this publication. The industry was having trouble supporting two national publications and SuperLooper was getting the worst of it. The Team Roping Journal is doing great and we hope you like what you see each month.
The Exclusive ropings were introduced to bring the older ropers back to the USTRC. They have really started making a difference as team counts at the qualifiers have been steadily rising in the majority of the markets. The changes in payoffs are being well received and it isn’t any surprise that the Priefert World Series barrier is making folks happy. We have embraced the youth market to the extent that there are now at least two other outfits trying to follow suit.
Like most new programs, at its introduction, The Key Card benefits were not fully understood, but it is starting to make a name for itself based on the amount of money it is saving ropers who are entering the NFTR. To help promote this program in the new season it will be the only membership card available October 1 (look for the form in this issue). The standard membership will not be available until November 1. Not only will word of mouth drive growth in this next year, ropers who jumped on board out of the gate will undoubtedly hold The Key Card again, having saved tons of entry fee money. Applying discounts for ropers based on what they’ve spent—in addition to what they win—what a great idea! Look for more benefits here as we move forward.
The #10 American Cowboy qualifiers are really taking seed at the WSTR ropings, and we have quite a few planned for our upcoming USTRC program. This is something new and exciting that is only going to get better each year.
Classifications shifted to objective analysis with subjective oversight by four associations. Not only did we lower thousands of #4 ropers to #3’s and have added #7 ropings, but we cleared a logjam of over 5,000 card issues along the way. We paid for a 15-year rewrite of the roping software and are currently scheduling training for top producers and their staff on our new state-of-the-art event management software.
Closing the Stephenville, Texas, office and moving it to Albuquerque, N.M., was a lot of work and caused a lot of logistical issues. I hope you agree that this was done seamlessly as our goal was to maintain customer service without interruption. It was labor intensive, but a great achievement for our team.
In closing, I’m not being a rah-rah guy by any stretch of the imagination—if someone spiked the cool-aid, they were pretty sneaky. I really am excited about the direction I see things going and somehow hope I can get you folks to feel the same way.
We are very excited about the upcoming NFTR as we are diligently pulling it all together. We have a great crew, great cattle and a lot of excited ropers looking forward to the new Finals program. If you haven’t entered already, I sure hope you will join us and “Experience the Difference” at the 29th Annual NFTR!