By the time you read this column the 2018 National Finals of Team Roping will be in the books and I will have had the opportunity to experience the USTRC from a whole new perspective—and hopefully I’ve had a chance to meet and talk with some of you.
Speaking of perspective, as I reflect on the number of conversations that I’ve had this last few months with you—the ropers, contractors and fans of our sport—it amazes me how many different opinions that people have shared and how different those opinions can be. Most of these conversations begin with, “You know what needs to happen at the USTRC?” I then get that person’s opinion on the state of the team roping industry. What seems the most amazing is the amount of information that some people have and the amount of that information that is factual. One subject that has been discussed over and over are the current and future changes. Now that the NFTR is completed the USTRC team is evaluating what worked and what needs more attention. You can bet that we will make all the adjustments and be back to you in early January 2019. We certainly understand that the USTRC needs to expand to greater ropings and next year the USTRC needs to put the cool factor back into our association.
Over this past season my perspective has certainly changed. Being a team roper myself I used to see the team roping world from the outside in—now I have seen it from the inside out and I am loving every minute! What I have now are new expectations for the very bright and exciting things to come. The USTRC team needs your input! We care about getting it right! I don’t believe we need any more practice, we have had all the time we need! Now we need action and we need to listen to ideas and put more positive ideas into play.
We kicked off the season with the Junior NFR program for the kids and then introduced the Exclusives which is the USTRC’s version of the age-protected ropings. Basically, working both age groups. As usual, new ideas can take time to be accepted, but the Exclusives are gaining ground and we expect to see continued growth in the 2019 season. We are excited about the Junior Team Roping at the Wrangler National Finals and we are in the planning stages for the event’s future. One idea is to count the winning of the teenage ropers from ALL the USTRC team ropings. The youth need the opportunity to be able to compete as inexpensively as possible.
Occassionally ideas need time to be accepted. One of the new initiatives was the introduction of the Key Card. You need to think of it more like a Costco Card with the discounts for members and less like a Gold credit card that entitles you to “stuff.” As the year went on we had the chance to talk about the Key Card to more of you. I believe that it will continue to gain acceptance and popularity as real discounts are realized.
In closing I want to take the opportunity to thank each of you for your support, your patience and your loyalty to the USTRC as we continue to strive to expand this great brand and America’s Cowboy Sport. I hope you had great Finals! We’ll see you down the road next season.