During the past weekend, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s top 15 steer ropers from the 2017 regular season saddled up for the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping in Mulvane, Kan., which is in the Wichita area.
Fans witnessed Scott Snedecor of Fredericksburg clinch his third world steer roping title.
After the last steer has been roped at the two-day NFSR on Saturday at Kansas Star Arena, Snedecor finished No. 1 in the world title race after earning $136,419 throughout the regular season and the Mulvane championships.
Twenty-three time PRCA world champion Trevor Brazile, an Amarillo native who lives in Decatur, finished runner-up in the world title race with $125,538.
Snedecor, 42, entered the NFSR ranked No. 4. But after earning $68,336 from making 10 runs, Snedecor finished as the world champion.
Snedecor won the NFSR average/aggregate title (event title) en route to winning gold buckle No. 3.
Snedecor also snared steer roping world titles in 2005 and 2008.
Brazile entered the NFSR ranked No. 5. After earning $62,273 over the weekend, Brazile moved up to No. 2 in the final standings.
John Bland of Turkey also competed in the NFSR for the first time. He finished fourth in the average, which helped him earn $17,622 overall at last weekend’s NFSR. He finished 10th in the 2017 world title race with $65,806.
Though he was far from winning the world title, Bland is an interesting story. His father, whose first name also is John, qualified for the National Finals Rodeo in bull riding in 1976 and 1977. His uncle, Steve, qualified for the NFR in tie-down roping in 1980 and his uncle, Rex, qualified for the NFR in steer wrestling in 1971-73.
The younger John Bland said he greatly benefitted from growing up around successful family members.
“They grew up doing it,” Bland said of his father and his uncles’ rodeo careers. “I grew up doing it. It’s just a rodeo family. I just gets in your blood.”
Bland, 43, grew up on a ranch near Tatum, N.M. He competed for New Mexico Junior College and Texas Tech. At the time, he competed in tie-down roping and team roping.
But after graduating from Texas Tech in the mid-1990s, Bland curtailed his rodeo activities and became heavily committed to ranching. But about three years ago, he took up steer roping. During the past year, the 43-year-old Bland finished in the money on the PRCA circuit a regular bases at qualified for the NFSR.
Bland received lots of help from his 16-year-old roping horse whose nickname is Salty. Salty, whose American Quarter Horse Association registered name is Carols Sassy Doc, won the 2917 AQHA/PRCA Steer Roping Horse of the Year.
Twenty-year-old Jess Lockwood of Volborg, Mont., became the youngest cowboy to clinch a world title on the Professional Bull Riders circuit and received a $1 million bonus at the 2017 PBR World Finals on Nov. 5 in Las Vegas.
In clinching the world’s most coveted bull riding title, Lockwood broke the age record set by Mike Lee of Decatur who snared the gold buckle at age 21 in 2004.
In the PBR, the world champion receives $1 million in addition to the prize money he earns during the regular season and the PBR World Finals. Lockwood’s total 2017 earnings were $1,525,292.
However, the world title race is based on points and Lockwood finished No. 1 with 4,832.5. Derek Kolbaba finished No. 2 with 4,415.
Stormy Wing of Dalhart finished ninth in the 2017 world race with 2,577.5. Wing earned $213,202 on the PBR circuit throughout 2017.
College rodeo update
On the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association circuit, Clarendon College is ranked No. 4 in the Southwest Region men’s team title race with 1,430 points after competing in the Nov. 2-4 Sul Ross Rodeo in Alpine. Tarleton State is ranked No. 1 with 1,990. The Sul Ross Rodeo was the fifth of 10 regional rodeos scheduled for the 2017-2018 regular season.
Brett Hoffman, a Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame member, has reported on rodeos for more than three decades. Email him at email@example.com.