Stephenville — A Premont roper was a big winner during the recent United States Team Roping Championships (USTRC) Texas Championships held April 14-17 in San Antonio at the Rose Palace. Colt Weeks of Premont was the winner in the #13 Handicap division defeating 145 other teams with partner Tate C. Weeks of Uvalde. The duo roped 5 steers in 41.5 seconds to split a $5,768 paycheck from the $17,710 total purse. The win qualified both ropers for the Cinch USTRC National Finals of Team Roping to be held in October on Oklahoma City.

The Texas Championships is one among more than 300 USTRC sanctioned and affiliated events to take place throughout the United States, including Hawaii, in 2011. A total of 2,189 teams from eight states and Mexico competed in the event with more than $234,000 in cash paid to more than 780 ropers. Ropers saw winners take home 10 Martin trophy saddles and 31 Gist Silversmiths trophy buckles, in addition to more than $160,000 in Flex Earnings to qualify them for the prized Regional and National Final Shoot Out position.

Sanctioned events, like the Texas Championships, give team ropers an opportunity to quality for the premier team roping events in the nation – the USTRC Regional Finals Series and the Cinch USTRC National Finals of Team Roping. Offering an estimated combined total of $2 million in cash and prizes, Regional Finals events are a stepping-stone leading to the USTRC Cinch National Finals of Team Roping in Oklahoma City, Okla., October 22-30. An estimated purse of more than $4 million in cash and prizes will be on the table for the taking at the event expected to attract more than 7,000 teams.

Team roping is a timed event that requires a team effort. A team is made up of a“header” and a “heeler.” The header’s job is to catch the steer around the horns, and then set it up by turning it across the arena. The heeler then rides in and ropes the steer around both hind legs. The clock is stopped when the steer is secured between both ropers and their horses are facing each other.

Much like in the sport of golf, ropers are handicapped or receive a classification rating based on their skill level and competitive ability. Ropers can be classified from a #1 to a #10, depending on their roping position and ability. The added total of both roping partners handicaps determines their divisio neligibility. For example, if the division is a #11, the total rating for both ropers cannot equal more than 11, with some divisions requiring a handicap floor.