Canada’s Schmidt and California’s Cox Strike for $100,000 at 2021 Reno Open

By Kendra Santos

Roping for big money on a Monday has been part of the rich Reno Rodeo week tradition since the Bob Feist Invitational Team Roping Classic moved to the Silver State nearly four decades ago in 1984. When COVID-19 shut Reno down in 2020, the BFI moved to the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Oklahoma. But back by popular demand in 2021, the producers of the BFI brought the BFI Reno Championship presented by Wild Rag Vodka to town. Canadian-born Kolton Schmidt and California-native Wyatt Cox roped six steers in 40.27 seconds to hit the $100,000 jackpot here in the Reno Livestock Events Center today, and the happy champs could not be more thankful.

 

“It doesn’t matter if it’s the first or second BFI event of the year, or what they call it, it’s a part of BFI tradition, we’re in Reno and it paid $50 grand a man,” said Schmidt, who grew up in Barrhead, Alberta, Canada, and currently calls Stephenville, Texas, home. “We roped against the best guys in the world today, and beat ’em. That’s a big deal.”

 

Arroyo Grande, California’s Cox also hangs his hat in Stephenville now, but like so many cowboy kids grew up being here in Reno on BFI Monday.

Kolton Schmidt and Wyatt Cox rode in for the introduction of the 15 short-round teams as high call at the 2021 Reno Open. Andersen C Bar C Photo

 

“Ever since we were all little kids, we’ve always come to the BFI here, sat behind the boxes and watched these guys win, then run around the arena and do their victory lap,” Cox said. “We’ve roped the dummy on the concrete and pretended we’re in Reno roping at the BFI since we were little. This day has been a dream of mine for forever.”

 

Schmidt—who’s 26 and with wife Katy is expecting a baby boy in October, just after they celebrate their first wedding anniversary—has roped at two Wrangler National Finals Rodeos. He headed for Shay Carroll at the 2016 NFR in Las Vegas, and roped with Hunter Koch at last December’s NFR 2020 in Arlington, Texas. The Schmidt-Cox connection—which bested the 99-team Reno Open field—is only a month and a half old. They first joined forces in May. Before that, Schmidt was heading for Koch, and Cox was heeling for South Carolina’s Cory Clark.

 

“We’re winning third here in the first round of the Reno Rodeo, and we’ve placed along at some rodeos since we started roping,” Kolton said. “It’s been good, and Wyatt’s roped great.” 

 

Schmidt and Cox were 7.10 on their last steer to close the Reno Open deal. Andersen C Bar C Photo

 

“When I switched partners, I was kind of in a funny gear,” said Wyatt, who’s 25 and will celebrate his 26th birthday on August 17. “I was actually planning on going to work. Then Kolton called me, and you can’t really say no when a guy of his caliber that’s that serious calls. You’ve got to pick up the pieces and go.” 

 

That they’ve done. Kolton’s been riding an 11-year-old bay horse, Rebel, that he bought from Arizona’s Brady Payne in January. Kolton’s fellow Canadian Marissa Boisjoli trained him. Wyatt won the Reno Open riding a 13-year-old bay horse by the name of Max.

 

“We raised Max and he’s been with us since he was a baby, so it’s amazing to win this roping on him,” Cox said. “I’ve always been proud of him, but they say it can be troublesome to be too proud of your own horses. You can get caught up in that. But this horse amazes me. He’s like ‘The Little Engine That Could.’ Max has always been small, and he’s not the fastest horse in the world. But he makes up for it in try.”

 

Schmidt and Cox took command of the roping in Round 3.

 

“When we went 5.94 in the third round, it felt like we had a little breath of fresh air,” Kolton said. “Not that we were way ahead or anything, but I knew we were a part of it. We were 19 on three, and that’s when we took the lead. I knew we were in a good spot then, and we ended up staying there. 

 

“I didn’t want to rope scared today. I’ve always come to the BFI just trying to complete the course, because you win good money if you do. But it feels like it’s very easy for things to go wrong when you put your safety net up, try to be cautious and rope scared. All I thought about today here at the Reno Open was scoring, and just roping the cow where he was. I was actually really proud of myself today. I didn’t rope scared one time. I took my first shot, and I took good throws. I was happy with how I roped here today.”

 

They were 6.50, 7.37, 5.94, 6.41, 6.95 and 7.10 on their six steers. Translation: Schmidt and Cox did not back down.

 

“I fight with watching where I’m at in a roping, because we’re roping against the toughest guys in the world,” Wyatt said. “As soon as you relax for one second, that’s when they start to mash the gas and pass you up. I tried to just stay aggressive all day. With these guys, you can’t lay up. There’s no just trying to hit the fairway. You have to swing for the fences. 

 

“Before that last steer, we were sitting over there in the tunnel, about to walk in for introductions of the high-call teams. I just looked at Kolton and knocked knuckles with him. I said, ‘One more time?’ He said, ‘Yep.’”

 

With his first baby coming this fall and his $50,000 Reno Open check headed to the bank, Kolton Schmidt has a lot to celebrate. Andersen C Bar C Photo

 

They kept it simple to minimize the pressure cooker that comes with roping for $50 grand a man.

 

“I try not to think about the money part,” Kolton said. “It comes and goes so fast. All I know is it’s such a blessing when you do your job and get paid like this.”

 

These were the biggest checks of both Schmidt and Cox’s careers. Wyatt’s previous best was the $25,000 he won for sixth in the #15 roping at the 2017 World Series Finale in Las Vegas with his girlfriend, Cailee Hall. Another of his highlights here in Reno was winning the silver spurs at the 2016 Reno Rodeo with Garrett Tonozzi.

 

“My mother’s going to get ahold of this check,” Wyatt grinned in reference to Momma Cindy “Precious” Cox. “She’s my banker, and she’s the one who sits behind the computer. She has control, so this money’s probably going away for a while. 

 

“This kind of momentum going into the Fourth of July run is huge. I’ve been really studying hard trying to keep up with Kolton. He has a different tempo in a run. It’s very sharp, so there’s not really much room for error. I’ve been working on just trying to keep up and be sharp through the corner, be on time and be there when it happens. This win does wonders for my confidence. I’m sure it helps his, too, and as a team I think we’re going to be tough.”

 

Schmidt said the early 2021 jackpots were good to him. But then there was a slow stretch.

 

“I went through a dry spell for a month or so,” he said. “It’s been getting better, and I’ve started winning again the last two or three weeks. Things have started coming back together. Today was a big sigh of relief.  

 

 

Reno Open Producers Corky Ullman, left, and Daren Peterson, right, were joined in the 2021 winner’s circle by heading champ Kolton Schmidt, Wrangler’s Robert Lever and heeling winner Wyatt Cox. Andersen C Bar C Photo

 

“This is the biggest check I’ve ever won at one time, and I would say this is my career highlight, especially for how I grew up and how I first roped when I came down here from Canada. It was kind of a one-set track—go fast and risky—when I first got here. My style didn’t really fit The Feist format. But I’ve really worked hard the last few years, and felt like I put a lot of time into being ready for a day like today. To see the reward, and that it was worth my time is really cool.”

 

All of the open ropers were grateful for a second shot in one year at BFI-style paychecks. 

 

“Anytime you put in this much work toward a roping, I think it deserves all the credit in the world,” Wyatt said. “The people who put on this roping are helping the Western way of life, and they’re helping this entire industry by having this roping here in Reno. 

 

“We all want to come rope for this kind of money—this is life-changing. This is how you pay stuff off and get ahead in life. So many people get negative about whether or not you can make a living roping. Having more of these big-league caliber ropings offers guys more chances to make it roping. I wish they could have 10 BFIs a year.”

 

With 41.57 to Schmidt and Cox’s 40.27 on six, Brenten Hall and Chase Tryan finished second in the Reno Open average and earned $27,500 a man. Rounding out the top five teams in the average were reigning World Champs Colby Lovell and Paul Eaves, who were 42.16 and won $18,500 a man for third; fourth-place finishers John Henry Gaona and Trevor Nowlin, 42.35 for $11,500 a man; and Cody Snow and Wesley Thorp, who roped six steers in 43.01 seconds for fifth in the average and $9,000 apiece.  

 

In the Reno Open go-rounds, Jack Graham and Calgary Smith struck first in Round 1 with a 6.10-second run for $3,000 a man. Jake Orman and Brye Crites were 5.51 to take Round 2. Spencer Mitchell and Chris Young struck back-to-back to win Rounds 3 and 4 in 4.54 and 4.76, respectively. Dustin Egusquiza and Travis Graves were 4.47 to win Round 5 with the fast run of the day. Tyler Wade and Trey Yates won the short round with a 5.27-second run, and finished sixth in the average with 43.64 on six. 

 

To see complete Reno Open results and other stories on a great day of roping here in Reno, click here.

BFI Reno Open Championship Results

Average Results

  1. Kolton Schmidt and Wyatt Cox, 40.27 on 6, $100,000; 2. Brenten Hall and Chase Tryan, 41.57 on 6, $55,000; 3. Colby Lovell and Paul Eaves, 42.16 on 6, $37,000; 4. John Henry Gaona and Trevor Nowlin, 42.35 on 6, $23,000; 5.Cody Snow and Wesley Thorp, 43.01 on 6, $18,000; 6. Tyler Wade and Trey Yates, 43.64 on 6, $14,000; 7. Clint Summers and Ross Ashford, 44.95 on 6, $11,000; 8. Levi Simpson and Tyler Worley, 46.11 on 6, $10,000; 9. Dillon Holyfield and Breck S Ward, 46.46 on 6, $8,000; 10. Rhett Andeerson and Cullen Teller, 46.91 on 6, $7,000; 11. Coleman Proctor and Logan Medlin, 33.38 on 5, $6,5000; 12. Cory Kidd V and Ryan D Motes, 34.70 on 5, $6,000; 13. Chad Masters and Joseph Harrison, 36.13 on 5, $5,000; 14. JB James and Brock Hanson, 39.43 on 5, $4,500; 15. Laramie Allen and Truman Magnus, 39.80 on 5, $4,000.

 

Fast Time Round 1

  1. Jack Graham and Calgary Smith, 6.10 seconds, $6,000; 2. Casey Hayes and Brandon Bates, 6.36 seconds, $4,000; 3. Colter Todd and Junior Nogueira, 6.37 seconds, $2,000; 4. Erich Rogers and Paden Bray, 6.48 seconds, $1,000.

 

Fast Time Round 2

  1. Jake Orman and Brye Crites, 5.51 seconds, $6,000; 2. Cody Snow and Wesley Thorp, 5.65 seconds, $4,000; 3. Lane Ivy and Evan Arnold, 5.73 seconds, $2,000; 4. Trey Blackmore and Kory Bramwell, 5.90 seconds, $1,000.

 

Fast Time Round 3

  1. Spencer Mitchell and Chris Young, 4.54 seconds, $6,000; 2. Jake Orman and Brye Crites, 4.79 seconds, $4,000; 3. Rhen Richard and Jeremy Buhler, 5.22 seconds, $2,000; 4. Josh Torres and Jonathan Torres, 5.25 seconds, $1,000.

 

Fast Time Round 4

  1. Spencer Mitchell and Chris Young, 4.76 seconds, $6,000; 2. Dustin Egusquiza and Travis Graves, 4.91 seconds, $4,000; 3. Peyton Walters and Colton Brittain, 5.10 seconds, $2,000; 4. Tanner Baldwin and Clay Elkington, 5.13 seconds, $1,000.

 

Fast Time Round 5

  1. Dustin Egusquiza and Travis Graves, 4.47 seconds, $6,000; 2. Clay Smith and Jade Corkill, 4.57 seconds, $4,000; 3. Tanner James and Pace Blanchard, 4.59 seconds, $2,000; 4. Jack Graham and Calgary Smith, 4.77 seconds, $1,000.

 

Fast Time Round Short Go

  1. Tyler Wade and Trey Yates, 5.27 seconds, $3,000; 2. Cody Snow and Wesley Thorp, 5.36 seconds, $2,000; 3. Levi Simpson and Tyler Worley, 5.70 seconds, $1,000; 4. Rhett Anderson and Cullen Teller, 5.88 seconds, $1,000. 

Past BFI Champs Patrick Smith and Kory Koontz Are Here for the Money at Reno Open

By Kendra Santos

Patrick Smith and Kory Koontz have celebrated some of the most memorable moments of their cowboy careers right here in the Reno Livestock Events Center. They’re both on the back side of 40, so have seen more of their rodeo careers in the rearview mirror than is yet in front of them in that windshield. So what brings this pair of past BFI champs to the BFI Reno Championship presented by Wild Rag Vodka? That’s easy—today’s winning team will skip town $100,000 richer.

Patrick—who’s 41 and pulling pipes for 2020 Resistol Rookie Header of the Year Tanner Tomlinson here at the Wildest, Richest Rodeo in the West Reno Rodeo and also the Reno Open—won the 2005 Bob Feist Invitational Team Roping Classic with Clay Tryan, and struck again right here in this building in 2013 with Cowboy King Trevor Brazile.

Tanner Tomlinson and Patrick Smith running one down at the Reno Open. Andersen C Bar C Photo

 

“There’s prestige to this place,” said Smith, who won gold team roping buckles with Tryan in 2005 and Brazile in 2010. “As Tanner put it, he always wanted to rope at the BFI here. He didn’t get his chance after COVID shut Reno down in 2020. But this Reno Open is a great roping in its own right. And us coming to Reno for the rodeo and this roping is a great way to kick off Cowboy Christmas 2021.”

Koontz—who’ll be 50 on July 30—won his third BFI buckle in March with Manny Egusquiza at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Oklahoma. Kory first struck BFI gold here in Reno with Rube Woolsey in 1995, then went back-to-back when he and Matt Tyler got the BFI W in 1996.

“I would not be here at the Reno Open today if I hadn’t won the BFI this year,” said 22-time NFR heeler Kory, aka Dawg. “I’m not chasing points and trying to make another NFR anymore. But we don’t get many chances to rope at ropings that pay like this one does.

Manny Egusquiza and Kory Koontz won the 2021 BFI at the Lazy E earlier this year, and are back to do battle at the Reno Open. Andersen C Bar C Photo

 

“I made the decision to come here because I did win the BFI earlier this year. I know this isn’t technically the BFI, but no one’s ever had the chance to go back-to-back at two BFI ropings in one year before. Just being here is an opportunity no one’s ever had before.”

After a sketchy first-round run, Manny and Kory fought back with 5.9, 5.9 and 7 flat in rounds two through four. (They were yet to rope their fifth steer when this story went up.)

“I’ve had some very memorable days in this building over the years,” Kory said. “And this is a great-paying roping. I’m mostly going to circuit and amateur rodeos, giving private lessons and riding outside horses now. I’m still competing a lot, just closer to home. But a roping this big has brought a lot of us out of the woodwork.”

About Junior Nogueira and Colter Todd Teaming up at the Reno Open: It’s a God Thing

By Kendra Santos

On the ranch or in the arena, Colter Todd is as cowboy as they come. He shocked a lot of people when he rode quietly away from his rodeo career after roping at three straight Wrangler National Finals Rodeos from 2006-08. Those people don’t know Colter Todd. There’s a ton of buzz today in the Reno Livestock Events Center about how exactly Colter came to be heading for Junior Nogueira here at the BFI Reno Championship presented by Wild Rag Vodka. Their 6.37-second run, which was third in Round 1, kicked the roping rumor mill into high gear. Here’s the story about how we got here, but make no mistake—win, lose or draw, this has all been a God thing.

This unexpected curveball started bouncing when Kaleb Driggers’ head horse fell at a jackpot in Mount Pleasant, Texas, on June 2. He was roping with Wesley Thorp when that head horse went down and broke Driggers’ left hand. He’s since been playing a hopeful round of beat the clock on doctors’ expectations that it’d take four to six weeks to heal up enough to rope.

Nature
Todd and Nogueira going 6.37 in Round 1. BFI Reno Photo: Andersen C Bar C Photography

 

Kaleb and Junior were entered in the Reno Open, and were supposed to rope yesterday at the Reno Rodeo. They got traded to the last set of the rodeo here on Friday to give Driggers a few extra days to get enough strength in his left hand to hold his coils and manage the controls/reins. But that left Junior with no spinner for today’s Reno Open, which will pay $50 grand a man and is just too big an opportunity to pass up.

“It’s never a good time to get hurt, but coming into Reno is a terrible time,” Junior said. “All the rigs are here, and everyone’s excited and entered in the Reno Open. This time of year has a lot to do with who makes the NFR, and from this day forward is when we really get it.

“When I realized Kaleb wouldn’t be ready for this must-not-miss roping, my very first thought was Jake (Barnes, who got Junior to his first NFR in 2014). But I knew he was already entered with Clay O (Cooper). So I thought of Colter. By the time I got to rodeoing early in my career, Colter was done. I don’t know him very well, but I’ve always watched Colter rope and looked up to him. The only explanation I can think of for why I thought of Colter is that it must be a God thing. He’s a good Christian, and he’s a great cowboy. He went home to ranch and raise his kids, because that’s what he loves most. We all respect him for that.”

He’s got that right. But Junior called Colter anyway. And he said no.

“When I called Colter, he said, ‘No, I can’t do that,’” Junior said. “He told me it’s been dry in Arizona, so he needed to stay home and feed his cows and make sure they have water. He also told me, ‘Oh, Kaleb will surely be ready by then.’ I told him, ‘If he’s not, you can just fly to Reno. I don’t even care what you ride. I know we can go there and win it. But if we don’t, it’ll be a great time and I’ll get to bring you back, and so many people will be so happy to see you.’

“I just kept telling Colter, ‘We have nothing to lose.’ And having this chance to win big money this time of year when everybody’s rodeoing and all the open ropings are done is too big a chance to pass up. Whoever wins or places at this roping is going to be very happy with a lot to show for it, whether they’re headed out for Cowboy Christmas or headed back home to the ranch, like Colter is.”

Junior and Colter riding out after roping their first Reno Open steer in 6.37 seconds for third in the round. Kendra Santos Photo

 

Colter was horseback in the arena roping bulls during the last perf at the Arizona High School Rodeo Association state finals in Prescott when he got Junior’s call. He had a new cell phone with no contacts in it yet, so he didn’t pick up the first time it rang. But when the caller tried right back, he thought it might be important.

“It was Junior, he asked about roping here in Reno and I told him, ‘No, somebody has to be there at the ranch while (Colter’s wife) Carly takes (their first-born son) Colter Lee to the junior high finals in Des Moines (Iowa, which is on now), and that’s me,’” Colter said. “I don’t want to pawn my responsibility off on somebody else.

“I was in the arena roping bulls with (Colter and Carly’s youngest son) Traven, and he asked who that was who’d called. I told him it was Junior, and he immediately said, ‘Dad, you’ve got to do it.’ I told Traven, ‘No, if I’m going to be gone, it’s going to be to go to Des Moines to watch Colter Lee.’”

Junior flew home to Brazil—where he and wife Jaqueline finally had their first post-COVID chance to introduce their baby girl, Isabella, to her grandparents and extended Brazilian family—having no idea if he’d be roping here at the Reno Open or not. Meanwhile, Colter was talking to Carly, and she was with Traven, saying, “I think you should do it.”

“I finally told Junior yes, and it’s fun to be here,” Colter said. “I kept telling him that if he found someone else, there’d be no hard feelings. In fact, that’d be great. But he didn’t, and I wasn’t going to leave him hung out to dry. Anyway, here we are and it is fun. It’s Junior. That’s like when I get to heel for (Derrick) Begay. You don’t get chances like that every day.”

Junior’s riding his buckskin horse Timon here today. Colter’s riding his kids’ sorrel horse Shiner, who’s 9. Shiner is Colter and Carly’s daughter Madilyn’s head horse, and Traden heels on him, too. Their eldest Madilyn, who’s 15 already, qualified for the National High School Finals Rodeo that’s coming up in Lincoln, Nebraska, by the way. Colter’s brother-in-law Will Woodfin, who’s married to Colter’s sister, Savannah, helped tune him up for today.

Colter lost his mom, Lori, suddenly last November. His unwavering faith has provided the same peace about that as he had when he left the rodeo trail in his prime and never looked back.

“It was a good morning at the ranch, and we were all there,” he said of the day Lori headed to Heaven when her huge heart stopped suddenly and unexpectedly. “We moved cows that morning, and my mom and dad (Larrie “Rooster” Todd) went out to feed calves, and on the last bale she was gone. It was tough, but she had a good day at the ranch with the people she loved and there was no suffering. There’s already a day picked out for all of us, so I do have peace about it.”

Colter Todd is back, if only for today. Todd and Nogueira are a solid 23.87 on three so far. 
Kendra Santos Photo

 

Lori Todd could not have been prouder of the cowboy and family man she raised in Colter, and she’s clearly still here in spirit.

“People always make a big deal about me leaving rodeo in my prime, but it was not hard for me,” Colter said. “I prayed about it, and God took away my desire to rodeo. I needed someone to give me answers, and that was my answer. When I ask Him for answers, I seek and I wait. Once I got that answer, there was no turning back or looking back. I wouldn’t trade what I have at home with my family now for anything.”

Duty and Eldridge Prepare For The Big Dance

If you think you can hang with the big boys on the big stage, then the Hooey Jr BFI Open roping is definitely the place to test your mettle. 

 

“We set this roping up exactly like The Feist.” tells BFI Owner Daren Peterson. “The goal here is to let these talented kids feel the same pressures in the same exact setup as the BFI. This just prepares them for when they make the jump and enter on Monday.”

 

The Priefert boxes were set at 16ft 10 inches deep and Lee Legacy ran the rope barrier off of an electric eye that was set at the same length as the box. Thus making the setup “Same As.” Add strong cattle into the mix and the Hooey Jr BFI literally turns into the regular BFI just a couple of days early. 

 

The Hooey Jr Open is a five header that is progressive after three. A total of 35 teams entered and by the time the short round rolled around, only a handful had captured the first four.  Cash Duty showed up to the roping from Weimar, Texas and only had one partner up until game day. He ended up heading one and heeling one and his decision definitely paid off. Cash won the first round heading for Idaho’s Jalyn Eldridge. He then came back to win the second round, heeling for James Arviso. 

 

Cash and Jaylyn’s day stayed solid as a rock after their first round win. The team ended up high-call and came into the short round with a commanding lead over the second high-back team. They had a fourteen second cushion but didn’t let that phase them as they put together another great run of 7.99. Their total on five head was an impressive 37.01 which averages out to 7.4 seconds on each steer. These guys are definitely prepared to compete at the big dance on Monday.

 

“It is so nice to be able to get some runs down before we rope on Monday.” said Duty. “Of course the win is great, but it also calms the nerves a little because we have already been behind the setup and scoring is so important at the BFI.”

 

The champions received $11,000 for their average win along with all the prizes from Hooey, Yeti, Gist, Heel-O-Matic, and Resistol. Cash will be heading for veteran heeler Boogie Ray (team 14) during the BFI Reno Championships on Monday while his partner Jalyn will be heeling for Jared Parke (team 33). 

Utah Claims BFI Reno Hooey Jr 10.5

Absence makes the heart grow fonder and that definitely is the case when it comes to the 2021 BFI Reno Championships! It has been a long two years away from the Reno-Sparks Livestock Event Center and it was great to see the first steer run down the arena under the new lights and over the fresh sand. 

 

The week kicked off with the Hooey Jr BFI 10.5 roping. The horses were a little fresh when they cracked the Priefert at 9 am and announcer Ferron Lucerro had some fun with the youth competitors, reminding them to maybe take a few extra laps in the warm-up arena before they nodded their heads. At the conclusion of 107 teams in the first round, a few ropers hit the dirt, some great runs were made, and it was definitely apparent that the kids had come with both pistols cocked.

 

The first round was won by Aaron Champneys and Conor Ward with a time of 7.11 and from there it only got tougher. With two full rounds in the 10.5, everybody had a chance at two day-monies. The teams tightened it up significantly in round two. A 5.43 by Cael Stratton andand Paden Prior took home round two honors.

 

The team that came out on top were a 14 and 16 year old from Roosevelt, Utah. Daxtyn Feild and Howdy Jackson put four runs together in 34.71 seconds to seal the first Championship title of the week and claim $15,000, Gist Silversmiths buckles, Resistol Hats, Hooey backpacks, Heel-O-Matic Sliders, YETI lunch boxes, and bragging rights for the next year! 

 

“We just had to do our job and go catch,” said Feild. “These ropings fall apart so we knew that if we just stayed consistent it would pay off.”

 

The team ropes together in Utah and has big time rodeo family ties such as 5-time World Champion bareback rider Kaycee Feild and NFR Team Roper and Tie-down roper, Rhen Richard. 

 

“It definitely helps to be around guys that know how to win at the top level. The mental side of it is so important. Just like today, we knew all we had to do was stop the clock to get a good check. I told myself to ride good position and don’t take a bad throw.” said heeler Howdy Jackson. 

 

The Hooey Jr BFI 10.5 kicked off the Wrangler BFI Week Reno Championships and had 107 teams. Each team got two full rounds and then it was progressive. The roping paid out over $46,000 to the youth competitors that came to rope from all over the country with Utah, Idaho, California, Oregon, and Nevada all getting represented in the winner’s circle. 

BFI Reno Hooey Jr Open Results

Average Results

1. Cash Duty and Jaylen Eldridge, 37.01 on 5, $11,000; 2. Cason Richey and Nicky Northcott, 43.16 on 5, $8,000; 3. Trent Lee Wood and Nicky Northcott, 45.97 on 5, $5,000; 4. Josey Ray Funk and Garrett K Jepson, 47.75 on 5, $2,400.

 

Fast Time Round 1

Cash Duty and Jaylen Eldridge, 6.80 seconds, $2,000

 

Fast Time Round 2

James Arviso and Cash Duty, 6.09 seconds, $2,000

 

Fast Time Round 3

Jace Thorstenson and John Hisel, 5.94 seconds, $2,000

 

Fast Time Short Go

Eli Green and Chase Helton, 7.45 seconds, $1,200 

BFI Reno Hooey Jr 10.5 Results

Average Results

  1. Daxtyn Feild and Howdy Jackson, 34.71 on four, $15,000; 2. Devon McDaniel and Birch Eiguren, 35.71 on four, $10,000; 3. Ryan Bettencourt and Trey White, 35.83 on four, $7,000; 4. Ally McDaniel and Noah Williams, 38.48 on four, $5,000; 5. Ally McDaniel and Birch Eiguren, 44.89 on four, $3,000; 6. Brayden Grashuis and Brody Grashuis, 56.38 on four, $1,200; 7. Sam Kofoed and Lucas Cruz, 24.83 on three, $1,100.

 

Fast Time Round 1

  1. Aaron Champneys and Conor Ward, 7.11 seconds, $1,800; 2. Tayler Felton and Daunte Ceresola, 7.62 seconds, $450; 2. Kyndall Green and Eli Green, 7.62 seconds, $450. 

 

Fast Time Round 2

  1. Cael Stratton and Paden Prior, 5.43 seconds, $1,800; 2. Parker Douglas Jones, Gavin Lopez, 5.87 seconds, $900

 

Fast Time Short Go

  1. Devon McDaniel and Birch Eiguren, 7.91 seconds, $900; 2. Ally McDaniel and Noah Williams, 8.21 seconds, $600

Jaxson Tucker Sets Sights On Reno Redemption

Jaxson Tucker, a 19 year old North Carolina native, was living out his childhood dream as he headed into the short round of his first-ever Bob Feist Invitational this past March at Lazy E Arena. Along with partner Dustin Searcy, the duo was ready to battle it out on the 6th steer of the day in hopes of a Feist Championship. Unfortunately the dream turned into a nightmare when Tucker missed the final steer. “The 13th part was really a let down for me”, said Tucker, “I’m bad about being hard on myself but it does build a lot of confidence in knowing that you’re putting yourself in good spots to win.” Wise words for a young gun! “I’ve watched team roping and have roped all my life. Besides making the NFR and winning the average or a gold buckle, the BFI is the biggest thing to me. To win it would be overwhelming and a huge check off in my book!”

 

Using his experience from Guthrie, Tucker is setting his sights on the Wrangler BFI Reno Open Championship presented by Wild Rag Vodka for a chance at redemption and will be partnering up with none other than 2019 BFI Champion Heeler, Lane Siggins. “Jaxson called me asking to go to California. I always thought Jaxson headed good, had nice horses and roped great. That’s where we started”, said the reigning Reno champ. Siggins (and partner JR Dees) roped their tails off at the 2019 Feist and it was no surprise when the high-call team won the coveted title. Their 44.62 seconds on 6 even put them as the 7th fastest average team in the BFI record books! 

 

When asked about his new partnership with Siggins, Tucker replied, “I’m ready to try to get through the Reno Open Championship with someone that’s already fought through the whole day and has been a past champion. It’s extremely hard to stay focused all day long at the biggest roping we go to all year”. The payout for first place in the Reno Open is a guaranteed $100,000 along with great prizes from Coat Saddles, Gist Buckles, Bullkelp Bedrolls, Resistol Hats, and Best Ever Pads but first the ropers will have to make it through 100+ plus teams, an 18’ score and at least 5 steers. Once tackling this feat, the top 15 will continue to battle it out in the Wrangler Priefert Short Round. Siggins is ready and wouldn’t mind another big payout, jokingly saying, “So ready to win Reno again. I could use the $50,000!” 

 

As far as a new game strategy, Tucker doesn’t plan on making any significant changes other than changing up partners and possibly horses, “There’s really no other roping or scenario like that it seems. In Guthrie, I rode a 9 year old mare that I call Katy who I had just recently gotten at the time. She did great and worked perfect for me all day. The only reason I rode her is because my best horse MC Hammer was coming out of an injury and I thought it would be hard on him. I’m not positive but I think that I will most likely be riding him in Reno.” 

 

Meanwhile his accomplished heeler, Siggins, has full confidence in his partner and says Tucker has a good head on him for the BFI and is a smart roper. “He will do great! I’m excited for 8 AM on the 21st to roll around. There’s no feeling like Reno!”

 

Tucker will be locked and loaded with his Classic Rope Powerline Lite on Monday, June 21st at Reno Sparks Livestock Event Center along with Siggins and 102 other teams ready to compete for the Wrangler BFI Reno Open Championship presented by Wild Rag Vodka. Tickets available to purchase on-site or watch live at www.wranglernetwork.com.

 

By: Abby Barnes

Swapped… Almost

A definite fan favorite in professional heeling is Missouri native Billie Jack Saebens, who’s best-known for his hocking talents aboard flashy Dixon Flowers horses. Thus, when fans noticed him switch to heading the past few months – and even enter next week’s BFI Reno Open that way – they went ahead and told him they were upset about it. 

Lucky for them, as of a couple of days ago, Saebens changed his mind. After all, he’s placed at the BFI about four times in just the past seven or eight years – as a heeler. And oh, the horses. He’s got the 6-year-old he rode at RFD-TV’s The American, plus the two black powerhouses – DT “Sugar” Chex Whiz (an AQHA Reserve Superhorse and tie-down roping world champ) and back-to-sound Domino Lena (“Kevin”), the former Heel Horse of the BFI that took Saebens to the 2016-17 NFRs.

“I’d always wanted to be a header,” he said. “Those really good head horses? Those guys who rope the horns really sharp? That’s cool.”

But then it came down to it. For the past several weeks he’s been heading for Derrick Jantzen at rodeos. But he couldn’t quite get the head horses lined up that he dreamed about. And he started really thinking about it.

“I’ve devoted so much of my life to heeling,” he admitted. “I have five of the better heel horses I’ve ever had. I was like, ‘I’m just going to sell those and start over?’ I got a taste of it and a chance to decide I’m not really willing to do that.”

Saebens lined up Jake Clay for the rodeos starting after the Fourth of July. And on Wednesday, it occurred to him that he flat doesn’t feel ready to head in Reno. The following day, a guy named J.D. Yates called Saebens when his own heeler wasn’t going to be able to make it to the BFI Reno Open.

“I feel like it was meant to be,” said Saebens, who shelved his head rope to go back to his heavy Powerline Lites. “I’m pretty excited about roping with J.D. out there. “We’ve roped here and there, and before I ever was rodeoing I used to go out to Pueblo and stay with him quite a bit.”

They have more in common:  Yates rode Sugar to her AQHA world title back in the day. He and Saebens would like nothing more than to nab an actual BFI championship to go with all their Montana Silversmiths Horse of the BFI awards. Find out their fate in person June 21 or tune in to www.WranglerNetwork.com.

 

By: Julie Mankin