Former Super Bowl champ, partner win $95,000 roping at BFI
RENO – A retired NFL tight end and a cattle contractor — both recreational team ropers — raked in $95,220 with their ropes on Tuesday at the 22nd edition of the #11 Reno Million.
Californians Bear Pascoe of Morro Bay and Steve Simons of Sanger roped four steers in 34.21 seconds to win the event and $47,610 total per man. They needed only a 10-second run to clinch the win, but finished in 8.8 seconds.
“I was just trying to not break out and go get him caught,” Pascoe said. “I knew Steve would rope him on the first or second jump.”
His partner did just that, motivating himself by thinking of a couple of things his wife could use with the money. Simons, formerly in the construction business, provides steers for ropings across California. He and Bear’s dad Sean Pascoe had roped for years together and he and Bear, originally from Porterville, are close friends.
“I haven’t been to this roping since I was 16 years old,” Pascoe said. “Corky (Ullman) and Daren (Peterson) have done a great job. The cattle were outstanding.”
The Reno Million was founded in 1996 by local real estate developer Perry Di Loreto and is now owned by Ullman-Peterson Events. It was designed to give equally matched amateur ropers across the country a chance at six-figure payouts, using a handicapping system similar to golf.
Traditionally, the roping was top-loaded and promoted first-place payouts of $100,000. This year, organizers used a format closer to official payoff formats at World Series of Team Roping events, distributing the same money without a large gap between first and the other places.
This year’s Reno Million drew 120 teams, each of whom paid a $5,500 entry fee and were screened to ensure their roper classification numbers didn’t exceed 11.5.
It’s been a good week for 32-year-old Pascoe — the #6 header was also placing Tuesday in a tie for fifth in steer wrestling at the adjoining $600,000 Reno Rodeo after wrestling two steers in 9.6 seconds. He expects to make Saturday night’s short round, along with his wife, Katie, who was winning the barrel racing.
“Throwing the hell out of a steer in steer wrestling is like scoring a touchdown,” Pascoe said. “But getting a good start and spinning one and your man sets him down? That’s pretty good, too.”
Pascoe, who spent five seasons playing for the New York Giants, caught four passes in their 21-17 victory over the Patriots in the 2011 Super Bowl. But he continued to rope during every off-season. Today, he and Katie ranch on land owned by her father, Hall-of-Fame steer wrestler John W. Jones Jr. Meanwhile, the 6’5” Bear is also becoming a certified CrossFit trainer.
Pascoe said continuing to work out helps him mentally as much as physically. He gives credit to his dad for imparting lots of good advice on the mental game over the years.
“Besides being a good horseman and a good cowboy, he’s hard to rattle,” Bear said of his father, Sean, who was also competing in the Reno Million. In fact, Simons, a 5-Elite heeler, likens the entire Pascoe clan (Bear has twin siblings) to Louis Lamour’s fictional Sacketts. The baby of the family, Bear has no plans to stop roping or wrestling steers.
“I entered the team roping at a handful of PRCA rodeos and didn’t have much luck,” Pascoe said. “They were a bit much for this green horse. But I’d like to revisit that. I’d love to be a multiple-event guy. One of my goals is to be invited to the Timed Event Championships of the World.”
Custom-made bronze trophies crafted by Montana Silversmiths were awarded for the best head horse and heel horse at the Reno Million, chosen by a committee watching throughout the day. Texan John Coltharp’s mount won the Heel Horse award, while Lucy Bishop’s earned the bronze awarded to the Head Horse of the Reno Million.
Complete Results from The Reno Million on June 19:
First Round: 1. Bear Pascoe and Steve Simons, 7.04 seconds, $6,920; 2. Kera Washburn and Dave Washburn, 7.73, $5,190; 3. Robert Perez and Joshua Reed, 7.90, $3,460; 4. Cody Every and Trevor Aldrich, 7.97, $1,730; Second Round: 1. Josh Johnson and Josh Love, 5.98 seconds, $6,920; 2. Lydia Townson and Chad Townson, 6.35, $5,190; 3. Chad Havens and T-Boy Waite, 6.52, $3,460; 4. Alan Chappell and Mark Brockmueller, 6.92, $1,730; Third Round: 1. Brent Mays and Shane Paschal, 6.56 seconds, $6,920; 2. Josh Johnson and Josh Love, 6.61, $5,190; 3. Ricky Bolin and Dustin Noblitt, 6.71, $3,460; 4. Cory Wiese and Michael White, 6.87, $1,730; Short Round: 1. Jessica Amicarella and Tony Graham, 8.02 seconds, $5,500; 2. Bear Pascoe and Steve Simons, 8.81, $3,300; 3. Kelly Cheatham and Dell Millward, 8.84, $2,200.
Average: 1. Bear Pascoe and Steve Simons, 34.21 seconds on four, $85,000; 2. Jessica Americella and Tony Graham, 35.73, $65,000; 3. Kelly Cheatham and Dell Millward, 42.03, $47,000; 4. Chad Havens and T-Boy Waite, 42.77, $34,000; 5. Greg Roshay and Colter Bradshaw, 45.74, $31,000; 6. Vern Serp and Skip Stansbury, 47.88, $27,000; 7. Frank Baptiste and Buster Green, 51.36, $23,000; 8. Gary Kiehne and Shawn Palmer, 52.81, $20,000; 9. Mark Harris and Jason Nearn, 60.22, $19,000; 10. Lydia Townson and Chad Townson, 27.16 on three, $18,000; 11. Darwin McGowan and Luke McClanahan, 32.99, $16,500; 12. Lucy Bishop and Al Baloo, 34.29, $14,000; 13. Bruce Chernoff and Peter Bews, 35.10, $13,000.
Consolation Average: 1. Josh Johnson and Josh Love, 20.17 seconds on three, $13,000; 2. Cole Lamb and Jim Bynum, 23.63, $10,000; 3. Alan Chappell and Mark Brockmueller, 23.98, $8,000; 4. Cody Every and Trevor Aldrich, 24.72, $4,000.