Hastings arena good to Nebraska cowboy
HASTINGS, Neb. – The Hastings rodeo arena has been good to Quincy Opela.
The Stapleton, Neb., cowboy won three consecutive state high school rodeo team roping championships there (2004-2006), and on his first trip back to the arena last weekend for the Oregon Trail Rodeo, he won another title.
He and team roping partner Jeff Johnston won the average title, the fastest time on two runs. They also tied for first place in the first go-round with a time of 5.2 seconds and won fourth place in the second go-round with a time of 5.5 seconds.
The 22-year-old cowboy, whose last name is pronounced “opal,” like the gem, got his PRCA card last year and partnered up with veteran cowboy Johnston, who lives 35 miles north of Opela near Seneca. The two practiced roping when Opela was in high school. Johnston, who is 14 years Opela’s senior, likes competing with the young man. “He’s carefree and doesn’t worry about who he’s up against and doesn’t have much fear. He’s confident but not cocky.”
For Opela, he looks up to Johnston, who has won the Nebraska State Rodeo Association championship and has competed at the Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo. “He knows when I do something wrong, and he’ll tell me or I’ll ask him.”
Opela also observes other team ropers, and looks up to guys like Jade Corkill and Brady Minor. “I’m watching the big guys and how they do it and learning from them.”
Opela earned a degree in construction management from Eastern Wyoming College in Torrington. He works for his dad on the family’s ranch. Johnston runs a ranch and is married with two young children.
Other event winners were bareback rider Ty Breuer, Mandan, N.D.; saddle bronc rider Cody Taton, Mud Butte, S.D.; bull rider Triston Boor, Medicine Lodge, Kan.; tie-down roper Garrett Nokes, McCook, Neb.; steer wrestler Clay Cowan, Highmore, S.D., and barrel racer PJ Burger, Pauls Valley, Okla.