Prairie Circuit Shines at NCFSR
“It was a good deal,” is how 2010 Steer Roping National Champion and Prairie Circuit representative Ralph Williams described the first National Circuit Finals Steer Roping (NCFSR), held April 17 and 18 in Torrington, Wyo.
“Last year I went kind of medium and finished in the top 30,” said Williams. “With this win I’m already ahead of where I finished last year. I’d really like to make the National Finals Steer Roping (NFSR) this year, now that it’s moved back to my home state of Oklahoma.”
Williams, of Skiatook, won with style at the inaugural event. Qualification for the semifinals required an eighth place or better finish in the average. He finished sixth. To make the final, “sudden death” round, a fourth place or better finish was necessary. He placed fourth. He saved his best for the last round and it paid off. An 11.9 second run was good enough to win the round, and the title, by nearly 7 seconds. Always humble, Williams simply said of the title, “I was sure glad to win it.”
In addition to claiming the national championship, PRCA Prairie Circuit competitors (representing the states of Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma) also claimed five of the top 10 places according to total prize money won at the rodeo. This was not a big surprise, given their circuit roster boasted 55 NFSR qualifications and two world champions.
Joining Williams from the Prairie Circuit were Cody Garnett of Barnsdall, Okla., Rod Hartness of Pawhuska, Okla., J.P. Wickett of Sallisaw, Okla., Buster Record Jr. of Buffalo, Okla., and Rocky Patterson of Pratt, Kan. Record Jr. was the 2002 steer roping world champion and Patterson is the reigning champion, winning his first title last November.
Garnett, who led the rodeo after the first three rounds of competition, finished in third place. Of the NCFSR, Garnett said, “It’s time we had something like this for steer roping. All of us ropers really appreciated it and will do our best to support it for the future.” When asked about William’s win, he stated, “I’m glad he won. That guy likes to rodeo.”
Hartness, who’s made 13 trips to the NFSR, said of the finals, “It was a good rodeo. The format was good for the cowboys and the spectators seemed to like it too.” Regarding the title coming to Oklahoma, Hartness commented, “I was glad to see Ralph win it. You won’t find a more humble guy than him. It was good for all of us.”
Wickett, with 10 NFSR qualifications, serves on the PRCA’s Contestant Executive Council as the Steer Roping Representative. When asked about the event, he stated, “It was a fun event and I can’t say enough about the generosity of the PRCA and the committee up there in Torrington. It was great to be included in the circuit finals system and to have the chance to rope for the added money they put up. Us steer ropers don’t get to do that a lot.” He added, “Events like the NCFSR and the All-American Rodeo Series have helped to increase roper numbers and this is good for the event and the sport all together.” When asked how it felt to have his home circuit win the national championship, Wickett said, “Ralph’s as good as they come and I was happy to see him win it.”
The National Circuit Finals Steer Roping may be over, but rodeo’s regular season is just getting started. Stay tuned for more updates on steer roping and other rodeo events.