Special to the E-T

OKLAHOMA CITY - Local ropers Jamie Mader-Hayden, Coledon Harmon and Dennis Fulfer, all of Stephenville, were big winners at the Cinch USTRC National Finals of Team Roping held in Oklahoma City.

Produced by the United States Team Roping Championships (USTRC), the National Finals of Team Roping is the premier event of team roping and is hosting more than 6,700 teams from across the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia and South America.

Mader and partner Jimmie Jo Montera of Greeley, Colo., roped four steers in a time of 31.81 seconds besting 210 other teams in the Cruel Girl all girl division to capture the United States Championship. The duo received $15,500 of the $57,800 purse, along with custom Gist trophy buckles. A total of $4.2 million in cash and $625,000 in prizes are being awarded in the 12 event divisions.

Harmon and partner Joe D. Jones of Macon, Miss., roped four steers in a time of 35.81 seconds besting 443 other teams in the #9 Shoot Out division to capture The United States Championship. The duo received $100,700 of the $405,900 purse, along with custom Martin trophy saddles, Gist Silversmiths trophy buckles, full quill ostrich Tony Lama boots and Western Horseman commemorative prints. A total of $4.2 million in cash and $625,000 in prizes are being awarded in the 12 event divisions.

Fulfer and partner Greg McNutt of Dublin, roped four steers in a time of 34.52 seconds besting 379 other teams in the #10 Gold Plus division to capture the U.S. Reserve Championship. The duo received $26,800 of the $210,000 purse, along Gist Silversmith buckles. A total of $4.2 million in cash and $625,000 in prizes are being awarded in the 12 event divisions.

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 division eligibility. 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.