Local team roper snags $300K in March winnings

J. Michael Ross michael.ross@empiretribune.com
This photo, taken by Tamika Graves, shows her husband Travis and son Tee enjoying the outdoors. The family lives in Morgan Mill.

Travis Graves of Morgan Mill is at the top of the sport of team roping having won big money at three events in the first two weeks of March with purses totaling over $300,000 in cash – and that’s not all.

Graves and his partner Clay Tryan of Lipan won the big dollars by placing first at the 33rd Annual George Strait Team Roping Classic in San Antonio this past weekend with a 13.95 average. The win allowed the ropers to ride off having split $272,640 in cash and in addition, a Chevy Silverado dually pickup and Bruton Strait Xtreme trailer each, to boot.

On top of that, on March 8, Graves earned $100,000 at the Timed Even Championship, and on March 1 won $100,000 at the American.

After his win at the George Strait, Graves was quoted in Spin to Win Rodeo magazine: “It’s just unbelievable. If I invest this right, I could be set up for the rest of my life. It seems like after all the hard work, it’s all paid off this last month.”

Another local roper Paul Eaves from Huckabay and his partner Dustin Bird finished in the money as well, ending up in third 15.6 average. All totaled, the event paid over $740,000 in cash prizes.

E-T spoke by phone to Graves who lives with his wife, Tamika, son, Tee and 8-month-old daughter, True, in Morgan Mill. He says he’s originally from Jay, Oklahoma and she’s from Modesto, California.

“We came here because it’s such a big rodeo community,” Graves says. “We moved to Morgan Mill about three years ago.”

He adds, “My dad, Ronnie, taught me how to rope. He wasn’t a professional roper but he’d roped all his life. I guess I got started at about age nine or so and have been roping ever since.”

The George Strait Team Roping Classicis one of the biggest payout events in team roping and 685 teams signed up this year to take their shot at all that treasure.