Cowboy Shop Classic 2017
Roy and Ethan Wolaver rope and Kat watches.
18th Annual Roping
by Terry Allen
August 29, 2017
The Pinedale Rodeo Grounds was the site of the 18th Annual Cowboy Shop Classic Roping Invitational this past Sunday, August 27, 2017. It is an invitation-only event and everyone who shows up to compete is required to be in western attire, which is a cowboy hat, a button down shirt, and boots. Once in awhile a roper shows up without the proper gear and all they have to do is run down the hill about 2 minutes each way to the Cowboy Shop and get it. The Cowboy Shop was established by Bob Bingís folks in 1947 and has remained family run and in the same location.
Bob arrived in his classic Chevy pickup to the Pinedale Rodeo Arena early Sunday morning and checked in with Todd Stevie who was going to run the announcing booth with the help of some important assistantsÖand learned there were 107 entrants for the event. Duke Early was watering down the churned up arena dirt with a big tanker truck; and the Wolaver family was roping a practice dummy in the morning sun.
I saw Billy Gransden swinging a loop and learned a bit about ropes I hadnít known. "Well, youíve got soft ropes and hard ropes and dark ropes and lighter ropes for different parts of the day," he said. "Youíve also got some 3, 4, and 5 strand ropes. You use a 30-foot rope if you are roping the head and a 35 foot rope if you are heeling."
Billyís son Jubal is 3 years old and swings his rope opposite from what Billy does. Turns out Jubal was watching and learning from his dad from the front and so naturally his practice turned out backwards. Thing is, heís a real good roper that way. His arm is more like a rifle. He just shoots that rope out there and hits those horns.
Kyndall Tibbitts isnít roping this year as her baby is due soon. She was sitting in the shade and had a bunch of Border Collie puppies for sale in a fenced off area that also held her boys and Cora Selby. "They are 8 weeks old and $150. They are out of working parents and are native Wyoming dogs," she said.
Weldon Beasley from Oklahoma was sitting in the truck with Phil Selby Sr. watching Phil Jr. rope. I mentioned that Phil Jr. looked slimmer this year. "Yeah, heís a little thinner this year," said Phil Sr. "But heís gonna get thinner if he doesnít rope better." Thatís when Weldon snorted and said: "It all goes back to the coach here."
I saw some activity over at the creek (which some folks call the Lee ditch)and found a bunch of 3 foot people. Grady was fishing in his Fruit of the Looms, 2 girls had their socks off and were filling them with mud and I canít tell what the rest of them were doing, youíll have to look at the picture.
I found Landa over at her horse trailer and mentioned a bunch of ropes laid out in coils like there had been a selection going on. "Thatís exactly right," she said. "I put one rope in the shade because it was too soft and I put another one Iím hoping to useÖin the sun to soften up a bit." She introduced me to her horse Rooster. I asked her if he gets nervous before a roping like human athletes do. "No, heís a seasoned, 17 year old horse," she said. "He knows when to get ready. It takes years of proper training and treating them right. You make the right things easy and the wrong things hard. Then you give them a minute to absorb and be alright when they do the right things."
I asked Landa about giving Rooster treats when he does the right thing. "No, heís not a pet," she said. "Heís a herd animal. I treat him right. I give him good alfalfa, and all the right supplements, but I donít want him in my pocket looking for treats. At some events, my husband and I have $3000 invested in entry fees and we need our horses to be serious minded." A little while later I noticed her walk over to the water hose and fill Roosterís bucket. She let him take what he wanted then she topped it off, picked it up and adjusted her posture to handle the weight and walked off eastward where her truck and trailer were parked.
Sadie and Ashlynn gave me a holler over by the bucking chutes and asked if Iíd like to take a picture of them with Arlo for this story. I asked Ashlynn what kind of dog Arlo was and she said, "A Snuggle Dog." You can see for yourself if you recognize that breed. Not to be outdone, Sadie introduced me to her dog Scooter. Scooter had very short legs and I said so. "It doesnít matter," Sadie said. "He runs regular legged cows."
Arye Espenschied 61.01 on 6 heading saddle.
Wes Miller 43.06 on 5 heeling saddle.
TJ Horton 47.68 on 5 buckle.
Brian Espenschied 55.50 on 5 buckle.
JJ Butler 59.60 on 5 buckle.
Barry Kreikemeier 64.25 on 5 buckle.
Dave Allen 74.11 on 5.
Nick Nichols 34.81 on 4.
Jade Espenschied won the Reid Schouboe Achievement Award, named in honor of Reid Schouboe who passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, July 25, 2015.
A big thank you to Bob and Carolyn of The Cowboy Shop for their generous support of this story and photos. We wouldn't have been able to do a full story with so many photos this year without their sponsorship. If you havenít dropped into the Cowboy Shop before, you might be interested in how much beautiful history is in there by way of art, jewelry (antique and new) old photographs, game mounts and more than I can mention here.
Thank you to Dawn Ballou of Pinedale Online for also sponsoring this story. Dawn considers the activities of our community something people will care about in the years to comeÖsort of like a modern day scrapbook that people will be able to open and learn about our ways.
MeÖI just love meeting everyone and hearing stories from the young and the old, from dogs and from horses. I like how my photos seem to show that we got to know each other a little bit and had a good time. These are all low-rez photos on the site because the site can't handle full-rez...but you are welcome to share them without charge for personal shares, with photo credit. I do sell the hi-rez images for reasonable prices and for those with commercial purposes in mind. I do have a few more photos I didn't have room to post...especially the ones of you guys in the chute area.
Your photographer: Terry Allen. firstname.lastname@example.org