RODEO: Smith, Woodfin super on Tuesday
Jan 09, 2013 (Odessa American - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
MATCHED UP: -- Team roping doesn't start, officially, until today at the SandHills Stock Show and Rodeo.
The competitors got plenty of extra practice Tuesday.
Extra work that paid off handsomely for Clay Smith of Broken Bow, Okla., and partner Will Woodfin of Marshall.
Sitting second in the average after four runs, the duo caught their final steer in 6.49 seconds, and when Luke Brown and Jake Long were too slow in catching theirs, the impromptu duo had won the Open Roping at the 21st SandHills Invitational Roping on Tuesday night at the Ector County Coliseum.
Smith and Woodfin finished with a five-head total of 31.73 seconds, with Brown-Long coming in at 31.86.
Known as "Super Tuesday" the final 20 runs capped a day-long event that saw hundreds of runs. Smith and Woodfin earned the biggest check of the day, splitting $16,000 for the victory.
"This is one of the biggest jackpots we compete in," said Smith, who sets the run as the header. "We live close together, so it's a chance for us to rope together, because we rope with other partners on the PRCA circuit.
"It was a good day and we knew, with the misses in front of us, that we just had to have a good run and we would be in the money."
Clay Tryan of Lipan and Patrick Smith of Midland finished third in 32.96 seconds.
For Woodfin, it was a great start to the 2012 season.
"This is the biggest one so far this year," he said. "This is a tough arena because it's small and the left-hand fence is so close.
"But it's a great way to start the season and gives us some momentum going into the team roping and then down the road."
One of the highlights of the annual evening of roping is the Shawn McMullan Memorial Tie Down Roping competition between a pair of the top competitors in the discipline.
This year, 2004 world champion Monty Lewis of Hereford went head-to-head-to-head-to-head with Jeff Chapman of Athens for bragging rights.
When the final loop was thrown, it was Lewis who easily earned the victory with a time of 37.40 seconds on four calves.
Chapman was handicapped from the first run when his calf, after being roped, decided to just lay in the dirt for a few moments and by the time Chapman was able to pick it up and flank it, the clock stopped at 18.49 seconds and it was just a matter of time before Lewis, who won the Wrangler Pro Tour Round at the 2006 SandHills Stock Show and Rodeo, earned the title.
The event is named in honor of the former Iraan High and Odessa College cowboy who was killed in a traffic accident while competing in the PRCA.
--FAMILIAR FACE: Along with the tie down match, the event holds a team-roping match between a pair of top teams on the PRCA circuit.
Trevor Brazile of Decatur and Smith, who finished second in the world last year, traded loops with Clay Tryan of Lipan and Travis Graves of Morgan Mill.
The teams matched up over eight steers, with Brazile and Smith holding a 6.79-second advantage halfway through the competition.
In the second half of the match, Tyran and Graves shaved time on each of the first three runs, making the margin less than two seconds heading to the final steer of the competition --which is when Brazile and Smith stepped up the pressure.
Roping their final steer in 6.13 seconds, they forced their opponents to catch in less than five seconds. Tryan tried, sending his loop around the head before he had even left the chute. But he wasn't able to get the rope dallied and the steer pulled free, resulting in a no time and a victory for Brazile and Smith.
--SEEING WHAT IT'S LIKE: With the day devoted to roping, it's also a chance for local cowboys to get a chance to rope with the pros in the Pro-Am portion of the program.
Rocky Olivas of Kermit and Martin Lucero of Stephenville, one of the top heelers on the PRCA circuit, earned the crown, with a three-head time of 22.29 seconds.
Contact Lee Scheide on twitter @OALeeScheide, on Facebook at OA Lee Scheide, or call 432-333-7703.
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