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USTRC Mississippi Classic Team Roping


Article & photos by Nancy Brannon, Ph.D.

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The Mississippi Classic, a National Finals Qualifier and an American Patriot Qualifier, drew team ropers from across the mid south to the Tunica Arena and Expo Center in Tunica, Mississippi the weekend of December 8-10, 2017. The top three in the average and incentive of the #10 Gold Plus and #12 Gold Plus divisions qualified to compete at the $3.5 million American Patriot Finals on February 19-26, 2018 at the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth, Texas.

Friday’s event featured the Open, #15, #13, and #12 divisions. These divisions offered 80% payback. On Saturday there were the Gold Plus #12, the #11, #10, and #10 Muley Roping divisions.  The #11, #10, and #9 divisions offered 75% payback. Saturday also gave opportunity to the Junior Loopers to try their hand at roping the dummy. The event finished on Sunday with the #10 Gold Plus, #9, and #8 pick/draw for beginner and novice ropers.

One event that is rather entertaining and a lot of fun is Muley Roping. In this event, cross-bred Coriente cattle are used, and these cattle have no horns. So they have to be roped around the neck, like calf roping, so it’s a little more difficult for team ropers, who are used to roping the cattle around the horns. Hall said its entertaining to watch, and the ropers have fun, because so often the cowboys rope the ears on the cattle. But some take it seriously and this was a qualifying event for the Muley World Championships at the American Patriot, which pays out $20,000.

Over the weekend there were nearly 700 teams vying for top honors in their respective divisions.  Entries were a bit down this year from last year, but that may have been because the World Series of Team Roping was happening at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nevada, December 10-17, 2017.

Producer Kevin Hall said there were ropers from about 14 states at this event, including one from Hawaii and one from Mexico. “We’re getting a new level of ropers from around the country,” he said, “ropers of all abilities who come to compete against people just like them – at their level.”

There was hospitality for the weekend, too, with an NFR party on Friday and Saturday nights at Sam’s Town Casino. Hall said the area offers built-in entertainment. “Guys like to go to the casinos after a day’s roping,” he said. Hall also had praise for the facility. “Tunica is second to none! This is one of our favorite facilities in the country.”
Some results from the event are:

#8 PickDraw: first: Claude Lowery (Wesson, MS) and Eric Hunt (Shuqualak, MS), earning $4,240 with a time of 29.82 on 3. Justin Clemon teamed with Eric Hunt for second, earning $3.030 with a time of 33.32 on 3.

#9 winners: Eric Hunt and Jimmy LaDale White (Hazlehurst, MS), earning $6,740 with a time of 36.9 on 4. The Hunts, LaDarrell and DeDe (Shuqualak, MS) were second, taking home $4,800 with a time of 40.19 on 4.

#10 Muley winners: Daniel Dorris (Harviell, MO) and Jimmy LaDale White earned $1,220 with a time of 43.73 on 3. White was also second, taking home another $820 with 22.55 on 2.

#10 Gold Plus winners were Mark Wedel (Centerville, AR) and Tom Bridges (Viola, AR), earning $3,000 with 42.25 on 4. Wedel and Bridges also won the Incentive, earning another $1,280 with 32.64 on 3.

#10 Average winners: Josh Mcgowan (West Plains, MO) and Tyler Holder (Strawberry, AR), earning $5,480 with 32.52 on 4.Jimmy LaDale White came in at number two, earning $4,100 with 33.13 on 4

Full results are available at the USTRC website:
The Mississippi Classic was produced by Rope the Ozarks Productions. Find more information about this and other team roping events on facebook at: Rope the Ozarks and The American Patriot Event.  Rope the Ozarks produces USTRC events and The American Patriot Finals in Fort Worth, Texas. Find out more at:

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