Finale III (2008)
Bloomer Trailers #10 Lo-Am Finale Champions
Finale III (2008) Bloomer Trailers #10 Lo-Am Finale Champions
The #10 roping followed the pattern that WSTR has boasted over in that division, head and heel a steer and get a check. With 30 average checks up for grabs and only 29 teams roped three to advance to the short round, each of those teams got a check. The only thing to be determined was which check they would get. When it ended nearly a dozen big checks were paid with legs and multiple legs, and five places were paid on three head.
The number one team coming into the short round was George Ortega, from Marana,Ariz., and Gerardo Valenzuela, from Sahuarita, Ariz.. This team joined the four other top five teams that entered the short round under 31 or with a good 10-second average.
The fifth high callback was John Nichols from Cave Creek, Ariz., and Randy Jackson from Clyde Park, Mont. They had a 30.75, made their fourth run in 10.25 to finish with 40 seconds. The father son duo of Carl and David Daniel from Bakersfield, Calif., were next with 30.53 seconds. A 14.08 second run put them in second with three teams to go.
The number two and number three teams had a no time so it was left to Ortega and Valenzuela who had nearly 11 seconds to make a clean run and win the title. They stopped the clock in 9.5 seconds and won the championship with a total of 39.71, to split the $160,000 first place check.
This win was bittersweet win for Valenzuela who returned to Las Vegas after total disaster in 2007. The ranch hand left the South Point last year without his thumb, “I guess I can call this my arena, since a little of me is somewhere in that dirt,” he said. “I knew there was no way things could turn out as bad as they did last year”. While Valenzuela felt that the luck had to be better, Ortega wasn’t taking any chances,” After the preliminary on Friday we went out and bought matching green shirts, the color of money,” he said. “We’ve roped together for three years, but are just now clicking. This is the first roping Gerardo has been to this year that is out of town . Maybe I can get him out a little more now.”
2008 was a very special year as Thunder EquiGames was introduced to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) crowd and Las Vegas audience. “Thunder EquiGames is the cowboy version of the X Games,” explained announcer Bob Tallman. “The payout here is equivalent to 60% of the total 10-day NFR payout that took fifty years to create”. In addition to the World Series of Team Roping, the Thunder EquiGames featured The Charmayne James Invitational Barrel Race, the World Series of Mounted Shooting, the Rob Smets Freestyle Bullfight, and the Speed Williams Invitational Pro Match Roping.
This was a year of firsts including record- breaking numbers as the WSTR created the largest mid-rage roping ever with the Cactus Pro-Am that paid out $850,000. The Bloomer Trailers #10 Lo-Am was the largest roping in its category ever produced at $944,000 and the Priefert #11 was the second largest roping in the United States this year at $944,000. While checks were paid to ropers from all over the United States, Canada and Mexico, Arizona won the bragging rights this year by capturing two of the three divisional championships.