Freeman and Sartain Secure Ariat #12 WSTR Finale Win
Bob Freeman spends 30-plus days each year in the South Point Arena & Equestrian Center between cutting shows and the World Series of Team Roping Finale.
“The Gaughans have made this the place to be for these kinds of events,” expressed the Fargo, Oklahoma, cowboy. It’s true, there’s no place more suited for nine days and seven Finale divisions with payouts set to exceed one million dollars each. For some perspective, the Ariat #12 WSTR Finale alone paid $282,000 to its champions, Freeman and six-time NFR qualifier Nick Sartain, Yukon, Oklahoma.
“When I won the (PRCA) World Championship (heading in 2009) I think we won $108,000,” said Sartain. “At that time it was a record, so to come out here and win that with my heroes and my friends is just a huge blessing.”
Not to discount his six trips to the Thomas and Mack which hold their own distinct place.
“There’s something special about roping against the best guys in the world. That was my dream since I was a kid so it’s hard to compare the two.”
Before winning the #12 Sartain pocketed $127,000 with Mike Row, Tishomingo, Oklahoma, in the YETI #13 WSTR Finale.
“I told Mike before we roped, ‘We’re thirteenth call back in the #13 at the thirteenth Finale, let’s go win us a bunch of money.’”
Call it fate or luck or heaven sent, Rowe was in need of a partner last minute.
“When he called me up, I said absolutely! Mike has always been one of my heroes so I was excited to get that opportunity.”
In the Ariat #12 WSTR Finale Freeman was riding a yellow cutting-bred horse coincidently registered Skip To The Bank.
“I call him Banker. He’s 13 now and I’d won about $200,000 on him before this win.”
If you’ve met Freeman you know one thing for certain, his unshakeable faith has driven him in all aspects of his life, from cutting horse trainer to AQHA judge to rancher, father, grandfather, husband, friend and now team roper.
“I know this is getting pretty faith-based, but I believe the Lord told me to get involved in team roping,” Freeman explained. “It had never entered my mind before. I tried to be obedient. I got a head horse and started going to jackpot ropings. A few years later here we are.”
A cowboy all his life, Freeman initially followed the rodeo trail.
“I was riding bareback horses and learned pretty quick you had to win to get a check. I was young and had just married my wife (Jan) and started looking into the cutting world. It turned out they paid you to train the horses so that’s what I did.”
Freeman had qualified for the Finale with Colorado’s JT Schalla.
“I knew he always roped with Dick Yates out here and I wasn’t about to mess that deal up,” he explained. “So I got hooked up with Nick. I have to give him credit. He’s a World Champion header and to come in here and not miss a heel loop. That’s a big thing. That’s how handy he is with a rope. If he deicides to go and haul he’ll be back at Thomas and Mack.”
Just over a year ago Sartain cut his thumb off at the Oregon Trail Rodeo in Hastings, Nebraska.
“I just didn’t feel like I could compete at an elite level heading yet so I switched to heeling,” explained Sartain. “That’s kind of how Bob and I got connected. I’ve started heading again some and I do plan to go at it again.”
This WSTR Finale win may have been just the confidence and financial boost, he needed.
“You know, you cut your thumb off and get written off so to come out here and get lucky, to win over $200,000 is unbelievable. I so thankful for my partners and all the blessings I have.”
As for Freeman he was simply shocked to learn they also won a trophy saddle and other prizes.“I didn’t really think about any of this stuff— the prizes, the money—we were just trying to do good. I was planning on winning it though, I had written it down. This won’t change me though. I’ll still ride the same saddle, the same horse, wear the same clothes, but I’ll sure wear this buckle.”
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