Ariat #9 WSTR Finale is a Team Affair for 2018 Champions
The first thing Lorenzo Carbajal plans to do with his cut of the $350,000 won with header Ted Hagler in the Ariat #9 WSTR Finale is buy a truck.
“Two months ago the engine blew up on my truck,” he explained. “I had to haul a horse out here for a buddy so he let me borrow his.”
At just 26-years-old Carbajal, who calls Wittmann, Arizona, home, was fighting back tears as they un-cinched their horses and made their way to the center of the South Point arena to receive one of the largest paychecks in the history of the sport at his very first WSTR Finale appearance.
“It hasn’t all sunk in yet,” said Hagler, Kuna, Idaho, who has only roped at one other Finale. “When I was here last time I kind of got hung up in the enormity of it, the big jackpot. Our plan was to take it one cow at a time.”
Hagler and Carbajal were second high call and roped their short round steer in a quick 7.17 seconds to go to the lead. Carbajal rode in quick and threw on the first hop.
“I hadn’t planned do that,” he recalled. “My horse got me there and I had my shot so I just took it.”
Their time held when the high call team of Mitch Self and Cody Malone, both of Wolfe City, Texas, were clean but a longer 8.72.
“It’s important to have four good cows and we did,” said Hagler, who had switched to his wife’s horse for the #9 Finale after roping on his earlier in the week.
“He was hesitating, he just wasn’t getting me to the cow the way I wanted. I switched to my wife’s horse, Charlie, and he worked outstanding. He’s the been there, done that, kind of horse.”
Carbajal was aboard a semi-borrowed 8-year-old gelding he calls Hooey.
“I started him as a 3-year-old and sold him last year to my buddy, Jimmy Jensen,” he explained. “He still owns him but he told me if I ever wanted to buy him back I could. I probably will now.”
Hagler, who works as a manager at Micron Technology, a multi-billion dollar company specializing in semiconductor devices, took nearly a 30-year hiatus from the sport of team roping returning just five years ago.
“I was busy with my career and my kids were involved in it,” he explained. Now, he’ll put his money back into the sport. “I really would like to invest it back in my roping. Maybe get a couple good horses.”
Carbajal, who rides and trains horses and does some shoeing on the side had gone to Idaho to escape the sweltering Arizona summer a couple of years ago and first met Hagler.
“I met him at a jackpot and he invited me out to rope,” he explained. He also met Hagler’s step-daughter Remie, and the two have been dating ever since.
“It’s kind of been on his back to come up and practice,” Hagler laughed. “He does get up here on some free weekends and spends time here in the summer. We rope at the house and we try and find different arenas to practice at. I think that’s just a good thing to do.”
When it comes to the team aspect of team roping, both Hagler and Carbajal have that covered. Carbajal was joined in the winner’s circle with quite possibly the largest entourage to ever take the stage.
“I have mostly family here,” he laughed. “But some were friends.”
For Hagler it’s similar.
“I have an incredible wife who has saddled I don’t know how many horses. Steve Warnock (Oregon) and Brett McDowell (Texas) have kept me in good horses. My nephew John Hagler has been hounding me to rope for the last six months. My buddy Kevin Kelly loads steers and saddles horses so we can practice in the afternoon and Ken Wood allowed us to use his indoor pen once our ground was frozen.”
Hagler’s advice to his young partner, “Don’t forget this is fun. This is an amazing opportunity. Just take time to sit back and reflect on it.”