Finale III (2008)
Cactus Ropes #13 Pro-AM Finale Champions
Finale III (2008) Cactus Ropes #13 Pro-AM Finale Champions
There have been big paying ropings for the top professional ropers for years and ropings that were huge for ropers at the bottom of the scale, but until December 10th, 2008, there has never been a mid-level competition to rope at $850,000. In fact, there has never been a professional roping in that price neighborhood. So enter the big winners in the Cactus Ropes #13 at the biggest Pro-AM in history, Jared Udy from Newton, Utah and Ky Oberg from Ephraim, Utah. Udy knew exactly what it was like to rope for big money as he won the #11 WSTR in 2007.
They were the second high callback and after a clean run knew they would win at least $90,000. They had to wait for one team to rope to see where the chips would fall. Steve Smith from Childress, Texas, and Clint Buhler from Decatur, Texas, came in with a two-second lead. Smith and Buhler had almost 11 seconds to get the job done and they would be the champions. Things started out well, but a five-second penalty for a one-leg catch put them at 13.60 seconds. Udy and Oberg’s family and friends were on their feet., none more so that Jared’s wife Emily, who made the west side of the building wake up and take notice.
“That was awesome,” Oberg said. “It was great hearing them in the stands. The whole thing was a little bit nerve wracking. I’d settled for second. Then the next guys pulled up a leg and we’d won it. I haven’t even put the check in the bank.”
There’s no doubt that Oberg will get his check in the bank before the end of the year, but the construction company owner is going to enjoy the big win as long as he can. “I keep looking at that check and thinking it’s a lot of money,” he said. “The bronze and the saddle, all the awards that we got, it was a great experience.”
This was the first time that Udy and Oberg have roped together. Udy lives in northern Utah and Oberg is in the southern part of the state. Udy’s original partner qualified with someone else, so he called Oberg to see if he wanted to go.
“I’ve roped four steers with him (Oberg) and they were all at the South Point,” Udy said. “I’d seen him rope and knew that all I had to do was get them turned for him. “
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.