Formed in 1966, the California Professional Rodeo Association (CCPRA) is a regional organization that sanctions several rodeos throughout California. With co-approved rodeos in Nevada, Washington, and Oregon, the CCPRA provides cowboys and cowgirls the opportunity to compete in roughly 25 rodeos a year. Each rodeo has strong competition in all events and the association has shown steady growth over the past years. To conclude each season the association produces a final rodeo for the top twelve in each event. Over the weekend (October 27-28, 2017), I was fortunate enough to compete in calf roping at the 2017 Finals. Fellow Kimes Ranch team member Chelsey Bushnell also competed in her main event, break-way roping. Here is a quick recap of the event and our performances.
The finals were challenging for both of us. It took the right draw in each event to stay competitive. Being first out in the calf roping Friday night made it difficult to gauge the start but even with a bobble on my tie I was able to place third in the first round and move up the standings. On the next night I drew a calf that was on the bigger end of the pen but still a good draw. I took a great start but unfortunately took a less than ideal throw, curling the back leg. After straightening the run out, I was too long to place in the round or the average. At the finals I felt that I did well with my flanking each time on the bigger roped-out calves. Two things I stumbled with at the finals were lack of confidence on scoring when I am first out and not roping calves sharp when they are off to the left. I second guessed myself on my first calf and it caused me to be longer than desired and the poor catch on the second took me out of the entire rodeo. Overall, it wasn’t the best way to end the year but every opportunity to compete is a learning experience. The season as a whole went well. I went to less than 10 rodeos for the year and really tried to make the best run possible and place each time I entered. I also used many of the rodeos to season a younger horse. My advice for myself moving forward is to remember “smooth is fast.”
The break-away roping followed the calf roping each night. Chelsey had some tough luck at the finals and felt like she didn’t capitalize on her opportunities to win like she wanted. Each night she felt like she could take it one run at a time and showed focus on the moment and the draw she had each round. However, when asked what she could improve on Chelsey said that she needs to improve on be being aggressive each time. Sometimes the runs during slack do not pump her up as much as the more charged performances. Making this adjustment would help her competition in every situation. Competing in a majority of the rodeos, Chelsey said that her season went well. Her roping throughout the year felt sharp and her horse worked good enough to bring her into the finals winning second before finishing third overall at the end of the weekend. Chelsey’s advice to other ropers is to learn how to place on the bad calves and win on the good ones.
This weekend didn’t end with year-end championships, but it still had plenty of positives. The CCPRA produced a great rodeo that allowed its contestants to compete for great added money at a great venue. I was able to win some money and my horse continued to work great. Now it’s time to get back to the practice pen for another week and keep improving.
November 4, 2017