Cody Lee realizes it takes more than great roping if he is to win his first Steer Roping World Championship.
“I’ve had a pretty lucky year,” said Lee, 37, of Gatesville, Texas, the top-ranked cowboy heading into the 2012 Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping, presented by National Saddlery set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2, and Saturday, Nov. 3, at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie.
“But with Rocky and Trevor right on your heels, you can’t have a big enough lead when those two are behind you.”
He’s talking about Rocky Patterson and Trevor Brazile, who, combined, have won five of the last six Steer Roping World Titles. Brazile, 35, of Decatur, Texas, is the reigning champ who also won Steer Roping gold buckles in 2006-07; Patterson, 46, of Pratt, Kan., won the world in 2009-10. While Lee leads the race heading into this weekend’s championship, Patterson and Brazile join Vin Fisher Jr. of Andrews, Texas, in the top four and in contention to move into the No. 1 spot from the opening tip.
Lee knows that as well as anyone. This is his highest qualifying spot for the Clem McSpadden, but he’s been among the top 15 ropers in the game eight times.
“It’s been good all year,” he said, referring to the $62,745 he earned through the regular season. “I just need to stick to my game plan and try tying them all down.”
With more than $5,000 on the line for the winners of each of the 10 go-rounds, that’s good reason to be sure. But the total payout is a good reason why contestants are eager to make it to the Lazy E Arena in November. Ralph Williams of Skiatook is back for the second straight year, but it’s just the second time he’s been part of the elite field in his career.
The intensity gets turned up quite a bit this week. Not only is this the largest purse in the sport this season, the NFSR
is where the World Champion will be crowned.
“When I started roping, the goal was to make the finals once,” Patterson said. “Then once you’ve been there a half-dozen times, you hope for something better.
“Of course, it’s fun to be in the race right there at the top.”
As in years past and just like the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, the event will consist of 10 go-rounds to determine the PRCA World Champion and the final 2012 PRCA Steer Roping World Standings. On Friday night, Nov. 2, Rounds 1 through 5 will take place – that means 75 runs in one night. Then on Saturday night, Nov. 3, Rounds 6 through 10 – and another 75 runs – will determine who walks out of the Lazy E Arena with the PRCA World Championship gold buckle and saddle.