ALLEN, Texas – Everything is very familiar for Tuf Cooper, the two-time reigning world champion tie-down roper from nearby Decatur, Texas.
The son of ProRodeo legend Roy Cooper, Tuf Cooper finished the 2013 regular season atop the world standings with $135,164, nearly $40,000 over the No. 2 roper, Tyson Durfey. They’ll be in quite the battle during the sport’s super bowl, the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, which takes place in a month in Las Vegas.
For now, though, the top cowboys and cowgirls in the sport will try to get a head-start on the 2014 season during the Tom Thumb Texas Stampede, set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8, and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, at the Allen Events Center. That’s just fine with Cooper, who will return to the arena to defend his shared title from a year ago – he, his brother, Clint, and Ryan Jarrett all turned in times of 7.7 seconds to win the tie-down roping title a year ago.
“That’s the first rodeo of my 2013 season, and already it’s getting off to a great start,” said Tuf Cooper, who also will utilize his work in Allen as a great stepping stone to the NFR. “It’s awesome that Allen, Texas, had such a great rodeo for us cowboys. For it to be this close to home, it’s like it was our hometown rodeo.”
The set-up of the events center and the electricity inside the building are perfect for preparatory work it takes to compete for gold buckles.
“When I walked into their arena for the first time, it was a little arena, just like what we’ll see in Vegas,” Cooper said of the NFR. “I got a little preview of what Vegas is going to be like. It was really loud in there, too.”
That happens when the best in the game compete at a rodeo like the Tom Thumb Texas Stampede. The event helps raise money for children in north Texas.
“There are a few rodeos going on this time of year, but nothing to compare to Allen,” Cooper said. “It was fun, but I’m not going to lie: I was trying to be 7.6.”
Cooper laughed a little, but that’s the mindset a world champion must have in the cut-throat world of ProRodeo. Pete Carr understands that as well as anyone. Carr, who owns Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo and Carr Pro Rodeo, will produce the stampede, making sure everyone involved has a great experience: stampede staff members and volunteers, contestants and fans. Combined, Carr owns the largest stock contracting firm in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.
“I’m combining two of the best crews in rodeo to form one of the greatest rodeo companies,” Carr said. “I’m excited about the new opportunities that are ahead for the company. I want committees to know we have a lot to offer them. We’re going to have unprecedented resources for all the rodeos, which will benefit everyone involved: committees, sponsors, contestants and spectators.”
Carr has been nominated as 2013 PRCA Stock Contractor of the Year and will have 27 of his animals performing at the NFR. That’s the most of any contractor in the modern era, and it’s the kind of power he will have in Allen. Combine that with the top names in the game, and it’s no wonder the Tom Thumb Texas Stampede will be a must-see event.