postheadericon Top ropers eager to compete at Clem McSpadden

GUTHRIE, Okla. – There’s something majestic about the Lazy E Arena, especially when the greatest cowboys compete.

It becomes even more special this week when ProRodeo’s elite are in the historic building for the 2013 Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping, set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8-Saturday, Nov. 9, at the Fabulous Lazy E Arena in Guthrie.

Cody Lee

Cody Lee

“It’s special every year, because you rope all year to get there,” said Cody Lee, the fourth-ranked steer roper in the world standings. “Your goal to start out the season is to make the finals and have a chance to win the world title.”

Lee has a chance. The Gatesville, Texas, cowboy earned $54,593 through the regular season, which ended Sept. 30. He trails the money leader, three-time world champion Rocky Patterson of Pratt, Kan., by $16,339. While that may seem insurmountable in most circumstances, it’s not the case at the Clem McSpadden, which features the largest purse in the sport this season.

“With what the go-rounds and the average pay, I’ve got a shot,” said Lee, now in his eighth qualification to steer roping’s championship event. “Rocky’s not going to going to give it away, and Trevor will be there; those guys are hard to beat.”

Trevor is Trevor Brazile, a 17-time world champion who owns three steer roping gold buckles of his own – he also has three world titles in tie-down roping, one in team roping-heading and a record 10 in the all-around. Brazile is the No. 2 cowboy in the race for the world title with $57,759, just $13,173 behind Patterson.

Chet Herren

Chet Herren

“If you’re rodeoing for a living, the only chance you’ve got to make money is to make the finals and hope you have a good finals,” said Chet Herren, an eight-time NFSR qualifier from Pawhuska, Okla., who sits third on the money list with $55,560. “What you rope for is a chance for the world championship.”

The field features the top 15 contestants in the world standings, all of whom have battled throughout the rugged regular season in order to earn a spot in this elite field. In addition to Patterson and Brazile, two-time world champion Scott Snedecor of Fredricksburg, Texas, is in the mix. Between the three, they own the last eight steer roping gold buckles.

They will be joined by some of the greatest ropers ever to have competed in the sport, including record-setter Dan Fisher and his two sons, Vin Jr. and J. Tom. Fisher, now 62, is the oldest man to have qualified for National Finals event in ProRodeo history, and he keeps breaking the record every year.

J. Tom Fisher

J. Tom Fisher

“We’ve already roped at the finals together once,” J. Tom Fisher said, referring to the 2010 Clem McSpadden. “Doing that again is just as nice. Vin and Dad have made it together five or six times. It’s nice to be able to compete against them and jump in the mix. It’s hard to believe Dad’s still doing it, but he’s never slowed down. Now he has a personal trainer he goes to three times a week. He’s had multiple knee surgeries, and he had prostate cancer. Nothing fazes him. He overcomes every obstacle. He just keeps roping and winning.”

That’s why the elder Fisher returns to the championship for the 16th time. It’s something his sons hope to carry on for years to come, because they love competing inside the historic Lazy E.

“It’s the best place to rope, period,” J. Tom Fisher said.

Steer roping fans will enjoy all of the activities planned for the performances and in addition, the Senior National Finals Steer Roping will take place during the day at the Lazy E Arena on Nov. 8-9.  VIP ticket prices for each performance of the NFSR are $40 … Box seats $35 and general admission $23 pre-show.  Children 12 and under are free in general admission. Group discounts are also available … Call (800) 595-RIDE for complete details. A portion of the proceeds from the 2013 Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping will again be donated to the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City and the Clem McSpadden Endowed Chair at Oklahoma State University. The Lazy E is proud to support these institutions for Western preservation.

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