postheadericon Cooper honors Tuffy with solid run

Two-time world champion tie-down roper Tuf Cooper closes out a 7.8-second run Wednesday to lead the first round at the Lea County Fair and Rodeo. During the second performance, the family was on hand during a dedication to those who have supported rodeo in the county, including Cooper's grandfather, Dale "Tuffy" Cooper. Tuf Cooper's two-run time of 16.2 seconds leads the Lovington average.

Two-time world champion tie-down roper Tuf Cooper closes out a 7.8-second run Wednesday to lead the first round at the Lea County Fair and Rodeo. During the second performance, the family was on hand during a dedication to those who have supported rodeo in the county, including Cooper’s grandfather, Dale “Tuffy” Cooper. Tuf Cooper’s two-run time of 16.2 seconds leads the Lovington average.

LOVINGTON, N.M. – In his seven years in ProRodeo, Tuf Cooper has earned two tie-down roping world championship gold buckles and six qualifications to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

He hasn’t, however, done very well at the Lea County Fair and Rodeo.

“I placed fourth in the first go-round last year, and that was the first check I ever won in Lovington,” said Cooper, who pocketed a little more than $1,500 last August.

Tuf Cooper

Tuf Cooper

He should add a lot to it. On Wednesday, Cooper posted two runs in a cumulative time of 16.2 seconds, leads the first go-round and the all-important average with just two days of competition remaining. More importantly, he put on quite a show inside Jake McClure Arena on a night when his late grandfather, Dale “Tuffy” Cooper, was honored.

“They just dedicated this to my grandfather,” he said, noting that Tuffy Cooper died last November at the age of 88. “I hope I end up winning it; if I do, it’s going to be a special one for me and my family.”

Cooper owns a lot of victories, but doing well in his family’s home county has always been a big deal. His father, legendary roper Roy Cooper, was raised in Lea County; Roy Cooper then passed along his experience and talent to his three sons, Tuf, Clif and Clint, a Lovington High School graduate.

But the foundation was laid in Monument, N.M., by Tuffy Cooper.

“My dad gave me all the opportunity to rope,” Tuf Cooper said. “Whenever I wanted to learn something and try to get better, I would call my grandpa and ask him what I could work on to get better. My dad taught me to rope, but my grandpa helped me get better.

“By just talking to him on the phone, he could teach me how to practice and to do the right things to improve. He helped develop me over the telephone.”

That’s quite a statement about his namesake, but it’s one he shares with countless other ropers. Those lessons came in quite handy Wednesday; he roped and tied his first round calf in the afternoon session in 7.8 seconds, then followed that with an 8.4-second run in the performance, which moved Cooper to a tie for second place in the second round.

“You want to win every time you nod your head, but whenever I have those special moments, it fuels my fire,” said Cooper, the No. 1 tie-down roper in the world standings with more than $106,000 in earnings so far this season. “Tonight was one of them.”

The fire has been ignited, and the Cooper clan has another reason to celebrate Wednesday.

Lea County Fair and Rodeo
Lovington, N.M.
Aug. 6-9
Bareback riding:
1. Bobby Mote, 85 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s River Boat Annie; 2. Steven Dent, 82; 3. (tie) Joel Schlegel and Jared Green, 81; 5. Luke Creasy, 80; 6. (tie) Kyle Bowers, Caine Riddle and Tim O’Connell, 79.

Steer wrestling: First round leaders: 1. Ty Erickson, 3.9 seconds; 2. (tie) Gary Gilbert and Denard Butler, 4.3; 4. (tie) Tanner Milan and Josh Peek, 4.7; 6. Cooper Shofner, 4.8; 7. (tie) Cole Edge and Jacob Shofner, 5.1; 6. Jule Hazen, 5.4; 7. Timmy Sparing, 6.7; 8. Cimarron Thompson, 14.0. Second round leaders: 1. Cooper Shofner, 3.9 seconds; 2. Ty Erickson, 4.2; 3. Timmy Sparing, 4.4; 4. Tommy Cook, 4.5; 5. Josh Peek, 4.7; 6. Kyle Irwin, 5.0; 7. Gary Gilbert, 5.1; 8. Jule Hazen, 5.2. Average leaders: 1. Ty Erickson, 8.1 seconds on two runs; 2. Cooper Shofner, 8.7; 3. (tie) Gary Gilbert and Josh Peek, 9.4; 5. Jule Hazen, 10.6; 6. Timmy Sparing, 11.1; 7. Cole Edge, 11.6; 8. Tommy Cook, 14.3.

Tie-down roping: First round leaders: 1. Tuf Cooper, 7.8 seconds; 2. (tie) Cody Owens and Ryan Watkins, 8.4; 3. Trent Walls, 9.0; 4. (tie) J.D. Kibbe, Marcos Costa, Matthew Love and Tyson Durfey, 9.1; 8. (tie) Clint Cooper and Stran Smith, 9.2. Second round leaders: 1. J.D. Kibbe, 8.2 seconds; 2. (tie) Tyson Durfey and Tuf Cooper, 8.4; 4. JohnPete Etcheverry, 8.7; 5. Spence Barney, 8.8; 6. (tie) Ryan Watkins and Marcos Costa, 9.1; Quay Howard, 9.3. Average leaders: 1. Tuf Cooper, 16.2 seconds on two runs; 2. J.D. Kibbe, 17.3; 3. (tie) Ryan Watkins and Tyson Durfey, 17.5; 5. Marcos Costa, 18.2; 6. JohnPete Etcheverry, 18.3; 7. Trent Walls, 18.8; 8. Cody Owens, 19.0.

Saddle bronc riding: 1. Jacobs Crawley, 83 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Django; 2. Cody Wright, 82; 3. (tie) CoBurn Bradshaw, Rusty Wright, Louie Brunson and Hardy Braden, 80; 7. (tie) Sterling Crawley, Kaleb Asay and Wade Sundell, 78.

Steer roping: Third round leaders: 1. Rod Hartness, 10.7 seconds; 2. (tie) Chance Kelton and Tom Smith, 11.3; 4. Brodie Poppino, 11.5; 5. Scott Snedecor, 12.0; 6. J.P. Wickett, 12.1; 7. Mike Outhier, 12.2; 8. Jess Tierney, 12.5. Average leaders: 1. Chet Herren, 44.3 seconds on three runs; 2. Brodie Poppino, 46.4; 3. Kim Ziegelgruber, 47.9; 4. Ralph Williams, 53; 5. Rod Hartness, 24.2 seconds on two runs; 6. J.P. Wickett, 25.2; 7. Bryce Davis, 25.3; 8. Chance Kelton, 26.6.

Team roping: First round leaders: 1. Chad Masters/Clay O’Brien Cooper, 4.7 seconds; 2. Jake Barnes/Junior Nogueiro, 4.9; 3. Erich Rogers/Cory Petska, 4.8; 4. Riley Minor, 5.0; 4. Blaine Vick/Walt Woodard, 6.0; 5. Chris Francis/Cade Passig, 6.5; 6. Jesy Austin/Corey Hendrick, 7.3; 7. Lee Kiehne/Brian Sullivan, 8.4; 8. Jake Brown/Jay Logan, 9.0. Second round leaders: 1. Chace Thompson/Jett Hillman, 5.3 seconds; 2. Adam Rose/Billie Saebens, 5.6; 3. Blaine Vick/Walt Woodard, 5.7; 4. Brock Hanson/Cesar de la Cruz, 9.8; 5. JohnPete Etcheverry/Corban Livingston, 9.9; 6. (tie) Turtle Powell/Dakota Kirchenschlager and Seth Hall/Russ Sullivan, 10.3, 8. Erich Rogers/Cory Petska, 11.0. Average: 1. Blaine Vick/Walt Woodard, 11.7 seconds on two runs; 2. Erich Rogers/Cory Petska, 15.8; 3. Adam Rose/Billie Saebens, 17.0; 4. Brock Hanson/Cesar de la Cruz, 20.1; 5. JohnPete Etcheverry/Corban Livingston, 22.0; 6. Chad Masters/Clay O’Brien Cooper, 4.7 seconds on one run; 7. Jake Barnes/Junior Nogueira, 4.9; 8. Riley Minor/Brady Minor, 5.0.

Barrel racing: First round leaders: 1. Rebecca Hughes, 17.24 seconds; 2. Callie Gray, 17.47; 3. Sabra O’Quinn, 17.54; 4. Christine Laughlin, 17.58; 5. Dena Kirkpatrick, 17.63; 6. Shelby Perez, 17.69; 7. Natalie Bland, 17.83; 8. Gretchen Benbenek, 17.87; 9. Christy Loflin, 17.94; 10. Jessica Frost, 18.00; 11. Carmen Larson, 18.19; 12. Dawn Lewis, 18.21; 13. (tie) Lacinda Rose and Ivy Hurst, 18.23; 15. Nikkie Miller-Gosney, 18.26.

Bull riding: 1. J.W. Harris, 91 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Thunder Cat; 2. (tie) Brett Stall and Caleb Sanderson, 87; 4. Seth Glause, 86; 5. (tie) Dylan Vick and Garrett Smith, 83; 7. (tie) Corey Granger and Jarrod Craig, 79.

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