In the Corner with Billie Jack Saebens

We asked Rattler Rope athlete, Billie Jack Saebens, what advice he could offer to a high school version of himself. This is what he had to say:

Horsepower

If I could give advice to a high school version of myself, I would say respect your horse. If you have a great one, treat him like it, and come to realize they won’t be around forever. It’s easy to take a good horse for granted and run too many on them, or not to take all the steps to care for them at the level they need to be cared for. Don’t wait until you’re without that great horse to come to these realizations.

Billie Jack - 2018 Windy Ryon

If you don’t have a good horse, do everything in your power to get one. Horses are everything especially nowadays when everyone ropes so good, the great horses easily separate themselves from the good horses. Take the time to learn how to keep them healthy, sound, and working. It will pay off greatly in the long run if you’re going into the rodeo business. There are guys that rope good around every corner, but there aren’t as many people making good horses. They are fewer and farther between than ever, so take the time to learn the horsemanship to make one or keep the one you have working.

The guys that have long successful careers are the ones that can keep the good horses.

-Billie Jack Saebens

Billie Jack - BFI 18

 

For Contact:

Hannah Haugen

Public Relations Coordinator

hhaugen@equibrand.com

The Comeback Kid

If you watched the Championship Shootout at RodeoHouston and have a beating pulse, you got excited for Matt Sherwood and Walt Woodard the moment they looked up at the jumbotron at and realized they had bested Cody Snow and Wesley Thorp’s fast time by .1 setting the new arena record with a 4.0. They got by the last team to rope, arguably one of the best teams in the world, Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira, and were crowned the 2018 RodeoHouston team roping champions.

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Matt and Walt after their on-air interview after winning coveted RodeoHouston. Photo by Impulse Photography.

At the cowboys’ favorite rodeo, March Madness takes on a meaning all its own at RodeoHouston. With a unique bracket-style format, to make it to Saturday’s Championship Shootout, ropers have at least roped five steers and potentially six through their Super Series, Semi-Finals, and the Wildcard round on the super stage of NRG stadium that has a staggering capacity of 72,220 people. Each round is a clean slate, and it is a battle until there is one team left standing. We are accustomed to hearing about the “Cinderella story” basketball teams and the underdogs taking the win in the tournament and team roping is shaping up to have their own Cinderella team in 2018 with the likes of Matt Sherwood and Walt Woodard.

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The heel shot of the record breaking 4.0 arena record setting run. Photo by Impulse Photography.

Coming off a big win at the start of 2018 at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, Walt and Matt have resumes a mile long, and no, they aren’t the underdogs by any means. Nevertheless, this team is unique in a field of ropers and a sport where there are new young guns winning every day.

This veteran team is making a resurgence and breaking records.

In fact, Walt nearly has more NFR qualifications than years Cody Snow or Wesley Thorp have been alive. Known for being an expert roper, horseman, clinician, and motivational speaker, on any given day at his training center in Stephenville, TX he might be giving lessons to a beginning roper or practicing with an NFR qualifier. He’s played an instrumental role in a lot of the up and coming NFR qualifiers’ careers that he is now competing against. He’s just that guy, although he isn’t eager to take the credit for it.

“I don’t want to be looked at as their teacher or their mentor. I feed off of them. We’re all doing the same thing. We’re all watching Wesley Thorp, “the Brazilian”, and Corkill and seeing what they are doing. There are so many guys out there that can compete at this high of a level and I’m just working on what I can control to compete at my best and stay in that top 5% winning percentage.”

“Age is just a number” is truly Walt’s mentality, and it shows. We all remember his world championship in 2007, he won in his 50’s his first time out of retirement. Now competing in his 60’s; he’s more ready than ever and feels like he is fully competing and functioning at a high level.

“One thing I love about sports is there is no prejudice…and I despise prejudice. In sports, race, color, size, age…none of it matters. There is a line drawn in the sand here and there and whoever gets there first wins.”

This doesn’t mean Walt hasn’t had to change his game plan over the years. The team roping landscape looks a little different than in 1975 when he first bought his card. The steers today are smaller and the times are faster.

In his post-win interview with Boyd Polhamus, Boyd specifically asked him what changes he has made in his swing, with the general consensus being he had to adjust to a faster swing with a lighter rope to be as quick as you have to win money in today’s ropings. Walt has always been a GT4 guy. Previously he used a GTR full MH and now has transitioned to a GT4 Lite HM.

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“Blueberry” Walt’s great heel horse is a 10-year-old gelding trained by Walt and Travis out of Sunfrost lineage. Photo by Impulse Photography.

If you’ve watched Walt rope this year you would have to notice his beautiful blue roan gelding, “Blueberry”. If you ask Walt, this is the best horse he has ever ridden, and Walt has been around great horses and horsemen his entire life.

“He is perfect, he never makes a mistake. I got him when he was a yearling and we halter broke him at my place. No one has touched him except me and my son [Travis] and we trained him here. He is just amazing, he even cocks his head and watches the headers nod every time.”

Blueberry is a 10-year-old gelding with Sunfrost lineage and gets the utmost care at the Woodard ranch. Walt lopes and exercises him a mile and a half every day and uses him where he counts, you won’t see Blueberry at the weekly jackpots around Erath county. When he practices on him it’s in an extremely controlled environment, he ropes six steers and then drags the pen. There won’t even be a footprint in the arena when he is ready to rope again. He gives credit to this regimen and mindset to years of experience.

“When the ground isn’t good, barrel racers won’t run their horse. I’m a little that way with Blueberry. If it’s muddy at Cheyenne, ya-you have to ride him. But Pendleton…I won’t ever ride that horse there and it’s one of my favorite rodeos. I just won’t with him.”

What’s next for Sherwood and Woodard?

Well, they are hitting the road and making a run for Vegas for an NFR qualification and we wish nothing but the best of luck and hope to see them there.

 

Contact:
Hannah Haugen, Public Relations Coordinator

hhaugen@equibrand.com

 

 

In the Corner with Jackie Crawford

We asked Rattler Rope athlete and 17x WPRA World Champion, Jackie Hobbs-Crawford, what she felt was one of the most important aspects of roping the youth of the sport needed to make a priority of. Unsurprisingly, she chose horsemanship.

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“If you have been in the market for a rope horse, you understand the great ones are hard to come by, and the market price has changed to reflect that. The importance of having good horsemanship is now more than ever. Horses are a direct reflection of their riders’ and one of the #1 rules you need to remember is when a horse does something wrong in the arena, stop and think about if they were reacting to what you asked them to do. To stay at the top of your game, preserving and taking the best care of your horse is going to be key to their career longevity.”

 

 

For Contact:

Hannah Haugen

Public Relations Coordinator

hhaugen@equibrand.com

Semi-Finals Calf Roping Slack Results

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FORT WORTH, February 15, 2017–Tuesday held the Ultimate Calf Roping sanctioned Semi Final slack. 152 competitors competed for the top 20 spots advancing to the performances Wednesday, February 15 and Thursday, February 16th. From there, the 10 fast times will advance to Friday’s final performance where it will be a “clean slate” format with the top six times advancing to AT&T Stadium for RFD-TV’s The American. The three Semi-Final performances will be held at 7:30 pm nightly at the Cowtown Colliseum in the Fort Worth Stockyards. Tickets for the Semi-Finals and The American can be purchased at http://www.americanrodeo.com/.

Tie-Down Roping: (first round winners)

1. Ty Harris, San Angelo, TX, 6.86 seconds, $8,158. 2. Chris Demases, Boyd, Texas, 6.93, $4,501. 3. Cody Craig, Wendell, Idaho, 7.05, $3,657. 4. Timber Moore, Aubrey, Texas, 7.15, $2,532. 5. Catfish Brown, Collinsville, Texas, 7.17, $2,250. 6. Kelsey Garrison, Canyon, Texas, 7.25, $1,969. 7. Landyn Duncan, Atascosa, Texas, 7.32, $1,688. 8. Tyler Milligan, Pawhuska, Okla., 7.33, $1, 407. 9. John Douch, Huntsville, Texas, 7.39, $1,125. 10. Westyn Hughes, Caldwell, Texas, 7.40, $844.

Second Round

1. Timber Moore, Aubrey, Texas, 6.47, $8,158. 2. Tyler Milligan, Pawhuska, Okla., 6.49, $4,501. 3. Cody McCartney, Ottawa Lake, Mich., 6.95, $3, 657. 4/5. (tie) Cory Solomon, Prairie View, Texas, and Zack Jongbloed, Iowa, La., 7.09, $2,391. 6. Clint Cooper, Decatur, Texas, 7.12, $1,969. 7. Timber Moore, Aubrey, Texas, 7.16, $1,688. 8. Westyn Hughes, Caldwell, Texas, 7.21, $1,407. 9. Tanner Green, Cotulla, Texas, 7.30, $1,125. 10. Trent Creager, Stillwater, Okla., 7.32, $844.

Top Twenty Advancing to Performances

Wednesday, February 15:

Rowdy Haferkamp, Cuero, Texas.

Cory Solomon, Prairie View, Texas.

Marshall Leonard, Shongaloo, La.

Clint Cooper, Decatur, Texas.

Timber Moore, Aubrey, Texas.

Fred Whitfield, Hockley, Texas.

Zak Danison, Groveport, Ohio.

Darnell Johnson, Pueblo, Colo.

Ty Harris, San Angelo, TX.

Giovanni Davis, College Station, Texas.

Thursday, February 16:

Sterling Smith, Stephenville, Texas.

Clint Robinson, Spanish Fork, Utah.

James Collins, Turley, Okla.

Westyn Hughes, Caldwell, Texas.

Bradford Loeffler, Orange Grove, Texas.

Blair Burk, Durant, Okla.

Landyn Duncan, Atascosa, Texas.

Timber Moore, Aubrey, Texas.

Ryaan Thibodeaux, Eunace, La.

Seth Cooke, Weatherford, Texas.

A 16.47 was the cut off on two.

 

 

 

 

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Contact:

Hannah Haugen

hhaugen@equibrand.com

 

2015 Rattler Milestone Moments

2015 was one for the books for Rattler Rope. Our professionals and products proved they were among the elite in the business once again, and it was a very successful year. We wanted to highlight and give credit where due to a few of our superstars.

Westyn Hughes may be an up and comer young gun, but his name will be one to remember for days to come. 2016 will be his rookie year and he is looking to strike and make a run for the NFR. His growing resume has accomplishments such as the youngest roper to qualify for the CPRA finals, the youngest to ever win the CPRA Tie Down Roping, and the first roper to ever win three consecutive CPRA titles as well as three consecutive qualifications to RFD-TV’s The American Semi Finals, winning the qualifier in Stephenville, TX. He is mounted on some of the best horses in the business and there is no need for introduction on what Westyn can achieve.

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Westyn Hughes at 2015 RFD-TV’s The American Semi Finals in Fort Worth, TX

Kollin VonAhn proved once again he has what it takes to become a world champ. He had an outstanding 2015 season and National Finals winning the average with partner Luke Brown and a GT4 Rattler heel rope and won the world title with Aaron Tsinigine. The added money at the finals really amped up the excitement and one has to argue the team roping world title race was one of the most exciting to date.

Rattler-Word-pressIn 2016 Kollin will be partnered up with Colby Lovell and they are already off to a strong start. They will be a fun team to watch!

The Dark Horse of the whole NFR was  Caleb Smidt. He had a fairytale finals coming off of a serious leg injury from the previous year. He proved to everyone that he was the comeback kid and with his good bay horse, Pockets. He left Las Vegas with his first gold buckle and NFR average win. Caleb Smidt is a multi event cowboy and just qualified for RFD-TV’s The American Qualifier with Paul Eaves on the heel side. Looking to see big things from this guy in 2016!

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Caleb Smidt at 2015 NFR 

All in all it was a great year and we are looking forward to document more milestone moments in 2016. #NothingComesClose

 

 

Westyn for the Triple Crown Win

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Up and coming superstar, Westyn Hughes, proved he can play with the big boys this past weekend at the Cowboys Professional Rodeo Association Finals in Angleton, TX. He came into these finals leading the world standings, with none other than 8X World Champion Fred Whitfield in second place. Hughes placed in all three rounds and won the average.

Hughes was the youngest to ever qualify for the CPRA finals in the tie down roping and the youngest to ever win the title. He now has won that title three times, earning him the triple crown.

Hughes says he has learned from being around these champions he has looked up to and come to know and it is an honor to compete against them. He accredited his CPRA experience to his ability to rope smart in high pressure situations.

The CPRA has been like professional rodeo for me. I haul all year and it has made me grow as a roper. Up until now, these are the only rodeos I could go to where I get the opportunity to rope against the pro guys.

Hughes also won RFD-TV’s The American Semi Finals Qualifier in Stephenville, TX. This is his third qualification to the prestigious event. You could say that three is Hughes’s lucky number. Now at the age of 18, Hughes knows more of what to expect come time for the Semi Finals and is looking for that qualification to Cowboy’s Stadium.

Westyn Hughes is a phenomenon in the sport, but this didn’t happen by luck. Hughes said his advice he always gives when talking to young kids beginning their careers is,

The little things make the biggest difference. Your ability to win comes by being willing to put the time and effort into it that others won’t.

This method has proven to be successful for Hughes and he has big goals for 2016. He is mounted on some of the best horses in the sport  that include Oz, 2008 AQHA Tie Down Roping Horse of the year and formerly rode and owned by NFR Qualifier and Million Dollar PRCA earner Justin Maass, along with two other solid horses, McLovin’ and Chicka. Westyn Hughes will be a name you will be hearing for a long time to come and he is gunning for the 2016 PRCA Rookie title and his first NFR Qualification. Big things are headed this young man’s way and it will be an exciting show to watch.

The Choice of World Champions

If you are familiar with Rattler Ropes, you know  the GT4.

Known for its four strands, durability, and long lasting life and body, the GT4 has been used to win more gold buckles than any other rope on the market.

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Kollin VonAhn using GT4

Big names such as Rich Skelton, Walt Woodard, Randon Adams, Kollin VonAhn, Jade Corkill, and Travis Graves are among some of the world champions who chose to use the GT4.

While the GT4 is predominately used as a heel rope, it’s not uncommon to see a header using the light blue. Up and comer Clay Smith uses the GT4 on the head side and just qualified for his first NFR. There is also the GT4 Lite option.

The GT4 is Rattler’s top selling team rope and has yields proven results with lots of body and consistency. It’ll make you ask what second place even feels like?