NEWS HEADLINES

Wise County home base for world-class cowboys

By Brett Hoffman | Published Wednesday, September 6, 2017
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It’s a great honor to have my weekly rodeo and horse show column in the Wise County Messenger.

It just makes good horse sense for a newspaper to run a western riding sports column in a part of the world that’s a hotbed for rodeo and horse show activity. The newspaper serves all of Wise County, including the Decatur area, which is the home of numerous world class rodeo and bull riding competitors.

The biggest is 23-time Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world champion Trevor Brazile. Brazile also has earned the PRCA’s most prestigious award, the all-around title, a record 13 times.

Brazile’s wife, Shada, also is a successful competitor. She qualified for the 2013 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in barrel racing on the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association circuit.

Decatur is the home of nine-time National Finals steer wrestling qualifier K.C. Jones. Jones also grabbed attention when he clinched the steer wrestling title at the RFD-TVs the American in 2015 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

Decatur also is the home of most of the Brazilian cowboys who currently are winning big money on the Professional Bull Riders circuit. For example, three-time PBR world champion Silvano Alves lives in Decatur. Joao Ricardo Vieira, who has been one of the PBR’s top competitors in recent years, is also from the Decatur area.

With all that in mind, I look forward to bringing the news to Wise County’s newspaper.

COOPER BREAKS RECORD

Former world champion Tuf Cooper has broken the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s regular-season money earnings record in tie-down roping.

With his $166,097 total in 2017 regular season earnings (in the Aug. 28 Weather Guard PRCA World Standings), he has surpassed the regular-season tie-down roping money record of $165,460 set by Cody Ohl in 2006.

With $166,097 in tie-down roping earnings throughout the 2017 season, Cooper has a commanding lead over No. 2 ranked Caleb Smidt. Smidt’s earnings were $132,584 (in the Aug. 28 standings).

Cooper has been on a roll in recent weeks. On the weekend of Aug. 22-27, for example, he earned a $5,565 check as the result of tying for second in the tie-down roping title race at the Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., after turning in a time of 8.1 seconds. Cooper also pocketed $2,341 as the result of tying for first in the first round at the Horse Heaven Round-Up in Kennewick, Wash., after turning in a 7.7.

Cooper also was ranked No. 1 in the PRCA’s 2017 world all-around title race with $186,929 (in the Aug. 28 standings). Smidt was ranked second with $143,632.

Cooper, 27, a former Decatur resident who lives in Decatur, earned PRCA world tie-down roping titles in 2011, 2012 and 2014. He has qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas eight times (2008-15).

Cooper is the son of eight-time world champion Roy Cooper, a native of Hobbs, N.M., who lives in Decatur.

A LONG CAREER

Kory Koontz earned his first of 20 trips to the National Finals Rodeo a quarter century ago.

After clinching the team roping title at the Aug. 22-26 Horse Heaven Round-Up in Kennewick, Wash., Koontz has moved a step closer toward reaching his goal of earning NFR berth No. 21.

Koontz, a heeler, and his heading partner, Dustin Egusquiza, each pocketed $4,891 at the Kennewick rodeo. The duo finished No. 1 in the title race with a three-run time of 15.5 seconds.

After clinching the title, Koontz was ranked 13th in the Aug. 28 PRCA team roping heeling world title race with $67,118 in regular season earnings.

If Koontz finishes within the top 15 when the regular season concludes on Sept. 30, he will earn a 21st berth to the December National Finals in Las Vegas.

Koontz qualified for the PRCA’s National Finals in 1992-2007, 2010-12 and 2015.

Koontz, 46, was born in Lubbock in 1971, and he lived in the West Texas town of Sudan for many years. In recent years, he’s been a resident of Stephenville, which has become a hotbed for world class team ropers.

FAMILY AFFAIR

Shada Brazile earned $5,947 after tying for second in the barrel racing title race at the Aug. 26 pro rodeo in Kennewick, Wash. Meanwhile, Brazile’s brother, Tuf Cooper, earned $2,341 after tying for first in the first round in Kennewick. At the same rodeo, Brazile’s cousin, former National Finals qualifier Stetson Vest of Childress, earned $1,112 after tying for fifth in the tie-down roping second round. Brazile, Cooper and Vest are grandchildren of Clifton and Judy Smith of Childress. Clifton Smith qualified for the National Finals in tie-down roping in 1960 and 1962.

HIGH SCHOOL UPDATE

Two area high school rodeo associations begin their regular season this weekend. The North Texas High School Rodeo Association’s opener is Friday through Sunday at the association’s arena in the north Fort Worth and Saginaw area. The Texas High School Rodeo Association Region III will host the first and second of its 2017-18 regular season rodeos on Saturday and Sunday at the Young County Arena in Graham.

On the NTHSRA circuit, Hadley Miller of Boyd will enter the NTHSRA’s season as the association’s defending boys all-around, bull riding and tie-down roping champion.

Brett Hoffman, a Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame member, has reported on rodeos for more than 30 years.

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