Rocky Patterson earned checks in all five rounds and the average on Nov. 3 to win his third world championship in four years at the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping in Guthrie, Okla. Patterson finished just $418 ahead of Trevor Brazile, who won the 10-head average by 61.7 seconds over Mike Chase.
GUTHRIE, Okla. – Two-time world champion Rocky Patterson came into the second night of the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping Nov. 3 with the lead in the 2012 world standings. But with 16-time world champion cowboy and defending world champion steer roper Trevor Brazile just $303 behind him and holding the lead in the average after five rounds, Patterson knew he would have to press for go-round money to have a chance to add the 2012 gold buckle to his collection.
“A lot of people were saying, ‘Unless Trevor messes up you other guys don’t have a very good chance.’ But you don’t want to count on Trevor messing up. We’re used to Trevor roping flawlessly. That’s Trevor every day.”
And Brazile didn’t mess up. He roped all 10 steers over the two days to join Phil Lyne as the only men in ProRodeo history to win average titles in three different National Finals events (team roping 2008 and tie-down roping 2010) and he won by a margin of 61.7 seconds over Mike Chase.
Only a funny thing happened on the way to the coronation.
Patterson had a better night. He toppled the king. He earned checks in all five rounds, clinching his third world championship in four years by winning the 10th round in 10.3 seconds and edging Brazile for the gold buckle by a margin of just $418.
It was as close a competition as one could hope to have to decide the world championship and it was tension-filled from the first moments.
True to his plan and championship form, Patterson tied his sixth steer in 10.2 to win the round and extend his lead in the world title race to $3,303 over Brazile, who finished fourth in the round himself with an 11.5 second run.
Brazile was the first to rope in round number seven, and laid down another solid run of 12.0, which would hold for another fourth-place check. Brazile had previously stated that he had come to the 2012 NFSR with his own game plan, “to rope a certain kind of roping,” and he had been the model of consistency. Taking two wraps on every steer at this point, it was Brazile’s fifth check in seven rounds, also strengthening his hold on the average lead.
Two of the other three ropers who had all posted qualified times on all their steers in the previous six rounds – J.P. Wickett and Landon McClaugherty – took no times on their seventh steers, which left Mike Chase as the only other roper in the field to still have a chance to tie all 10 steers down, and he trailed Brazile by 58.1 seconds.
Rod Hartness took his first victory lap in round seven with an 11.2 run, but more relevant to the complicated world championship race, Patterson and Fisher proved once again they were still in this fight. Patterson was still pressing the issue, taking one wrap on every steer, and took the second-place check on a tough steer in 11.6 seconds, while Fisher won fifth with a 13.6 run, and also moved to third-place in the average standings.
Patterson, who had taken two no-times in the early rounds stood seventh in the average standings after the seventh round, but was the fastest among ropers with five steers tied down. Though it didn’t seem that important to most in attendance at the time, it would prove to be crucial when the night was over.
Round 8 belonged to world-record holder Cody Scheck, who tied his steer in 12.1 seconds. Chase was second in the round, and Patterson placed again, placing third with a 13.4-second run on a tough steer. Brazile finished one spot out of the money in sixth place, and Patterson moved up one position in the average to sixth.
In round nine, Scheck showed his world-record form again, tying the fastest steer of the 2012 NFSR in 9.5 to take his second consecutive victory lap. Patterson placed on his fourth consecutive run of the night, splitting the fifth and final place in the round with Wickett in 12.0, to win $538. Though it was his smallest of the 2012 NFSR, that check would prove to be as important as any.
When round 10 began, there were several possible scenarios that could have ended with any of the top three in the standings at that point, Patterson, Brazile and Fisher, winning the championship. Fisher roped first among the three, and did his part to add to the drama. Tying his steer in 10.8 seconds to take the lead in the round and lock up third-place in the average, he had forced the two men left to rope to beat him on their last steer to keep him from winning his first gold buckle.
Then it was Brazile’s turn to rope. Needing only to record a time to win his first NFSR average title, he made an aggressive run on a hard-running steer, tying him in 11.5 to move into a tie with Ralph Williams for a share of third in the go-round. His 127.5 second total on 10 head was the fastest since Jarrett Blessing’s NFSR average total in 2007, and made him only the second man in history to win an NFR average title in three different events, joining Phil Lyne (steer roping, bull riding and tie-down roping).
More importantly, he had forced Patterson to not only win the last round to take the title, but do so in 10.5 seconds or faster to forge ahead of Chance Kelton and finish in the fifth and final place in the average.
Patterson had been in this situation before. In 2009, when he won his first world championship, he had also needed to win the final round at the NFSR to take the gold buckle.
Riding his great horse, Ricky Bobby, he roped and tied his final steer in 10.3 seconds to win his third world championship.
“I’ve always roped pretty conservatively, that’s how I was taught.” Patterson said afterward. “It took a long time for me to learn to be able to let my hair down and go fast when I have to. I guess I’ve been around long enough to do it now,” said the 46 year-old cowboy from Pratt, Kansas.
When asked how his third world title compared to the first two (2009-10) the man who spends his days when he’s not roping for money running cattle and training horses reflected on his place in the sport.
“When you’re a kid you dream about the first one, so that one will always be special. There are some great cowboys who have won a world championship. Then, when you talk about winning two, the list gets a little shorter. And when you get to three…well, that’s an even different club you join, I guess.”
Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping
Guthrie, Okla., Nov. 2-3
First round: 1. Chet Herren, 10.8 seconds, $5,077; 2. Trevor Brazile, 11.9, $4,077; 3. Dan Fisher, 12.0, $3,077; 4. J.P. Wickett, 12.1, $2,077; 5. Ralph Williams, 12.5, $1,077. Second round: 1. Vin Fisher Jr., 10.8 seconds, $5,077; 2. (tie) Chance Kelton and Dan Fisher, 12.0, $3,577 each; 4. Mike Chase, 12.5, $2,077; 5. Chet Herren, 13.1, $1,077. Third round: 1. Rocky Patterson, 12.2 seconds, $5,077; 2. Chet Herren, 12.6, $4,077; 3. Trevor Brazile, 12.8, $3,077; 4. Cody Scheck, 12.9, $2,077; 5. Cody Lee, 13.7, $1,077. Fourth round: 1. Vin Fisher Jr., 12.0 seconds, $5,077; 2. Trevor Brazile, 12.2, $4,077; 3. Chance Kelton, 12.9, $3,077; 4. Dan Fisher, 13.2, $2,077; 5. Rod Hartness, 14.0, $1,077. Fifth round: 1. Chance Kelton, 10.8 seconds, $5,077; 2. (tie) Cody Lee and Rocky Patterson, 10.9, $3,577 each; 4. Jess Tierney, 11.0, $2,077; 5. (tie) J.P. Wickett and Landon McClaugherty, 13.3, $538 each. Sixth round: 1. Rocky Patterson, 10.2 seconds, $5,077; 2. Vin Fisher Jr., 11.0, $4,077; 3. Rod Hartness, 11.4, $3,077; 4. Trevor Brazile, 11.5, $2,077; 5. Kim Ziegelgruber, 11.8, $1,077. Seventh round: 1. Rod Hartness, 11.2 seconds, $5,077; 2. Rocky Patterson, 11.6, $4,077; 3. Ralph Williams, 11.8, $3,077; 4. Trevor Brazile, 12.0, $2,077; 5. Vin Fisher Jr., 13.6, $1,077. Eighth round: 1. Cody Scheck, 12.1 seconds, $5,077; 2. Mike Chase, 12.5, $4,077; 3. Rocky Patterson, 13.4, $3,077; 4. J.P. Wickett, 13.5, $2,077; 5. Chance Kelton, Mayer, Ariz., 13.9, $1,077. Ninth round: 1. Cody Scheck, 9.5 seconds, $5,077; 2. Ralph Williams, 11.0, $4,077; 3. Jess Tierney, 11.1, $3,077; 4. Dan Fisher, 11.8, $2,077; 5. (tie) Rocky Patterson and J.P. Wickett, 12.0, $538 each. Tenth round: 1. Rocky Patterson, 10.3 seconds, $5,077; 2. Vin Fisher Jr., 10.8, $4,077; 3. Kim Ziegelgruber, 11.1, $3,077; 4. (tie) Trevor Brazile and Ralph Williams, 11.5, $1,577 each. Average: 1. Trevor Brazile, 131.7 seconds on 10 head, $15,231; 2. Mike Chase, 193.4, $12,231; 3. Vin Fisher Jr., 128.7 on nine head, $9,231; 4. J.P. Wickett, 133.2, $6,231; 5. Rocky Patterson, 94.6 on eight head, $3,231.
Total payoff: $200,000. Stock contractor: Bobby Joe Hill. Rodeo secretary: Haley Schneeberger. Officials: Chuck Hoss, Brad Mattox and Cliff Overstreet. Timers: Sandy Gwatney and Kate Rumford. Announcers: Charlie Throckmorton and Justin McKee. Floor boss: Butch Braden. Chute boss: John Gwatney. Photographer: James Phifer.