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Tuf Cooper 2014 Tie Down Roping World ChampionTuf Cooper

2014 Tie-Down Roping World Champion

2013 lessons fueled 2014 title chase

Tuf Cooper learned a hard lesson in 2013, but it helped him win another gold buckle in 2014. The two-time tie-down roping world champion (2011-12) suffered through a disappointing Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 2013 and let the chance to win a third consecutive gold buckle slip through his grasp as he finished fourth in the world standings.

But the Decatur, Texas, cowboy made amends at the 2014 Finals, winning his third gold buckle with $241,734.

“Not winning (in 2013) helped me so much in everything I did,” Cooper said. “It lit a fire for me I didn’t know I had. I’m also blessed because I got to rodeo with my brother-in-law, Trevor Brazile, all year long. Without his consistent help all year, I wouldn’t have been able to put myself in this situation.” Cooper has made plenty of history in his seven years in ProRodeo and, for the first time in his decorated career, the young roper won the average title and the gold buckle in the same season.

“It’s such an honor,” Cooper said. “You want to win a round, you want to win the average and you want to win a world title. I’m so blessed to do all three in one year.”

Cooper won the Wrangler NFR average in 2009, but finished second in the world standings to Brazile. He won the 2014 average title with a time of 89.7 seconds on 10 head. His closest challengers were Brazile (93.1 seconds on 10 head) and Matt Shiozawa (97.6 seconds on 10 head), the only cowboys to post a time in all 10 rounds.

Cooper clinched the average title in Round 10 with a 9.4-second effort after watching Brazile make a 10.3-second run and Shiozawa have trouble with his tie, ending up with a 17.5-second time.

“I just had to go tie one down,” Cooper said about his approach in the final round. “Those guys (Brazile and Shiozawa) were going for a world title. They weren’t backing off and playing it safe. They wanted a gold buckle just like everybody who grows up roping wants one, and hats off to them for sticking to that. Things just worked out for me.” Cooper said winning another gold buckle with his ProRodeo Hall of Fame father, Roy Cooper, in the stands made the achievement even more meaningful. Roy Cooper won tie-down roping gold buckles in 1976 and 1980-84 and steer roping and all-around world championships in 1983.

“I saw my dad in the stands when I was making my victory lap and it looked like he had a tear in his eye,” Tuf said. “It’s so special because he helps us all day, every day. He wants us to do good. He wants us to follow in his footsteps and be better. He has given my brothers and me such great opportunities to do what we love to do.”

[ Click here for Tuf Cooper's full bio ]

– Tracy Renck, ProRodeo Sports News

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