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The 2012 Spicer Gripp Memorial


By Stephenie Wolf
The 2012 Spicer Gripp Memorial Roping was held August 1-5 at the Spicer Gripp Memorial Event Center in Hereford, Texas. Since its beginning in 1994, the Spicer Gripp Memorial Roping has grown into one of the top stops in the United States for professional team and individual ropers around the country. The event draws the elite of the rodeo community, and this year more people turned out to watch the event than ever before. For many the event is an opportunity to pick up some cash on their way to the National Finals Rodeo in December, the Women’s Professional Rodeo Finals in October, or the National Finals Steer Roping in November.  Among those competing were the 2011 All Around World Champion cowboy Trevor Brazile and his partner Patrick Smith; competed against the 2011 World Champion Team Ropers Turtle Powell and Jhett Johnson; current leader in Calf Roping standings Justin Maas; 2011 World Champion calf roper, Tuf Cooper; Open Steer Roper Cody Lee, currently at the top of the World Standings. The Ladies Open Team Roping roster was also a “who’s who” of the WPRA standings. 

The Spicer Gripp Memorial is dedicated to investing in our future. Proceeds from the annual Spicer Gripp Memorial, as well as gifts from family and friends of Spicer Gripp, fund the Spicer Gripp Memorial Scholarships at West Texas A&M University. The scholarships are available for students pursuing an agriculture degree and/or participating on the Rodeo Team at WTAMU.

The Open Steer Roping kicked off the Spicer Gripp Memorial this year.  Sixty cowboys entered the event and fifteen took home checks.  The total payout including $15,000 added money for the Open Steer Roping was $58,500.  Each cowboy had the chance to rope three steers and the top twelve were invited back to the short go on Sunday. 

Marty Jones collected the monies for first in the round, tying his steer in 12.92 seconds – less than a blink of an eye faster than Shorty Garten who tied his steer in 12.93 seconds. Third went to Cody Lee, time of 13.26 seconds, and fourth to Rick Kieckhefer, time of 14 seconds. In the second round of the Open Steer Roping the pace was quicker.

Randy Wells won first by tying his steer in 11.30 seconds while Leo Campbell was fourth with his time of 11.88 seconds. The third round was even quicker. Chad Herron made the fastest run in the Open Steer Roping in the third round with a time of 10.92; Walter Priestley’s second place time of 10.99 seconds was notable as well.  Scot Snedecor collected his second check of the day for placing third with a time of 11.31 seconds.  Rob Denny took third round, tying his steer in 11.77 seconds. 

Checks were also presented to the four fastest cowboys in the Short Go.  Guys played it safe once again, their minds on the average money.  In the end the fast time in the short go and the average winner were one in the same.  Although Brady Garten did not place in any of the first three rounds and came into the short go fifth in the average, he tied his final steer in 12.49 seconds making his total time 61.65 seconds. Brady collected $2,127 for the fastest time in the short go and an additional $8,510 for first in the average.  The other three checks for fast time in the short go went to Scot Snedecor, Will Gasperson, and Cody Garnett.  Although Scot did not place in the average his third check of the event was in the amount of $1,595 for a time of 13.22 seconds making his total money won, $6,913.  Not bad for a couple days work.  Will Gasperson was the only other cowboy to collect more than one check in the Open Steer Roping.  Will’s time on his final steer was 13.39 seconds and his total time on four steers was 90.61 seconds.  Will earned $1,064 for the third fastest time in the short go and $2,127 for fourth in the average.  Cody Garnett came in to the short go just ahead of Will Gasperson and tied his fourth steer in 14.75 seconds which allowed him to pick up $532 in round money, but it was not enough to put him in the average.  Similar to Brady Garten, neither JB Whatley nor Mike Outhier placed in any of the first three rounds.  They did not even place in the short go, but they had some kind of strategy going on – or maybe just a little luck.  JB’s total time on four steers was 64.26 seconds putting him second in the average and earning him $6,382.  Mike Outhier’s total time on four steers was 84.84 seconds.  He took home the average check marked third which was made out for $4,255. 

Thirty-five senior steer trippers vied early Friday morning; total payout for the Senior Steer Roping was $10,275. 

Tommy Johnson set the pace in the first round, tying his steer in 16.65 seconds and Ralph Williams was second with his time of 17.62 seconds.  Robin Bland was a close third, tying his steer in 17.66 seconds.  Dan Reinhardt placed fourth with his time of 18.56 seconds.  In the second round, Bryan Reiter’s time of 13.60 seconds was fastest to earn the top check.  Second went to Dane Noyce who tied his steer in 13.85 seconds.  Cecil Wilson was third, tying his steer in 14.10 seconds, and Ralph Williams’ time of 14.97 seconds was fourth in the round. 

Randy Wells made the best Senior Steer Roping run of the weekend in the third round with an time of 11.35 seconds for first in the round.  Scott Welch’s time of 13.16 seconds round was second.  Mike Thompson tied his steer in 13.58 seconds.  Dane Noyce was fourth in the round a time of 14.36 seconds. 

Twelve cowboys came back to the short go on Sunday.  Ralph Williams rode stopped the clock in 18.28 seconds giving him a total time of 69.48 seconds on four steers, earning  him $95 for the fourth fastest time in the short go and $1,494 for first in the average.  Not only did Shorty Garten make the short go in both the Open and the Senior Steer Roping, Shorty was also second high back in both events.  He had a little bad luck in the Open, but things worked out for him in the Senior Steer Roping.  Shorty tied his final steer in 14.24 seconds which was the third fastest time of the short go and gave him a total time of 75.41 on four head.  Ralph and Shorty were the only two Seniors who tied all four steers.  Mike Thompson tied his final steer in 13.24 seconds which was faster than anyone else in the short go.  Mike took home $324 for first in the round and another $747 for third in the average.  Tommy Johnson’s short go time of 14.02 seconds earned him $280 for second in the round and $375 for fourth in the average.

Ninety-three teams competed in the Ladies Team Roping this year. Factoring in $2,000 added money, the total payout of $25,250. The ladies worked hard, roping on the hottest day of the entire event.  Beverly Robbins of Muscle Shoals, Alabama teamed up with Jackie Hobbs to win the first go. They split $2,020 by stopping the clock in 8.55 seconds.  Rebecca Neuhaus and Martha Walters were second in the first round with a time of 8.77 seconds, splitting $1,514 for their joint effort. Lydia Marten and Lindsey Sumpter each earned $505 for their third place time of 9.24 seconds, and Kortni McConnell and Julie Dawson took home fourth with their of 9.32 seconds, each earning $252. 

The girls were up and at ‘em on Sunday to rope for the big money in the short go and average.  Jackie Hobbs and Annette Hinkle dominated in this year’s Ladies Team Roping.  Their time of 8.93 seconds in the short go allowed them to split the fast time check of $1,516, and the average check of $5,306.  Their total time was 44.34 seconds.  This was the second year in a row that Annette won the Spicer Gripp Ladies Team Roping.  Rylea Fabrizio of Colorado and Kelly Jones Hicks of Stephenville, Texas had a time of 10.79 seconds, fast enough to earn second in the round and fifth in the average.  Rylea and Kelly split $1,010 for the round and their total time of 51.49, earning them each $884 for fifth in the average.  Annette Hinkle also paired up with Tibba Smith, and had a total time of 47.18 seconds, earning $2,209 each for second in the average.  Beverly Robbins and Ashley Mills were third in the average with a total time of 47.27 seconds, splitting $3,534.  Rylea Fabrizio was both fourth and fifth in the average. Rylea and her mom Debbie had a total time of 50.31 and split $2,650.

Fifty- two calf ropers competed for this year’s prize money in the Spicer Gripp Calf Roping; with $15,000 added, total payout was $54,000.  Cody Ohl tied his first calf in 10.05 seconds for first. Joseph Gernantez’ time of 10.62 brought him second, and Shank Edwards and Jim Locke rounded out the first round with respective times of 10.76 seconds and 10.82 seconds. 

Local Roper Spur Valdez entered the Open Calf Roping, and was featured in the Youth Match Roping.  Spur tied his second calf in a quick 9.74 seconds for first in the second round.  Matt Shiozawa tied his calf in 9.86 seconds.  Justin Maas placed third, tying his calf in 9.98 seconds.  Scott Kormos was fourth stopping the clock in 10.48 seconds.  In the third round Jerome Schneeberger made the fastest run, tying his third calf in 9.44 seconds.  Houston Hutto’s time of 9.89 seconds put him in second.  Trevor Thiel placed third, tying his calf in 10.21 seconds, and Shank Edwards was fourth with his time of 10.31 seconds.  

Quay Howard is quite the young man.  Before he tied his short go steer in 9.75 seconds he was already a winner.  Recently Spicer Gripp board member, Johnny Trotter, stated, “Quayis the kind of young person that accomplishes the mission statement of the Spicer Gripp Memorial Youth Foundation.”  Don R. Topliff, Ph.D., Dean and Professor, College of Agriculture, Science and Engineering, West Texas A&M University spoke of him stating, “We are obviously proud of Quay and will continue to look for young men and women like him to be part of our programs and to bring honor to Spicer’s name.”  Quay not only won $1,964 for the fast time in the short go, but $5,891 for second in the average.  The second fastest time in the short go went to Justin Maas for his time of 11.67 seconds.  Justin earned $1,472 in round money.  He also took home the great big average check.  Justin’s total time of 43.38 seconds sent him to the winner’s circle and made him an additional $7,855.  Jake Booze earned his first check in the calf roping in the short go.  Jake tied his last calf in 12.43 seconds, the third fastest time in the short go.  He took home a check in the amount of $982.  Trevor Thiel was the fourth fastest roper in the short go.  Trevor tied his calf in 12.9 seconds winning him $491 for the round.  Trevor’s total time on four calves was 49.41 seconds.  That put him third in the average and added another $3,927 to his bank account.  Fourth in the average went to Shank Edwards.  Shank’s total time on four head was 51.57 and his check for fourth in the average was for $1,964.

Dummy Roping is a big deal at the Spicer Gripp and this year, thanks to Digger Howard, in was an even bigger deal.  After the Open Calf Roping the kids who made it to the Dummy Roping Finals came into the big arena.  They competed in three age groups for roping dummies, buckles, a saddle and a variety of other really cool trinkets. Digger graciously donated scholarship money to be awarded to the winners of the dummy roping.  It was Nickey Northcott that won the top honor in the 5 & under division. Nicolas Lovins was first in the 6 – 8 year old age group.  Nicolas also volunteered his time to the Spicer Gripp providing a bit of chute help alongside his brother, Jordan.  Jordan is a year older that Nicolas and he placed second in the 9 – 11 year old age group.  The winner of the 9 – 11 year olds was Chad Weitz.  Chad was presented with a beautiful new saddle for his efforts.

The final event on Saturday was the Pro Am Team Roping.  Over 70 amateur ropers were matched up with some of the top headers and heelers in the sport.  In the end Tommy Crowsen won the saddle with heeler Travis Graves, and Milton Purcella won the other saddle heeling for Speed Williams. 

Cooler temperatures ushered in the Open Team Ropers on Sunday morning, with $30,000 added money and a total payout of $133,500.  The Open Team Roping was a six head event, progressive on two.  Clay Tryan & Travis Graves won the first round with their time of 5.94 seconds, splitting $3,000.  Second in the first round paid $1,500, split between Caleb Schmidt and Joel Bach for their 6.59 second run.  Drew Horner and Justin Copp had a 4.7 second run, earning them $1,500 each for the round and another $750 each for fastest time over all.  Chace Thompson and Chad Williams were second in the round splitting $1,500 for their 5.26 seconds work. 

The big money was in the average. Jim Ross Cooper and Charley Crawford were champions of the 2012 Spicer Gripp Memorial Open Team Roping. The two made a 5.48 second run in the short go which earned them $1,500, but they split top earnings of $36,450 for winning first in the average.  David Key and Cody settled for second in the average, splitting $30,376.  Their total time on 6 steers was 42.6 seconds. Third in the average went to Trevor Brazile and Patrick Smith with total time of 43.44 seconds, each receiving $12,150.  Arky Rogers and Cory Petska finished fourth in the average, each earning $9,112 for roping six steers in 44.15 seconds.  The final check in the Open Team Roping went to Jake and Clay Smith.  The brothers split $12,150 by wrapping up their six steers in 44.33 seconds.

Four horses were selected by the American Quarter Horse Association for their outstanding performances and tremendous abilities - Trevor Thiel’s calf horse, Trevor Brazile’s head horse, Martin Lucero’s heel horse, and Cody Lee’s steer roping horse.  These noble creatures give their hearts to those who are privileged enough to ride them.  Their recognition was well deserved.

Spicer Gripp passed away about two decades ago, but his spirit lives on.  Tom Timberlake’s 1995 poem honoring Spicer Gripp ends with:  “Rest in peace dear friend for your work down here is done, but the lessons you taught and the legend you left will see no setting sun.”  Spicer was a simple man, and he knew that good horses take a lot of time and patience . Spicer taught to lead by example. The Spicer Gripp Memorial Roping is held the first weekend in August annually, and the proceeds go to a scholarship fund for those interested in agriculture at West Texas A&M.

Photos by Lone Wolf Photography

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