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National Steer Roping Finals

Rocky Patterson loops his third championship with a $418 lead.

The Lazy E Arena
November 4, 2012

American Quarter Horse Association

Rocky Patterson knew he needed to be fast. The 2012 steer roping championship depended on it.

Rocky was. He posted a 10.3-second run November 3 to win the 10th go-round at the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping and outlast Trevor Brazile by $418 to win his third Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association championship. What’s impressive is that Rocky has won them all in the last four years.

What’s more impressive is that the Pratt, Kansas, cowboy dominated the last night in the final five rounds of the two-day competition at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie.

“This is the closest race in years,” said announcer Charlie Throckmorton. “This is the way it’s supposed to be.”

Rocky had held the world standings lead since the fourth go-round but had two no-times November 2. That nearly took him out of contention to place in the top five in the 10-round aggregate race. Trevor, who won the average with 131.7 seconds on 10 runs, had a distinct advantage – as the average winner, the Decatur, Texas, cowboy pocketed a bonus of $15,231.

The Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping is one of many events this fall where American Quarter Horse owners have a chance at their share of $32 million.

Rocky was the last roper to compete November 3 knowing he needed to win the final go-round and hope he earned an average check if he were to catch Trevor. Patterson’s 10.3 did both – he finished fifth in the average – making that single run worth $8,308.

“A guy always dreams of winning the first one,” said Rocky, 46, who won his first Montana Silversmiths gold buckle in 2009. “Any time you get to compete in the same arena as Trevor Brazile is a privilege, and to be able to come out on top is unbelievable.

“I think knowing how fast I had to be helped, because I don’t rope as fast as some of the guys normally, so I knew I had to go at him.”

Rocky placed in seven go-rounds and won three. In fact, he placed in all five rounds on Saturday night, winning two. Of his $29,731, more than $21,000 came on the final night.
          
“That’s just great competition,” said Trevor, a 16-time rodeo champion who leads the all-around standings heading to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in December. “When everyone executes, it’s where the chips fall. I was more proud of my performance this week as I have ever been. I feel like I executed better this week, and I don’t feel like I left on the table.”

“At the end of the day, I have no regrets. My hat’s off to Rocky. That was a lot of pressure he had to overcome as well.”

The NFSR was a four-man race from the start, including the year-end leader Cody Lee of Gatesville, Texas, and third-place finisher Vin Fisher Jr. of Andrews, Texas. When Cody faltered through the rugged 10 rounds, the other three remained tightly knitted. It came down to the final round to decide the world title.

Of course, it helped that Rocky had roped lights-out all night long.

“Everybody knew Trevor was in the lead coming in tonight,” Rocky said. “You can spend a lot of your time worrying about Trevor when you don’t need to, because Trevor is going to take care of Trevor. He’s not going to mess up, so you just have to take care of yourself.”

Trevor and Mike Chase of McAlester, Oklahoma, are the only two cowboys to rope and tie down all 10 steers. The result was Trevor’s first NFSR average championship.

“That was great competition that came down to the wire,” Trevor said. “I hope the steer roping fans turned out, because they would’ve missed a good one if they didn’t.”