Throughout the past two weeks on the pro rodeo circuit, the Roy Cooper family has roped in the accolades.
It began on Sept. 9 when Cooper, who won eight world titles in the late 1970s and early 1980s, earned a rodeo achievement award at the National Cowboy Symposium and Celebration in Lubbock. From there, Cooper, a Hobbs, N.M., native who lives in Decatur, traveled to the 100th Pendleton Round Up in Pendleton Ore., where was inducted into the storied rodeo’s hall of fame on Sept. 12.
If that wasn’t enough, the 54-year-old Cooper learned that all three of his sons are expected to qualify for the December Wrangler National Finals Rodeo for the first time.
Clint, Clif and Tuf Cooper each have more than $70,000 in regular season earnings in tie-down roping, which should be more than enough for each of them to earn a berth to the Las Vegas championships. That means they are expected to become the first trio of brothers to make the NFR in tie-down roping in the same year.
“That’s a Triple Crown for me,” Roy Cooper said of his sons’ success. “I’ve dreamed about it and it happened. I’ve always known it was possible.”
In previous years, Tuf and Clint Cooper qualified for the National Finals. But Clif Cooper had failed to make the cut.
But last weekend, Clif Cooper used come-from-behind tactics in the waning moments of the regular season and won two sizeable rodeos in the Northwest. He pocketed $13,500 after winning the Justin Boots Playoffs, an invitational all-star rodeo in Puyallup, Wash. He also raked in $3,515 after finishing first at Lewiston, Idaho.
The victories helped Clif Cooper catapult from 20th to ninth in the weekly Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association tie-down roping world standings.
He compared his clutch performances to winning a football game as time ran out.
“It was like it was the fourth quarter and there was 1:30 on the clock, and I had to drive the ball all of the way down the field and score,” Clif Cooper said.
However, Clif Cooper said he didn’t put a lot of pressure on himself to go out and produce.
“I wasn’t really thinking about making the National Finals or what I had to do to make it,” he said. “I just relaxed and went out and roped.”
In order to qualify for the National Finals, a competitor must finish the regular season in the top 15 in a single event when the season concludes on Sept. 30. When the PRCA world standings were released Monday, Tuf Cooper, 20, was ranked second with $102,467, Clif Cooper, 22, ranks ninth with $71,961 and Clint Cooper, 28, was in 11th place with $71,084.
In the running — Three famous Texas winter rodeos have been nominated for the PRCA’s Large Indoor Rodeo of the Year annual award. They are stock show rodeos in Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio. The other nominees are shows in Denver, and Jackson, Miss. The San Antonio rodeo has won the coveted award over the past five years. On Sept. 9, Keith Martin, who heads up the San Antonio’s $1 million show, received a rodeo achievement award at Lubbock’s National Cowboy Symposium.
PBR update — On the Professional Bull Riders Built Ford Tough Series, Georgia cowboy Sean Willingham and Brazilian Paulo Lima tied for first at the tour stop in Greenville, S.C. after each cowboy finished with a three-ride score of 262.75. Willingham earned $36,577 and Lima pocketed $21,603.
Oklahoma cowboy Austin Meier leads the world title race after finishing third in Greenville. In the Ford Series standings, Meier has 9,640.50, 333.5 ahead of No. 2-ranked Renato Nunes. J.B. Mauney ranks third in the title race with 8,200.5, 1,440 off the lead.