This story is written by Lane Santos-Karney, Agricultural Communications Freshman, right.
Wow. James Pickens Jr., who stars as Dr. Richard Webber on the ABC hit series Grey’s Anatomy, once again hosted an outstanding roping, on April 24. The production was excellent—as always. Mr. Pickens personally added $5,000 to this year’s payoff. Not only was it the prize money that attracted the greatest team ropers in the world, but also the professional manner in which this roping is held makes it a first class event. Mac Mullins was again the roping’s secretary, Todd Jepson was the roping’s flagger, and I was fortunate enough to return as the announcer for the third consecutive year.
This year’s contestant list featured numerous past world champions, including Trevor Brazile, Patrick Smith, Clay Tryan, Chad Masters, Clay O’Brien Cooper and Turtle Powell. Other highly notable cowboys were past Wrangler National Finals Rodeo competitors such as Travis Tryan, Travis Graves, Jake Long, Kory Koontz and Denny Watkins. When the dust settled after the fifth- and final- round, Montana’s Dustin Bird and California native B.J. Campbell, roped five steers in 34.14 seconds. They jumped from seventh high call to first in the average with a 5.04- second short-round run, and Campbell borrowed heel horses from Brooks Dahozy, Brandon Bates and brother Bucky to get the job done.
For me, the opportunity to announce at such an increasingly prestigious event, which continues to grow each year, is such a blessing. It is fun to be a part of what Mr. Pickens is doing for the ropers on the professional level. The steers were strong and zero money was taken out of the ropers’ entry fees to cover the stock charge. Mr. Pickens generously covered that out of his own pocket, in order to keep all the entry fee money in the pot to be paid to the winners.
It is also an incredible opportunity for me just to watch the greatest ropers in the world. As a young guy, with aspirations to rope at that elite level, I can learn so much from just being in the same environment as those guys. From watching the way they handle their horses, to their individual self-conduct, there is so much to be learned from the professional team ropers. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing my heroes in action.
A huge thank you goes out to all the sponsors that came together in support of this roping. If it weren’t for them, it wouldn’t be possible for such a great event to exist. Thank you to the Tejon Ranch for its excellent hospitality. Also, to the buyers in the Calcutta when the teams were auctioned off prior to the roping, thank you! Half of the money raised in the Calcutta went straight to the James Pickens Jr. Foundation Charity and will be used to aid less privileged children. Above all, a huge thank you to Mr. James “Jim” Pickens Jr. himself for his generosity to the ropers and to all the children his Charity benefits. He again hosted a first class Open Roping, and I look forward to next year.
Dustin Bird, left, and B.J. Campbell, right, picked up $4,657 per man and Coats trophy saddles at the third annual James Pickens Jr. Foundation Charity Roping, held April 24 at the 270,000-acre Tejon Ranch in Lebec, Calif. Pickens stars on the ABC hit series Grey’s Anatomy as Dr. Richard Webber, and caught the team roping bug about 15 years ago. For three straight years, he’s united his passions for roping and helping young people, along with his awe of the open ropers’ talent, to produce this event.