Saturday, March 11, 2017


Between the hats and hinies, the colorful ropes and the $567,000 payout, not to mention the King of Country Music himself, there was plenty of cowboy candy to go around at the San Antonio Rose Palace this weekend. If you're looking for a cowboy, a team roping event is the place to be.

It was the 35th annual George Strait Team Roping Classic (GSTRC), March 10-11 this year. Take 541 teams and multiply by two, because each team has a header and a heeler, and you'll have the number of cowboys in the roping. That doesn't count flag men, the announcers, the onlookers in the bleachers and the cowboys at the booths that served beer and margaritas. Even James Pickens Jr., the actor who played Dr. Richard Webber on TV's Grey's Anatomy, was spotted in the crowd. And every cowboy you spoke to said, "Yes m'am."

Friday was rather boring, but that allowed for a lot of shopping time in the vendor section. Today was much more exciting. The top 50 teams from yesterday's competition returned for three rotations. The winning team, Clay Cooper and Aaron Tsinigine, had a combined total of 14.47 seconds for their three, which enabled them to take home a 2017 Chevrolet Silverado dually and Bruton Strait X-Treme bumper-pull horse trailer each, plus $203,200 in cash between them.

What made Saturday so exciting was watching the last six or eight teams in the third rotation.  Each was faster than the one before it, with the announcer saying something like, "These guys need a 6.3 (or a 5.8, or whatever) to put them in first place." And each team kept beating
the necessary time.
The King of  Country Music

I had always thought of ropes as being a neutral color, like hay, but some of the GSTRC entrants used aqua, pink and even lavender ones to rope their steers. I never could find out why. Maybe the colors made them easier to see while in motion, but who would have thought cowboys could be as colorful as little girls' Easter dresses.

The camaraderie among fans grew as the hours passed. By the time today's finals were over around 2 p.m., those of us who had sat together for two days were old buddies. The jokes and puns were flying. One guy's girlfriend told him to fasten the snap on his shirt at his belly. I turned around and told him if he were going to undo a button, he should start at the top so I could see his chest. Later, as he was returning from lunch, he leaned over, unbuttoned his top two buttons to reveal some gray hairs, and said, "This is for you." We all had a great laugh over that, except for his girlfriend, who wasn't sure what all the commotion was about.

Steers in a holding pen
Another guy sitting next to me from Pflugerville, TX, near Austin, had a Nikon camera with an 80x zoom lens. He was getting some great photos of George and family, who were sitting in the glass-enclosed VIP box across the arena. He showed me those, along with some photos he had taken at his home. When I commented on the photo of a full moon, he quipped, "We have full moons in Pflugerville, too." Then I pretended to stand up, turned my backside his way, and announced, "I'll show you a full moon!" Everyone around us laughed hysterically, and his face turned beet red. "You got me," he said, good-naturedly.

Of course, most folks came to see George Strait. He doesn't perform at this event any more, unless you can call riding his horse around the arena at the opening the second day while thanking the sponsors a performance. Guess it was, because folks were hanging off the rails just to touch his hand as he rode by.

Ride 'em cowboy

One of the truck-dully teams awarded the winners


  1. The colors of the Roper's ropes are because they are different weights, lengths, widths, are made differently, strand texture is different, each person will find a type of rope that fits him better helping him rope better, and they are made by different companies, etc. There is a lot more to roping steers than meets the eye.

    1. Yes, I know there is! It's a sport that requires a lot of athelticism. I understand that there are different types of ropes, but that still doesn't exlain the different colors. Doesn't matter, tho, It was great fun to watch. Thanks for the info about the different materials.

  2. Sounds like you guys are having some fun.