ROCK SPRINGS, Wyo. — It’s not how, it’s how fast. Time is the only thing that matters on the timed event end of the rodeo arena.
The bigger the stage, the faster the time and it all has to fall into place, especially in the sport of team roping. It’s not just a team of ropers with one lassoing the head and the other roping the hind legs of the running steer. It also includes the teamwork of two horses.
With everything that goes on when the steer breaks, it takes an orchestrated effort of horse and rider and countless hours of practice roping. But in the end, time is the ticket to the winner’s circle and the gold buckle.
Warden’s Dylan Beck and Kaycee Rogers of Loon Lake took their best shot back in July at the 70th annual National High School Finals Rodeo featuring over 1,600 competitors from across the United States, Canada and Mexico. They finished 78th in the average on two head with a time of 18.56 seconds. But in a competition where Idaho team Breck Ward and Trae Smith were 19.65 on-two to win and Maddy Deerman and Kayden Little from New Mexico finished second in 21.1, everything had to fall into place in a hurry for the Columbia Basin duo.
“This was my last year, so to go out at the National High School Finals was a big deal,” said Beck, who has been roping both calves and steers since he was six years old. “Being the heeler there’s a bit of pressure (to complete the process), but that’s what makes it fun.
“With Kacey living over Loon Lake, we were only able to practice one day before the rodeo. It’s pretty hard to change roping partners (at a late date), but we worked together and did pretty well.”
Beck and Rogers made their contribution to Team Washington’s top 15 finish in the team competition. Texas (5,680) was nearly 1,000 points ahead of second-place Utah (4,700) in the team competition.
The 19-year-old from Warden will continue to work as a pick-up man at the local junior rodeos before heading off to the Wyoming School of Horseshoeing in Sheridan, Wyo., next fall.
But for Beck, competing on the big stage with the best high school competitors in the country was a nice way to wrap up a junior career.
“I’ve been roping and competing in rodeo ever since I was six or seven and started taking serious when I was sixth grade. That was when I really wanted to get better and started working at it,” he said. “I like tie-down and team roping. It’s a little different roping calves than steers, but I enjoy roping both.”
Beck didn’t come home from Wyoming with a gold buckle, but he did win a new Jeep in the raffle. In fact, he drove it the nine hours coming home. Good things happen to those who work for it and now he’s ready to turn the page on a new career.