By Frank J. Buchman
The best professional steer ropers in the world are coming to Kansas.
It’s the National Finals Steer Roping (NFSR), November 12-13, at Mulvane featuring the top 15 ropers for the year in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA).
Each night at the Kansas Star Arena, the public is welcome to attend at 7 o’clock. These 15 steer ropers will be vying for a world championship and a share of $447,500.
What will make this year’s roping even more special is that two Kansas cowboys, father and son, are in the lineup.
Cole Patterson, the regular-season leader in world standings from Pratt, will wear the Number 1 back number. He’s collected $104,516 roping steers so far this year.
His dad, Rocky Patterson, a four-time world champion, is Number 8 in regular season standings for his 27th trip to the NFSR with $44,134.
Looking toward Mulvane this weekend, Patterson, 26, talked about his approach. “It’ll be the same as always,” he said. “I want to have my horses in good shape and get some good practices leading up to the finals. There are quite a few rodeos before then, so I should be able to stay sharp.”
Adding to Patterson’s finals optimism is his main horse Tigger, 16, the 2021 PRCA Steer Roping Horse of the Year. He’ll also have his backup horse Marty, 17, there as well.
Patterson’s regular season earning mark broke the record of $89,427 set by Tuf Cooper, Decatur, Texas, in 2018.
This is Patterson’s third trip to the NFSR. He finished 15th in the 2019 world standings and was fourth in 2020 after going in as the leader.
“The first year I went to the steer roping finals, I didn’t really know what to expect,” Patterson said. “I had some horse trouble, didn’t draw very good and it all fell apart. Last year I roped good, but a couple of opportunities got away.”
Last year, Patterson collected $32,807 at the finals, while the most money earned at the NFSR was $69,651 by Cody Lee, Gatesville, Texas, in 2916.
“I just need to take it one steer at a time,” Patterson evaluated. “I won’t try to make too big of a game plan beforehand.”
Patterson would sure like to join his dad as a world champion steer roper. “It would mean everything if I could be a world champ like him,” the younger Patterson admitted.
“It is the only reason I rodeo is to get that award at the end of the year,” Patterson continued. “Maybe if I get one of my own when I back in the box they will not always be talking about all the ones Dad has won.”
“Learning together,” Patterson bought his top rope horse RBS Badger, known as Tigger, in March 2019, during the cowboy’s rookie season.
Standing 15-hands tall, Tigger weighs 1,275 pounds. “I’ve seen a lot of good horses come and go but those extra special ones that you wouldn’t trade for anything, don’t come around very often. If you get one or two in a lifetime, you better enjoy it, because it’s not near as easy when you don’t have them.”
While Patterson said Tigger is typically gentle with a lazy demeanor, he has speed and is ready to go when backed into the box. “I definitely try not to take every run on Tigger for granted,” Patterson said.
Among 2021 accomplishments for Tigger were winning the National Circuit Finals Steer Roping (NCFSR) in Torrington, Wyoming; Sandhills Stock Show Rodeo, Odessa, Texas; and Days of ’76 Stand Alone Steer Roping, Deadwood, South Dakota.
Reflecting on the National Circuit Finals title, Patterson said “That was amazing. It was awesome.” He clocked a 10.0-second run in the four-man, sudden-death finals in his debut at the event.
“You only get so many chances to win something like this and it’s hard to pass up,” Patterson said.
He earned an NCFSR record $10,786, eclipsing the $10,095 mark set by Scott Snedecor, Fredericksburg, Texas, in 2020. “It’s great to set that record,” said Patterson. “It’s few and far between for steer ropers to win that much money at an event.
“My strategy in the eight-man was doing what I needed to get to the four-round,” Cole said. “I had never been there before, but everybody told me that if you just make a good run in the eight-man you will get back to the four. I knew that steer was so good, so I was trying to stay out of my way, just tie him down, and it worked out.”
Completing the top 2021 regular season steer ropers list are Vin Fisher Jr., Andrews, Texas, $65,101; Scott Snedecor, $54,657; Slade Wood, New Ulm, Texas, $54,236; J. Tom Fisher, Andrews, Texas, $47,917; Jess Tierney, Hermosa, SD, $45,867; Landon McClaugherty, Tilden, Texas, $45,737; Garrett Hale, Snyder, Texas, $43,006; Chet Herren, Pawhuska, Okla., $39,667; Taylor Santos, Creston, Calif., $36,895; Thomas Smith, Barnsdall, Okla., $34,591; Mike Chase, McAlester, Okla., $34,395; Cody Lee, Gatesville, Texas, $33,918; and Cash Myers, Kansas native from Welda now of Athens, Texas, $33,657.
Each round pays six places: first, $9,155; second, $7,577; third, $5,998; fourth, $4,420; fifth, $2,841; and sixth, $1,579.
The average also pays six places: first, $27,347; second, $22,632; third place, $17,917; fourth, $13,202; fifth, $8,487; and sixth, $4,715.
Son and father Cole and Rocky Patterson from Pratt will be competing at the National Finals Steer Roping in Mulvane November 12-13.Riding his Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Steer Roping Horse of the Year, Tigger, Cole Patterson, Pratt, is going into the National Finals Steer Roping at Mulvane ranked first in regular season standings.