'Cowboy Christmas' run earns Rogers $15,444

By Quentin Jodie

Navajo Times


WINDOW ROCK, July 11, 2013

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(Times photo – Donovan Quintero)

Professional team roper Erich Rogers, right, pulls the steer to the left as heeler Cory Petska sets up to rope the hind legs on July 3 at the 2013 Fourth of July Celebration & PRCA Pro Rodeo in Window Rock. Rogers is currently in second place in the world team roping standings.

F or the past few months Erich Rogers has been fearless.

As one of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association's most seasoned ropers, Rogers is launching another run towards a trip to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nev., with new heeling partner Cory Petska.

"Man, it's been pretty good," Rogers said after he competed at the Fourth of July Celebration & PRCA Rodeo in Window Rock on July 3. "Our horses have been doing good and we've been drawing good steers – that's why we've been winning."

To date both partners are currently ranked No. 2 in the world standings with Rogers earning $49,532 thus far. That includes the $15,444 they won during the big Fourth of July week, known to many as the 'Cowboy Christmas' run.

"This will give us a lot of confidence," Rogers said. "It'll help for the rest of the year but the season is still in full swing so we have to continue to go hard. Hopefully we can win ourselves a (gold) championship buckle."

In Window Rock, the pair turned in a no time as the steer they drew fell down before Petska was able to reach in from the heeling side.

"It's part of rodeo, stuff happens," Petska said. "There is always another rodeo tomorrow. It's just a bummer that this was Erich's hometown rodeo. It would have been nice if we did good here."

Petska, who teamed up with Matt Sherwood last year, said he's known Rogers for six years and when the opportunity to rope with him opened up he jumped on that.

"We've been good friends and we've entered a few jackpots and rodeos in Arizona," he said. "We always did good together and so far it's been fun."

"We usually hang out down in Phoenix," Rogers added.

Just before the Fourth of July run, both ropers hit it big in Reno, Nev., at the 36th annual Bob Feist Invitational by placing second in the average on June 24. They ended up winning $84,000 each as they finished their six-run average in 41.25 seconds.

"That was a lot of fun," Petska said. "I've never done really good in the average there and you know Erich had a chance a few years back."

Later that week the pair finished the prestigious Reno Rodeo in second place with an aggregate of 16.2 seconds.

"Lately we've been making good runs but I think what we did at the BFI has carried over," Rogers said. "We won second there and everything has been rolling."

Since qualifying for his second straight WNFR last year, Rogers said the expectations is "pretty much the same day-in and day-out."

"This can be mentally tough because you're roping with the top team ropers," Rogers said. "You just have to take it one step at a time and take it one rodeo at a time. You have to try to keep focus and try to make every run count."

Besides Rogers, 17-time world champion Trevor Brazile is also faced with high expectations.

"When you are expected to win there is always pressure," Brazile said. "You know when I first won my first world championship I thought I could take a deep breathe but it's not like that.

"People expect great things out of you," he added. "Sometimes it doesn't matter how much money you win, people are still going to judge you."

During the Cowboy Christmas run, Brazile lived up to those high expectations by winning the all-around titles in Window Rock, Greely, Colo., and Livingston, Mont.

The Decatur, Tex., cowboy earned a Christmas-best of $28,828, which included a first place finish in the team roping with partner Patrick Smith in Window Rock.

Brazile also finished in a three-way tie for seventh in the tie-down event.

"I love coming here because these guys are true rodeo fans," Brazile said. "They are so faithful and they come to see some good competition. It's fun when you are able to put it in front of them."

In other events, Tohatchi, N.M. cowgirl Kassidy Dennison finished the barrel racing competition in first place with a 15.60-second run.

Dennison also finished second in the average at the World's Oldest Rodeo in Prescott, Ariz., last week and move up two spots in the world rankings, according to the Women's Professional Rodeo Association's website.

In the bull riding event, Tustin Daye finished in a two-way tie for second place with an 87-point ride in Window Rock and pocketed $2,546. With an 85-point effort, Adriano Long ($1,400) placed fourth while Hernald John split the sixth place check of $509 with two other riders.

Other local winners include: Delvecchio Kaye (bareback), Donovan Yazzie (tie-down), Kesley Phillips/OJ Williams and Blaine Redhorse/Doyle Yazzie (team roping).

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