It’ll be a father and son battle yet a happy reunion when two Kansas cowboys rope this week at Mulvane.
The “Top 15” steer ropers in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) will be at the Kansas Star Arena
They’re qualified for the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping (NFSR), Friday and Saturday, November 6-7.
At the facility in Mulvane since 2014, the 10-round competition determines the next world champion steer roper.
All eyes in Kansas and around the world will be tightly focused on Rocky and Cole Patterson of Pratt.
For the second year, the Pratt County ranchers are both qualified for the NFSR.
Competing for the first time last year, Cole comes in leading the standings with regular season winnings of $55,597.
This will be the 26th trip to the NFSR for dad Rocky Patterson, a four time world champion steer roper. He’s ranked 14th in the world this year with regular season winnings totaling $26,937.
At conclusion of his first NFSR qualification last year, Cole was 15th in the world with $44,045. Rocky Patterson concluded the 2019 season ranked ninth with $66,912
Cole would love nothing more than joining his dad as a world champion steer roper. “I’ve been around steer roping my whole life with my dad,” the six-foot-one, 180-pound, 25-year-old cowboy said.
“I’ve known all of the top steer ropers and look up to all of them just like I do Dad. To have my name in the same category is pretty rewarding. It’s every kid’s dream growing up to put on that world champion buckle,” Cole admitted.
However, the second generation world class steer roper is most realistic about his championship outlook.
“It’s a 10-head marathon at the steer roping finals,” Cole emphasized. “If you look back to just about everyone who has had good finals, they had a good first round.
“That first round sets the pace for the next nine head, it seems,” Cole analyzed. “You can’t put all the weight on the first one, but last year I got off to a bad start. When your game plan goes out the widow right after starting it usually is not a good thing.”
The clock was stopped by Cole on only three steers at last year’s finals worth $5,420. Rocky collected $26,098 at last year’s finals to be 13th.
In his 26th trip to the NFSR, Rocky, 55, was the world champion steer roper in 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2016.
The five-foot-11, 190-pound cowboy was the PRCA Steer Roping Rookie of the Year in 1992. Cole matched his father’s feat as the Steer Roping Rookie of the Year in 2019.
Horsepower is key to rodeo arena success and the Pattersons have one of the best. Mr. Blackburn Chex 113 “Dunny,” owned by Rocky Patterson, was the Steer Roping Horse of the Year in 2019.
Ridden by Cole throughout this year and at last year’s finals, Dunny is expected to see action limelight this weekend. “That horse doesn’t ever do anything to just drop your jaw, but just always stays out of your way. He never hurts you,” Cole said.
In his 2020 campaign Cole won rodeos at Bellville, Texas; Kadoka, South Dakota; Coleman, Texas; Deadwood, South Dakota; and Douglas, Wyoming. In his first year as a professional cowboy in 2018, Cole was 109th in world steer roping standings.
This year, Rocky won the Ron Ross Memorial Steer Roping at Liberty Hill, Texas. In 2016, Rocky placed in eight rounds setting a record for most earnings at the NFSR with $70,651. He was first in the 2016 world standings with $142,350, a record for most steer roping earnings in one season.
Still tough NFSR competition is faced by the Kansas cowboys. Three-time world champion Scott Snedecor is second with $53,210. Vin Fisher Jr., last season’s runner-up, is third with $49,797.
Last season, Trevor Brazile notched his PRCA-record 25th world championship claiming the NFSR gold buckle winning the average in Mulvane.
Brazile enters this year’s competition in fourth place with $48,387. His brother-in-law Tuf Cooper sits in seventh with $35,655
“The standings are pretty close,” Cooper evaluated “Cole is roping really well. He had a great season and congratulations for him going in first place.
“But you have to finish it, and with nearly $10,000 for round winners it is anybody’s ballgame,” Cooper rationalized. “There are many very good steer ropers so it is any gunslinger’s game.”
Rounds at the NFSR pay 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, $17,917; fourth, $13,202; fifth, $8,487; and sixth, $4,715.
Welcoming spectators to the NFSR, Jeff Babinski, Kansas Star Casino manager, said “We feel like the home of the NFSR. We’re so excited to have it back again.”
“The National Finals Steer Roping has certainly found a home in Mulvane,” PRCA
executive George Taylor said. “Our steer ropers love competing for a gold buckle in the friendly confines of the Kansas Star Arena.”