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Jim Ross Cooper wins tie-down roping title at 2010 Pendleton Round-Up

PENDLETON, OR – Jim Ross Cooper can be excused if the next tie-down roping title he wins doesn’t quite measure up to his expectations. How could it?

Normally a team roper with his identical twin brother Jake, Jim Ross Cooper won the first tie-down roping title of his career Sept. 18 at the 100th Pendleton Round-Up.

Apart from $11,722 in prize money, Cooper also got a beautiful hand-stamped saddle, a trophy buckle, two Pendleton Woolen Mills blankets, a Resistol hat, boots, a champion’s jacket, a champion’s bag and a watch.

“This is my biggest calf roping win by a mile,” Cooper said. “I might have won a few rounds here and there, but I’ve never even won another rodeo in calf roping before today. It’s a good place to get your first one, that’s for sure.

“I don’t know that I’ve calf roped in front of this many people (a capacity house of 16,133). The excitement, the atmosphere, was awesome, and it couldn’t have turned out any better. Now, I’m going to expect the fans to cheer that loud, whoop and holler at any little rodeo that I might win.”

And this was no fluke. Cooper won the first round in a rodeo-best 8.5 seconds and finished fourth in the Sept. 18 finals to finish with a three-head time of 32.4 seconds, beating second-place finisher Landon McClaugherty by half a second.

It was a win calculated to delight anyone with an appreciation for irony. Cooper wins his first tie-down roping title at Pendleton, a place where his ProRodeo Hall of Fame tie-down roping father, Jimmie Cooper, never won in seven tries, and he wins a Pendleton title before any of his NFR-bound second cousins, Clint, Clif or Tuf Cooper, could manage it.

And then there is this: Jimmie Cooper retired from rodeo early because he wanted to be home in Monument, NM, to raise his twin boys, and he did everything he could to prepare them for a career in – wait for it – baseball.

“We (Jim Ross and Jake) were probably 5 or 6 when we started playing on a T-Ball team,” Jim Ross Cooper said. “My dad quit rodeoing to coach us and hang out with us. He saw that we were athletically inclined a little bit, and he did everything he could to steer us away from the rodeo lifestyle … being gone (from home) so much and putting strains on your family and your bank account.

“So, he built this batting cage, and he got us a pitching machine. We played baseball until we were in high school. I was a junior at Hobbs (NM) High before I gave it up. I went to a (baseball) scouting combine in Arizona, and Jake, who is my best friend, the person I am closest with in the world … called me from a rodeo to tell me he had just won the team roping with somebody else and was having a great time. I changed my flight, skipped the next day (of the combine) and flew home. I couldn’t stand to be away from everybody for that long.”

Jake and Jim Ross were the PRCA Resistol Rookies of the Year in team roping in 2004 and became the first twin brothers to qualify for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 2007. The decision to devote more time to tie-down roping is a fairly recent development for Jim Ross.

“My dad was always pretty much exclusively a calf roper,” Jim Ross Cooper said, “so I guess it was kind of a matter of wanting to be like him.”

That, in the end, is what pointed him toward rodeo. Reminded that there tends to be a lot more money in baseball than there is in rodeo, Cooper didn’t dispute it.

“Yes, sir, there sure is, but it couldn’t be as much fun as this.”

On the flip side of the coin from Jim Ross Cooper, there was Cody Ohl. He’s a five-time world champion tie-down roper who broke a barrier and won no money in his specialty at Pendleton, but won the steer roping over Trevor Brazile with a three-head time of 36.6 seconds.

It was Ohl’s first steer roping competition in a decade, since he underwent a shoulder surgery and three medical procedures to rebuild his knee in 2001-02.

Asked how much practice he had gotten in before entering the steer roping at Pendleton, Ohl just shook his head and smiled. “I went cold turkey,” he said. “No practice.”

Before the surgery, Ohl qualified for the National Finals Steer Roping three consecutive years (1999-2001), and the money he earned in the event helped him win his only all-around gold buckle in 2001.

He needed all of his veteran’s savvy to get his steer tied in the final round, covering the rain-slicked grass quickly to get in position while the steer was trying to get up, and tying him in 13.6 seconds.

Chad Masters and heeler Jade Corkill started talking about Pendleton just after winning the 100th edition of California Rodeo Salinas in July, talking about “how cool it would be to win both rodeos in their centennial year.”

They completed the parlay Sept. 18 when they won the finals in 5.7 seconds to assure their win in the three-head average by 1.1 seconds over Brady Tryan and Jake Long. Their total earnings of $14,443 for the week moved both Masters and Corkill from third place to first in the world standings.

“We knew we just needed a clean catch (in the finals) to make good money,” Masters said, “but you don’t get too many chances to win this rodeo, and we wanted to take a run at it. I’ve been coming here nine years, and I had a chance to win it once, in 2007, and missed.”

Travis Atkinson of Lehi, UT, won the bull riding in his first appearance at Pendleton. All it took was a 92-point ride on Corey & Horst’s Speed Dial, equal to the highest score of his life (at Tooele, UT), in the final round to beat three-time Wrangler NFR qualifier Kanin Asay by four points.

“I was out of the NFR race (starting the week 46th in the world), but I still set high goals for myself here,” said Atkinson, 25. “This is the biggest win of my career, and if anything is going to pump you up and make you feel like you can conquer the world, this would be it.”

The other Centennial Pendleton champions were bareback riders Kelly Timberman and Ryan Gray (169 points each on two head), saddle bronc rider Cody Wright (173 points on two head), steer wrestler Casey Martin (15.6 seconds on three head) and barrel racer Jody Sheffield (57.42 seconds on two runs). Kyle Lockett of Visalia, CA, was the all-around champion with $4,958 earned in team roping and steer roping; he was the only competitor to earn money in two events.

PENDLETON, OR – Jim Ross Cooper can be excused if the next tie-down roping title he wins doesn’t quite measure up to his expectations. How could it?

Normally a team roper with his identical twin brother Jake, Jim Ross Cooper won the first tie-down roping title of his career Sept. 18 at the 100th Pendleton Round-Up.

Apart from $11,722 in prize money, Cooper also got a beautiful hand-stamped saddle, a trophy buckle, two Pendleton Woolen Mills blankets, a Resistol hat, boots, a champion’s jacket, a champion’s bag and a watch.

“This is my biggest calf roping win by a mile,” Cooper said. “I might have won a few rounds here and there, but I’ve never even won another rodeo in calf roping before today. It’s a good place to get your first one, that’s for sure.

“I don’t know that I’ve calf roped in front of this many people (a capacity house of 16,133). The excitement, the atmosphere, was awesome, and it couldn’t have turned out any better. Now, I’m going to expect the fans to cheer that loud, whoop and holler at any little rodeo that I might win.”

And this was no fluke. Cooper won the first round in a rodeo-best 8.5 seconds and finished fourth in the Sept. 18 finals to finish with a three-head time of 32.4 seconds, beating second-place finisher Landon McClaugherty by half a second.

It was a win calculated to delight anyone with an appreciation for irony. Cooper wins his first tie-down roping title at Pendleton, a place where his ProRodeo Hall of Fame tie-down roping father, Jimmie Cooper, never won in seven tries, and he wins a Pendleton title before any of his NFR-bound second cousins, Clint, Clif or Tuf Cooper, could manage it.

And then there is this: Jimmie Cooper retired from rodeo early because he wanted to be home in Monument, NM, to raise his twin boys, and he did everything he could to prepare them for a career in – wait for it – baseball.

“We (Jim Ross and Jake) were probably 5 or 6 when we started playing on a T-Ball team,” Jim Ross Cooper said. “My dad quit rodeoing to coach us and hang out with us. He saw that we were athletically inclined a little bit, and he did everything he could to steer us away from the rodeo lifestyle … being gone (from home) so much and putting strains on your family and your bank account.

“So, he built this batting cage, and he got us a pitching machine. We played baseball until we were in high school. I was a junior at Hobbs (NM) High before I gave it up. I went to a (baseball) scouting combine in Arizona, and Jake, who is my best friend, the person I am closest with in the world … called me from a rodeo to tell me he had just won the team roping with somebody else and was having a great time. I changed my flight, skipped the next day (of the combine) and flew home. I couldn’t stand to be away from everybody for that long.”

Jake and Jim Ross were the PRCA Resistol Rookies of the Year in team roping in 2004 and became the first twin brothers to qualify for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 2007. The decision to devote more time to tie-down roping is a fairly recent development for Jim Ross.

“My dad was always pretty much exclusively a calf roper,” Jim Ross Cooper said, “so I guess it was kind of a matter of wanting to be like him.”

That, in the end, is what pointed him toward rodeo. Reminded that there tends to be a lot more money in baseball than there is in rodeo, Cooper didn’t dispute it.

“Yes, sir, there sure is, but it couldn’t be as much fun as this.”

On the flip side of the coin from Jim Ross Cooper, there was Cody Ohl. He’s a five-time world champion tie-down roper who broke a barrier and won no money in his specialty at Pendleton, but won the steer roping over Trevor Brazile with a three-head time of 36.6 seconds.

It was Ohl’s first steer roping competition in a decade, since he underwent a shoulder surgery and three medical procedures to rebuild his knee in 2001-02.

Asked how much practice he had gotten in before entering the steer roping at Pendleton, Ohl just shook his head and smiled. “I went cold turkey,” he said. “No practice.”

Before the surgery, Ohl qualified for the National Finals Steer Roping three consecutive years (1999-2001), and the money he earned in the event helped him win his only all-around gold buckle in 2001.

He needed all of his veteran’s savvy to get his steer tied in the final round, covering the rain-slicked grass quickly to get in position while the steer was trying to get up, and tying him in 13.6 seconds.

Chad Masters and heeler Jade Corkill started talking about Pendleton just after winning the 100th edition of California Rodeo Salinas in July, talking about “how cool it would be to win both rodeos in their centennial year.”

They completed the parlay Sept. 18 when they won the finals in 5.7 seconds to assure their win in the three-head average by 1.1 seconds over Brady Tryan and Jake Long. Their total earnings of $14,443 for the week moved both Masters and Corkill from third place to first in the world standings.

“We knew we just needed a clean catch (in the finals) to make good money,” Masters said, “but you don’t get too many chances to win this rodeo, and we wanted to take a run at it. I’ve been coming here nine years, and I had a chance to win it once, in 2007, and missed.”

Travis Atkinson of Lehi, UT, won the bull riding in his first appearance at Pendleton. All it took was a 92-point ride on Corey & Horst’s Speed Dial, equal to the highest score of his life (at Tooele, UT), in the final round to beat three-time Wrangler NFR qualifier Kanin Asay by four points.

“I was out of the NFR race (starting the week 46th in the world), but I still set high goals for myself here,” said Atkinson, 25. “This is the biggest win of my career, and if anything is going to pump you up and make you feel like you can conquer the world, this would be it.”

The other Centennial Pendleton champions were bareback riders Kelly Timberman and Ryan Gray (169 points each on two head), saddle bronc rider Cody Wright (173 points on two head), steer wrestler Casey Martin (15.6 seconds on three head) and barrel racer Jody Sheffield (57.42 seconds on two runs). Kyle Lockett of Visalia, CA, was the all-around champion with $4,958 earned in team roping and steer roping; he was the only competitor to earn money in two events.


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