Roping champions, Wyoming team ropers catch a win
Las Vegas, Nev. – At the 2013 World Series of Team Roping, Wheatland resident Mike Grant and Harold Bumguardner of Torrington caught four steers in 31.85 seconds, earning them the top slot in the #12 Fast Back Ropes Finale event and $255,000 to split.
“This was a really good year,” comments Bumguardner. “Mike and I were fortunate enough to get good steers and catch them. It was fun.”
However, Bumguardner and Grant note that without their continued practice and hard work, their success wouldn’t have been possible.
Both Bumguardner and Grant have been team roping for a number of years.
“I’ve been serious about roping for the last 10 years,” says Grant, “but I’ve been doing it forever. I’m strictly a jackpot roper, and we go to jackpots around the region and rope with everyone.”
Bumguardner has made roping more of a career.
“My dad got me started roping when I was big enough to wear a rope,” he says. “I don’t remember not being able to catch something.”
“We roped a lot on the ranch growing up, “ he comments. “My dad was really big on catching stuff.”
During his youth, Bumguardner also competed in rodeos.
After high school, he joined the amateur rodeo association, later joining the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) in 1972.
“I was about to be done with PRCA when they came up with the team ropings,” he continues, “but there is so much money to be won that I decided to stay in.”
The road to the worlds
To qualify for the World Series of Team Roping, contestants must win any one of many qualifying events. Bumguardner and Grant won an Eaton, Colo. team roping event earlier this year.
“I continued to jackpot every weekend after Eaton, but Harold was my Vegas partner,” says Grant. “We are only allowed to enter the Las Vegas, Nev. event with one partner in each division.”
Practice makes perfect
Winning an event didn’t mean an easy summer for either man.
“I left the week before Thanksgiving and went and practiced in Las Vegas, Nev., as well,” remarks Grant. “There were several jackpots before the big event in Nevada.”
He adds that he purchased a horse just nine days prior to the event and enjoyed competing on the horse for the first time.
Bumguardner says, “I don’t feel like I backed into it. We prepared quite a while.”
He also noted that his friends and family have all put forth a lot in helping him to get to the event.
Both ropers were competing in their third year at the World Series of Team Roping, and both note that the win is a big one.
On Dec. 10, the pair roped three steers, setting the stage for the short round the following day.
“We were the fastest time on three, so that meant we were the last team to go on Wednesday,” Grant says. “They make a big production of the short round, and going last, we knew we had to beat 8.88 seconds to win it.”
With a time of 8.4 seconds, they settled into the top slot with ease.
“There were just under 400 teams in our division,” Grant adds. “It is a huge event.”
“The cattle were excellent, and it is a first-class set-up,” he continued. “We enjoyed the event.”
Fast Back sponsored the contest.
Grant says, “Fast Back Ropes is one of my personal sponsors. It is cool to win an event sponsored by an organization that I have a relationship with.”
Grant’s team roping adventure isn’t over yet, he notes.
“I’ve been trying to promote the state of Wyoming and Fast Back Ropes,” he says, “and I’ll continue to do that.”
Grant mentions that he will continue to compete in team roping events.
“I try to practice about five times a week, and we will keep jackpotting,” he notes, adding that he will also work with Fast Back Ropes and Formula 707, a horse supplement line, in his career.
Bumguardner, however, says this year was his last big year in the team roping world.
“When we can win like we did, after trying to make a living team roping for as long as I have, it’s a great thing,” he says. “There is no way to duplicate that kind of performance.”
After years of hard work, Bumguardner says he will continue to rope around the Torrington area, adding, “If I go out, it’ll be close to here. I have a four-year-old grandson to teach, and that’s a lot more fun.”
Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at email@example.com.
Aside from winning the #12 Fast Back Ropes Finale at the 2013 World Series of Team Roping Championships, Harold Bumguardner also saw other wins during the event.
“I also qualified to compete in the 11 and the 10,” he says, “and I came back to win a little more in each of those.”
In the #11 Heel-o-matic Finale Eight event, Bumguardner took 12th place with partner Mike Carrell, for a payout of $9,000.
Additionally, with partner Jody York, Bumguardner took ninth place and won $23,500 in the #10 Bloomer Finale Eight.
“I still can’t believe I placed in all those ropings and won,” he says.