Roping successes Schultz accomplishes roping dream
Las Vegas, Nev. – Al Schultz of Cody grew up ranching and roping. In the 60 years he has been roping, Schultz didn’t expect to see the success that he reached this year during the World Series of Team Roping (WSTR)Finale.
“We’ve always competed in team roping,” says Schultz. “Roping has been part of the ranch, as it is a part of every ranch everywhere else.”
At this year’s WSTR, Schultz and his roping partner and son-in-law Mark Aragon took home first place and $240,000 in the #9 Cactus Ropes Short Round.
Schultz and Aragon qualified for the WSTR finals last year in Livingston, Mont.
Schultz says, “The entry fee is $2,000 per man to get into Las Vegas. Once we won that, we sent in our entry fees. People don’t get the chance to rope at that kind of event for that kind of money very often.”
“Mark and I both figured we were winners by just getting to Las Vegas,” Schultz says.
After arriving at the WSTR, Schultz notes that they were broken down into 100-team rotations. Each rotation competes against the others in the rotation for a slot in the Short Round. The top 10 percent of ropers from each rotation advance.
“We ran our three steers on Saturday, getting ready for the Short Round on Sunday,” he explains. “When we got done, we had won our rotation, but there were still 400 teams to rope. I knew we were going to be close to making the Short Round.”
At the end of the evening, the pair was sitting at number one in the average.
“The next morning, we went and took care of our horses and prepared for the Short Round,” Schultz says.
As the finals wrapped up, Schultz and Aragon needed a time of 11.46 to win the event.
“Going into the arena, I had no doubt that my header was going to catch,” Schultz continues. “I knew that I needed to rope the legs to wind up with a check. We came back in as the high team. When I came around the corner, the steer gave me a dirty dive, but I picked up and rode through it.”
The result was a 11.38 time – 0.08 seconds faster than the time they needed to win.
“I was lucky enough to rope two feet,” Schultz says. “When I rode out of the arena, I knew we had done well.”
Schultz says winning the event means a lot to both ropers.
“My son-in-law and I both lost our wives to cancer in the last five years, so it is very special to win with him,” he says. “I give all the praise in the world to God who gave me the ability to be there, and I know our wives were looking down on us.”
Schultz has remarried and says that he is fortunate to have a wonderful wife cheering for his success.
“Mark has been a part of our family for about 10 years,” he continues. “We’ve been roping together since then.”
After the passing of his daughter, Mark continued to be an integral part of their family. Though he lives in Pagosa Springs, Colo., Mark returns to Cody every summer to spend time with the Schultz family.
Schultz also notes that he has also been humbled by the phone calls, texts and acknowledgement coming in.
“It is very humbling to know that I’ve touched that many people’s lives,” he says. “I’m still not sure I can grasp what we’ve accomplished.”
Continuing to rope
The pair plans to continue to rope together, and Schultz says he is healthy and has no reason to quit.
“This is one of the few sports that a family can do together,” Schultz says. “There is no age limit. Kids can start as soon as they are old enough to swing a rope until they are too old to.”
Schultz adds, “This goes to show that no matter how old we get, everything is possible. Never give up on a dream.”
World Series of Team Roping
The World Series of Team Roping (WSTR) is an organization that allows ropers from across the country to compete against ropers of their own skill level.
“To qualify to go to Las Vegas, ropers have to win at least $2,500 in the qualifier ropings,” Al Schultz, team roper from Cody, mentions.
The WSTR offers five divisions at their qualification ropings, and each division has a 21-year-old age minimum.
“The way they have it set up means that ropers are competing against other ropers of their own caliber,” he continues. “It is a fantastic deal.”
Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.