Heelers, Headers Gather For Young Roping



Courtesy photo

Header Garrett Haught has his rope around a calf as he waits for heeler Travis Ericsson to unleash his lasso. Action took place last year in the Ted Meredith Memorial Roping held in Young.

Most of Gila County’s finest heelers and headers have for the past five years gathered each summer in Young to participate in the Ted Meredith Memorial Roping.

Along with the impressive list of teams that compete, the roping draws sponsors from around the county, including Meredith’s surviving family and several large ranches.

Meredith, who died in 2005, was a longtime Gila County rancher, a home builder, former high school wrestling champion and well known for fashioning custom spurs that are the envy of cowboys and cowgirls from around Arizona.

As good as the past ropings have been, Meredith Memorial sponsor Sarah Haught expects the next one — to be held July 18 and 19 as part of the Pleasant Valley Days celebration — to be even better.

Which means, it could draw more than the record 729 teams that competed in 2008.

“We could break that, we are getting a lot of calls and interest this year,” said Haught.

Last year, Tammy Lewis and Cody Pearson finished as the high money header and heeler during the two days of almost continuous competition.

The two champs received Ruger .44 Magnum pistols and pocketed $552 each for their win in the No. 12 Pick division and $500 each for a victory in the No. 14 Draw class.

For the 2009 roping, the high money header and heeler will receive engraved .44 lever-action rifles as well as prize money.

Average winners in the open draw will be awarded sets of Meredith’s handcrafted spurs.

Also seven buckles will be awarded to champs in classifications No. 3 to No. 7 and over.

The “Scrambled Egg” mixed roping, for men and women will be held at 9 a.m., July 19.

Included in it will be an event for ropers 16-years-and-under.

Last year in the Scrambled Egg, Jamie Ewing and Randy Bran joined forces for first place and $632 each in prize money.

The all-girls event underwent a name change in 2008 and is now being called the Marsha Marcanti Memorial Roping. A percentage of the proceeds are donated to the American Cancer Society.

The Marcanti winners receive saddles and second-place finishers are awarded buckles.

Marcanti, a former Globe resident who succumbed to cancer two years ago at 48 years of age, was a longtime fixture on the Gila County rodeo and roping circuit.

In addition to being an accomplished cowgirl, she was also a musician with three CD releases.

Among the women ropers who competed in the 2008 Marcanti event, Julie Taylor was top header and Ashley Graves the top heeler.

Haught is not sure whether the two will return to defend their titles.

New to the Meredith Memorial this year will be a dummy roping for children and 3D barrel racing.

Entry fees during the weekend range from $25 for barrel racing to $125 for the Marcanti all-girls round robin. Most classification ropings are $30 per person and competitors can enter up to five times.

Cash-only entries will be accepted on the days of the event.

Concession will be available both days, there are free shower facilities and limited RV hook ups.

USTRC ranks ropers

For the memorial roping, entrants will compete in their respective United States Team Roping Championships (USTRC) number classifications.

Those rankings are given each year to almost 127,000 team ropers from across North America by the USTRC. The number system handicaps member ropers on a TRIAD system.

For more information about the roping, call Garrett or Sarah Haught at (928) 462-3800.

As for “draw or pick,” classifications, it simply means in some ropings competitors can either draw their partner from a pool of contestants or pick a personal choice.

For more information about the roping, call Garrett or Sarah Haught at (928) 462-3800.


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