For the past seven years, Gila County’s finest heelers and headers have gathered each summer in Young to participate in the Ted Meredith Memorial Roping and pay respect to the cowboy the event is named after.
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 around Arizona.
Along with the impressive list of ropers who compete each year, the event draws sponsors from around the county, including Meredith’s surviving family and several large ranches including John Augustine Ranches, Diamond Butte, Flying W Ranches and DC Cattle Company.
As good as the past events have been, Meredith Memorial sponsor Sarah Haught expects the seventh annual roping — to be held July 16 and 17, as part of the Pleasant Valley Days celebration — to be even better.
Which means, it could draw more than the record 1,000 teams that competed last year.
“We could break that, we are getting a lot
of calls and interest this year,” said Haught. “We are also going to have a parade, quilt show, dance, barbecue and on Sunday a cowboy church in the bleachers at the arena.”
Among the prizes the ropers will be competing for include an engraved .44 lever-action rifle, spurs, buckles and thousands of dollars in prize money.
Among the biggest winners in past ropings were Jess Mann and Whip Lewis. In 2009, Mann led all money winners with $2,145, a .44 lever-action rifle and a buckle for his first-place finish among the No. 6 ropers.
Lewis, a header, pocketed $1,911, a rifle and a buckle for being top dog among the No. 7 ropers. Lewis and Mann also received spurs for winning the open draw roping.
The spurs given out in the past and at the upcoming roping are handcrafted and made by Ted Meredith prior to his death.
Tammy Lewis and Cody Pearson are two of the high money winners from past ropings, but Haught is unsure if the two will compete this year.
The “Scrambled Egg” mixed roping, for men and women will be held July 17.
Included in it will be an event for ropers’ 16-years-and-under and another for 55-years and over. 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, second-place finishers are awarded buckles and third-place finishers receive breast collars.
Marcanti, a former Globe resident who succumbed to cancer four 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.
Julie Taylor and Ashley Graves are among those who have won Marcanti titles and the accompanying prizes.
For more information about the roping or Pleasant Valley Days, call Haught at (928) -462-3800.