Some of Gila County’s finest headers and heelers are chomping at the bit to put their cow punching skills to the test in one of the most competitive and exciting team ropings held in Arizona.
It’s the Eighth Annual Ted Meredith Memorial Roping set for July 20-22 in Young. The competition is held each year in conjunction with the Pleasant Valley Days, which is the biggest and most festive celebration held annually in Young and Pleasant Valley.
While the roping is a hard and fast competition in which ropers battle for prize money, pride and bragging rights, it is also a tribute to Meredith, a longtime Gila County rancher, home builder and former high school wrestling champion who died in 2005.
Meredith is also remembered around Arizona as an expert craftsman with a knack for fashioning custom spurs that are today the envy of most all cowboys and cowgirls.
The popularity of the ropings are a given in rodeo circles, but roping coordinator Sarah Haught anticipates this year’s attendance could break all records.
“Everyone is saying, ‘we’ll see you in Young.’
“We know the economy is bad, but we are expecting our usual crowds, if not larger.”
Which means the roping could draw in excess of the 1,000 teams that competed the last couple of years.
In addition to the roping, the three-day celebration includes a parade, quilt show, dance, barbecue, bingo, karaoke, homemade ice cream eating contest, Dutch oven cooking contests and on Sunday, a cowboy church in the bleachers at the arena.
Among the prizes the ropers will be competing for include engraved .44 lever-action rifles, spurs, buckles, trophy saddles and thousands of dollars in prize money.
The rifles will be awarded to the high money header and heeler of the weekend.
The second place high money and header receive the saddles.
Also, 17 buckles will be given to winners of every roping in the junior boys and junior girls competition as well as to the senior high money winner.
The average winners of the “open draw” will receive handcrafted spurs by Ted Meredith.
It becomes obvious after a simple glance at the prize list that there are big-time awards and money to be won at the roping.
A couple of years ago, Jess 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.
Whip 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.
Bill Jack Ewing, Garrett Haught, Jeff Hunt, Michael Camelot and C. J. Schaefer have also enjoyed big paydays at past ropings.
In 2008, the all-girls events at the roping underwent a name change and is now 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 five 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.
This year, Scottie Marcanti, Marsha’s widower, will be fund-raising with auctions and raffles, to help raise money for a Tonto Basin family with a member currently fighting cancer.
For more information about the roping or Pleasant Valley Days, call Haught at (928) 978-0851.