It wouldn’t be a big surprise if Pedro Eurrola and Steven Guaona show up July 20 to 21 in Young to compete in the Ninth Annual Ted Meredith Memorial Roping.
That’s because the two were big-time winners at last year’s competition. Eurrola pocketed $1,702 in prize money and received a .44 caliber lever-action rifle valued at about $1,000. Guaona, the high money header, earned $1,595 and the same model rifle.
“Last year was their first time here, but we’re anticipating they’ll return,” said roping sponsor Sarah Haught.
Money and prizes are among the reasons ropers from around Arizona show up annually to compete in the myriad of ropings.
Ropers also show up to show their respect for 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.
But for all the prizes and money and respect for Meredith, pride and bragging rights continue to draw cowboys and cowgirls to Young.
The presence of the state’s best headers and heelers make it one of the most competitive and exciting team ropings around.
The list of past winners is a Who’s Who among rodeo cowboys.
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 well-known 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 are among the lifelong ropers who have competed in the annual event.
The competition is held each year in conjunction with Pleasant Valley Days, which is the biggest and most festive celebration held annually in Young and Pleasant Valley.
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.”
The roping could draw in excess of the hundreds of 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.
Also, a reenactment of the Pleasant Valley War, sometimes known as the Tonto Basin Feud, will be held for the first time ever.
“We also have coming, for the first time, a horseback drill team,” Haught said.
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 header and heeler receive the saddles.
Also, 17 buckles will be given to winners of every roping in the junior boys and junior girls competitions as well as to the senior high-money winner.
The average winners of the “open draw” will receive handcrafted spurs by Ted Meredith.
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 six 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 memorial roping, call Garrett or Sarah Haught at (520) 356-6014.