FORT SMITH, Ark. – Joel Bach celebrated his team roping win at the Old Fort Days Rodeo with new heeling partner Jim Ross Cooper in a special way Saturday – he got married.
Bach and Cooper won the May 25-30 rodeo at Harper Stadium with a time of 9.2 seconds on two head. They competed earlier in the week, and hung on for the win.
That made Saturday even sweeter for Bach, who married Cassidy Cabot, the 2012 Miss Rodeo Colorado, in Hamilton, Texas.
“Joel and I just became partners about three weeks ago, and I don’t think we’d ever roped together before that,” Cooper said. “We both needed a partner, and thought we’d give it a go. Team roping is a fickle beast, I guess, and chemistry doesn’t always work out, but so far, so good for us.”
It helps that Cooper and Bach have known each other since they were kids, and that their famous dads roped together at three National Finals Rodeos.
Cooper and his twin brother Jake – they were the first identical twins to qualify for the WNFR in team roping – are the sons of Jimmie Cooper, who was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 2005. Bach is the son of four-time world champion team roper Allen Bach.
“It’s kind of funny that my dad and Allen roped together, and my dad was the header,” Cooper said. “Allen taught me how to heel – through what he taught my dad. I used to rope at their house, and Allen was always a mentor for me.
“I’ve pretty much known Joel all my life. We rode dirt bikes together when I was about 14.”
Cooper, who celebrates his 31st birthday June 20, has qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo five times (2007, 2011-14), while Bach, 25, is seeking his first trip to the Finals in Las Vegas.
Bach finished 21st in the 2014 header world standings, while Cooper – who roped with partner Brandon Beers – finished 10th.
Bach was 19th among headers in the May 26 Windham Weaponry High Performance PRCA World Standings. Cooper was not ranked in the top 50, but said it’s a long season and he hasn’t been to many rodeos. He still figures to reach his fifth consecutive WNFR.
“I’d say I’m really confident,” Cooper said. “You have to believe in yourself at this level. I’ve had a history of slow winters. I have definitely have high hopes.”
The team roping partners have something else in common: both won team roping Rookie of the Year honors. Cooper was the top rookie heeler in 2004 and Bach was the premier rookie header in 2008.
Bach and Cooper finished three-tenths of a second ahead of the second-place team of JoJo LeMond and Dakota Kirchenschlager, who had a time of 9.5 seconds on two head. LeMond also won the steer roping, with a time of 21.6 seconds on two head.
Other winners at the $140,267 rodeo were bareback rider Clint Cannon (87 points on Pickett Rodeo’s Shady Nights), steer wrestler Stan Branco (10.3 seconds on two head), saddle bronc rider Cody DeMoss (85 points on J Bar J’s In The River), tie-down roper Marcos Costa (15.4 seconds on two head), barrel racer Michele McLeod (16.47 seconds) and bull rider Sage Kimzey (88 points on Silver Creek Rodeo’s Hell Pony).
Courtesy of PRCA