by Bob Stephens
TORRINGTON, Wyo. – Vin Fisher Jr. didn’t start the National Circuit Finals Steer Roping the way he wanted, but the two-day event at the Goshen County Fairgrounds certainly ended the way he dreamed.
In the four-man final round, he was out first and posted a solid time of 10.7 seconds. That put the Texas Circuit cowboy in good position, but also a tenuous one.
“I thought I could win fourth or I could win first,” he said. “I knew three of the best ropers in the world were behind me. I was very fortunate it held up.”
For various reasons, Jess Tierney of the Badlands Circuit, Rocky Patterson of the Prairie Circuit and Brent Lewis of the Turquoise Circuit all had no-times in the sudden death final round.
Fisher was ecstatic to be crowned the NCFSR champion.
“This one means a lot to me,” said the 35-year-old cowboy from Andrews, Texas. “I’ve been here to Torrington every year since they started this event in 2010 – except last year when we couldn’t get to our (Texas) Circuit Finals (Rodeo) because of an ice storm.
“I was second here in the sudden death format in 2010. I won the average that year, the semifinals and was second in the four-man. I won about $10,000.”
He earned $7,819 this year – not bad for two days of work.
After his first run, it would’ve been hard for even Fisher to believe he would end up the champion. He broke the barrier in Round 1 on Friday and posted a time of 25 seconds, which put him behind the eight-ball, he figured.
“I knew I had to tie the next five to have a chance to make the semifinals,” he said. “I didn’t leave much room for error.”
Fisher was one of three ropers to tie all six of their steers, which left him second in the average (99.3 seconds on six) behind Tierney (98.7 on six). Tierney earned $2,843 as the average champion while Fisher pocketed $2,132 for finishing second. Howdy McGinn of the Columbia River Circuit was third in the average (102.9 seconds on six), and he earned $1,421.
The other five semifinalists were Scott Snedecor (62.1 seconds on five head) of the Texas Circuit, Ora Taton (63.4 on five) of the Badlands Circuit, Troy Tillard (65.6 on five) of the Mountain States Circuit, Patterson (65.8 on five) and Lewis (68.3 on five).
Lewis was out first and won the semifinal round with a time of 9.6 seconds, good for a $2,843 check. Patterson followed that run with a time of 10.2 seconds and he finished second to earn $2,133. Tierney was third in 10.3 and won $1,422. Fisher took fourth in 11.4 seconds – just one-tenth of a second ahead of fellow Texas Circuit roper Scott Snedecor – to earn $711.
All four ropers who reached the four-man final earned more than $5,000 at the NCFSR. Lewis took home $5,687 while Patterson earned $5,608 and Tierney won $5,213.
“This is a great event,” Fisher said. “It’s one of the most hospitable rodeos we go to all year. The steers were great, the roping was great, and the ground was great. They want you to be here and they treat you like it. They like steer roping here.
“And,” he added, “when you get to rope in a heated building when it’s 30 degrees outside and snowing – that’s great.”
Fisher had high praise for his horse, Two Spot, a 16-year-old he bought last November.
“This is the first place I brought him, and he was great,” Fisher said. “When I wanted to tie one down, he let me do it. When I wanted to go fast, he let me do it.”
Fisher’s name joins previous winners of the event: Ralph Williams (Prairie Circuit, 2010), Trent Mills (Mountain States Circuit, 2011), Patterson (Prairie Circuit, 2012), J.P. Wickett (Prairie Circuit, 2013), Roger Branch (Prairie Circuit, 2014) and Jason Evans (Texas Circuit, 2015).
Voted top horse at the NCFSR for the second straight year was Tillard’s horse, Rowdy.
“He did better than me,” said Tillard, who led the average after the first day’s four rounds. “I’m not surprised for him. They were a lot of good horses here, but he gave me a chance to win.”
In the end, it was Fisher who was smiling.
Read more about the NCFSR in the May 20 ProRodeo Sports News.
Courtesy of PRCA