The 21-year-old Kansas cowboy has plenty of reasons to believe in himself, starting with winning Kansas’ Biggest Rodeo with an 89.5-point ride on Beutler & Son Rodeo’s Nutrena’s Anything Goes in Phillipsburg, Aug. 1.
“This was my first time coming to Phillipsburg and it’s awesome,” Pope said. “I’m originally from Kansas so it’s fun to come back and compete in my home state. It’s a homey atmosphere and that gives a guy a lot of confidence.”
His home state confidence boost was coupled with the luck of the draw since Shane O’Connell won Phillipsburg in 2019 on Anything Goes.
“I knew it would be a good dog fight and I was really excited knowing it was a good shot to get a win at a good rodeo,” Pope said.
Pope was 14th in the PRCA | RAM World Standings prior to winning $3,387 and picking up ProRodeo Tour points in Phillipsburg. He hopes it’s the spark that ignites a hot streak that carries him to his first NFR.
“It means a lot, I’m so grateful for the rodeos we are getting to go to and the committees that are sticking their necks out there and putting them on,” Pope said. “I got skunked last weekend and this is a pick me up and now I’m really excited for Dodge (City) tomorrow.”
Pope’s lucky draws continued for the Dodge City (Kan.) Roundup Rodeo where he’s set to ride Pickett Pro Rodeo’s Freckled Frog, the same bronc that Clayton Biglow rode to split the win in Round 6 of the 2019 NFR with an 88.5-point ride.
After placing second in the 2019 PRCA | Resistol Rookie Standings, Pope kicked off the 2020 season by winning the North American Championship Rodeo in Louisville, Ky., in November and the Cinch World’s Toughest Rodeo in Des Moines, Iowa in January.
“I’m feeling confident and riding better than I ever have and I’m stronger than I ever been,” Pope said. “The cards will play out the way they will, but I just have to do my job every time I nod my head and just hold myself accountable for what I can control and see how it plays out in September.”
Other winners at the $159,135 rodeo were steer wrestlers Taz Olson, Maverick Harper and Clayton Hass (3.5 seconds each); team ropers Jeff Flenniken/Tyler Worley (4.8 seconds); saddle bronc rider Sterling Crawley (84.5 points on Beutler & Son Rodeo’s No Show Jones); tie-down ropers Stetson Vest, Ryan Jarrett and Justin Smith (8.4 seconds each); barrel racer Shelley Morgan (16.76 seconds) and bull rider Shad Winn (84.5 points on Beutler & Son Rodeo’s Make My Day).
Clayton Hass and Maverick Harper tied for all-around cowboy honors, each winning $3,476, Hass in steer wrestling and team roping, and Harper in steer wrestling, team roping and tie-down roping.
For more coverage of Kansas’ Biggest Rodeo, check out the Aug. 7 edition of ProRodeo Sports News.
Courtesy of PRCA