Sponsors Make Wildfire Winners Circle
The Wildfire Sponsor Roping is a four-steer average that uses a pro/am format. An "am" at this one is a USTRC No. 5 or under. Louisiana's Hannah White topped the heading herd at this year's Sponsor Roping. Representing Fast Back Ropes, she and 2005 Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association World Champion Heeler Patrick Smith stopped the clock four times in 29.73 seconds over a 12-foot scoreline for the win, which earned her the black Cactus Saddlery parade saddle decked out in Montana Silversmiths custom silver and a Resistol Black Gold hat.
Hannah is the heading half of the White family, which is much better known in the bull riding arena. Her husband, Mike White, is the 1999 PRCA World Champion Bull Rider and a perennial Professional Bull Riders contender. In fact, he was "at work" on Wildfire Open to the World Weekend at the PBR event in Oklahoma City. He also loves to heel steers. Hannah and Mike are both Fast Back Ropes endorsees.
"Hannah gets to keep this saddle," declared Fast Back General Manager Al Benson. "She and Mike do such a great job promoting our ropes. This is a special event. The Wildfire Ranch is a great place for people to come rope year-round, and they take care of their sponsors. Fast Back is proud to support all their ropings."
It takes nerves of steel to be a bull rider's wife. And that strength came in handy when Hannah and Patrick entered the short round with a commanding lead over the pack. "I don't usually get nervous, but when we rode in the box to rope our last one I couldn't help it," said the USTRC No. 5. "You don't want to mess up for these (pro) guys. It's an honor to get to rope with them. This is one of the ropings you want to make sure you attend every year. If I have to rearrange my schedule to be here, I do it."
"We can't ever stress enough how thankful we are for the sponsors at this roping," Smith added. "There are only a few life-changing ropings a year, and this is one of them. The Wildfire is something to be excited about every year, and I'm grateful for what everybody does to make it happen. It's fun to see the sponsors get some fun out of all they put in. This roping is something we look forward to, and I've been with Fast Back a long time. It's great to get the job done and come through for them, so they can get the title and the saddle."
On the heeling side of the sponsor roping, Cactus Ropes' Jeremy McDonald cleaned up for 2007 World Champion Header Chad Masters. They roped four steers in 42.11 seconds for the Cactus Saddlery parade saddle with custom silver by Montana Silversmiths and Resistol Black Gold hat.
"I started working for Cactus Ropes when I was in high school," said an elated McDonald, now 28 and the head rope waxer at Cactus. "Back then, I was doing a lot of sweeping and cleaning. I've roped since I was a kid, and had never won a saddle before today. It's pretty cool that my first saddle happens to be the best saddle out there."