BILLINGS – There’s a big pool of cash on the line this week in Billings. Contestants from all over the country are funneling in to MetraPark for a shot at the Wrangler Team Roping Championship Finals.
Some of the world’s best ropers, including National Finals Rodeo qualifier and three-time world champion header Clay Tryan, took a crack at the open division jackpot on Wednesday night. NFR qualifier Travis Tryan estimated that purse at about $50,000.
But this week’s event is open to the world’s highest-caliber ropers. Aside from the open division anybody, almost any age, is welcome to enter. And come Saturday, it could add up to a life-changing payday.
“The truck (that’s) given away on Saturday, you get to take the truck or $45,000 cash,” said Travis. “The high-point roper of the day wins that, so there’s lots of teams in the lower divisions, which creates more money, and it’s pretty exciting.”
His brother Clay, who will return for another Wrangler NFR run and a crack at his fourth world team roping title in Las Vegas this December, earns much of his income at jackpot ropings like this one.
“People don’t really know, but if you rope for a living, how you make money is going to events like this,” Clay said. “I think you can probably win $10,000 (Wednesday), or more, if you do good. There’s hardly any rodeos all year that pay $10,000. I want to win gold buckles, but I like to win big events like this. I’ve won it, I think, three times.”
The Championship Finals continue daily at 8 a.m. through Sunday at Rimrock Auto Arena and Expo Center. Admission is free to the public.