LAS VEGAS – A pair of local ropers returned home with a little extra cash in their pockets after taking third place in the World Series of Team Roping Perfect 12 event in mid March at the South Point Casino and Equestrian Center in Las Vegas, Nev.
Sublette County cowboys Jeff White and Timothy Rutar entered the high stakes competition against a field of 244 other team-roping teams from across the United States in what is one of the biggest team-roping events of the calendar year with one of the largest payouts.
The two were taken aback as they sat on their trusty horses inside an arena that can hold upwards of 20,000 spectators, although it wasn’t completely full of spectators, lessening the pressure for the two local cowboys slightly.
The pair says they lucked out with the steers they drew, as they were able to secure quick times in the first three rounds to advance to the short round. Only 20 teams made it to the fourth and final round, and the pressure was on to win the top place purse of $35,000 as the pair put it all on the line to win big. The pair said the large payouts brought on the nerves and pressure as they advanced, but they luckily ended the short round with yet another impressive run to bring home a nice cash prize.
“The short round, to me, was exciting,” Rutar said. “Backing into the box with a chance to win $35,000 and taking away $19,000 is not disappointing at all.”
The team earned a total time between all four runs of 31.9 seconds, which was just behind second place team Rick Ward and Jake Ward’s time of 30.48. First place was awarded to Travis Baulch and Chad Steele, who earned a time of 29.99 seconds. Between first place and fourth, only two seconds separated the top four roping teams.
The cattle they drew were “medium strong,” Rutar noted, which made the pair rope aggressive all day.
“Jeff handled the cow really nicely,” he added, which made it easier for him to lasso the heels and finish the run.
Needless to say, the local cowboys were pleased with the results after competing at such a high level against some of the top ropers around.
“This was the biggest win I’ve ever had,” White said.
“It was definitely the biggest (payout) we’ve won together,” Rutar added.
White said they had high expectations going in, but weren’t sure how things would turn out as they hadn’t practiced as much as they wanted leading up to the event.
“We practiced as much as we could with the weather and our work schedules,” Rutar noted. “It was kind of tough. We got a lot going on in the winter and didn’t practice as much as we should have, but it turned out great.”
Roping is something the two friends have been doing together dating back to their college days in the late 1990s and early 2000s. After that, the two pursued careers and stepped away from the sport for some time.
White now works as a controls engineer for Tesoro Logistics, while Rutar works as a veterinarian and owns Wind River Equine Sports Medicine outside of Jackson and moved back to Pinedale last year.
The two got back to roping together a few years back, and certainly have made a strong comeback to rise as some of the most skilled team ropers in the country.
The strong performance World Series of Team Roping Perfect 12 event qualified the two for the World Series Finale coming up Dec. 11-17, which will also be held at the South Point Casino and Equestrian Center. The pair will use winnings from the March win to enter the event, where they will have a chance to win the first-place payout of $360,000.
“It’s a huge deal,” Rutar said.