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Pawhuska’s Herren looking for big finish at national steer roping finals

GUTHRIE — Chet Herren of Pawhuska is hoping for a good two-day run this weekend at the 2013 Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping at the Lazy E Arena.

“If you’re rodeoing for a living, the only chance you’ve got to make money is to make the finals,” said Herren, an eight-time NFSR qualifier. “What you rope for is a chance for the world championship.”

Herren sits third on the money list heading into the finals, which features the world’s top 15 steer ropers. He qualified by winning $55,560 competing at some of this year’s more than 60 PRCA-sanctioned steer roping events.

Two other local ropers nearly made the 15-man cut. Rod Hartness of Pawhuska finished 16th, with earnings for the year falling a little more than $2,000 short of qualifying. Just $22 behind Hartness was Brad Prather of Skiatook.

Competitions at the NFSR begin at 7:30 p.m. each night at the historic Guthrie arena.

Another competing roper who is well known around Pawhuska is Cody Lee of Gatesville, Texas. Lee has won the last two Ben Johnson Memorial Steer Ropings, held each year around Father’s Day at the Osage County Fairgrounds. The invitational event is sponsored by the Osage County Cattlemen’s Association.

Lee had the fourth-highest total ($54,593) when the regular roping season ended in September.He trails the money leader — defending three-time world champion Rocky Patterson of Pratt, Kan. — by $16,339. Because the Clem McSpadden features the largest purses of the year, that lead is not insurmountable.

“With what the go-rounds and the average pay, I’ve got a shot,” said Lee, who will be appearing in his eighth championship. “Rocky’s not going to going to give it away, and Trevor will be there; those guys are hard to beat.”

Trevor is Trevor Brazile, a 17-time world champion who owns three steer roping gold buckles of his own – he also has three world titles in tie-down roping, one in team roping-heading and a record 10 in the all-around. Brazile is the No. 2 cowboy in the race for the world title with $57,759, just $13,173 behind Patterson.

Others in the field include several Texans who regularly rope in the Ben Johnson: two-time world champion Scott Snedecor and Dan Fisher, as well as his two sons, Vin Jr. and J. Tom. Fisher, at 62, already held the record as the oldest man in ProRodeo history to to qualify for National Finals event and this will mark his 16th trip to the NFSR.

Two more Oklahomans (and Ben Johnson regulars) will be competing in the championships: J.P. Wickett of Sallisaw and Mike Chase of McAlester. The remainder of this year’s field are Texans JoJo Lemond, Joe Wells, Tony Reina and Bryce Davis, and Jess Tierney of South Dakota.

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