San Antonio, TX (March 11, 2006) -- Over 570 teams traveled to The Rose Palace in San Antonio, Texas this weekend to compete in the 24th Annual George Strait Team Roping Classic. Hosted by country superstar and avid team roper, George Strait, the sold-out GSTRC event is among the largest and most prestigious open ropings in the circuit and annually plays host to the most accomplished names in the sport.
Ropers competed for a chance at cash and prizes totaling more than $425,000, including two Chevy Silverado Trucks provided by Cavender Chevrolet of Boerne, TX, two Strait X-treme 3-horse slant trailers by Bruton Trailers, Twister saddles and Gist Buckles.
This year’s winning team is returning Champion Speed Williams (Llano, TX) and 1st time winner Brad Culpepper (Tifton, GA) with a combined 3 round total of 15.82 seconds. Speed Williams with partner Rich Skelton (Llano, TX) placed second with a total time of 16.48 while David Key (Caldwell, TX) and Patrick Smith (Midland, TX) placed third with a time of 16.80.
First time winner 35-year-old Brad Culpepper says no one could be more excited to win than he – especially considering earlier in the week, the Georgia native had decided not to come. “I called Speed on Monday to back out of the competition,” admits Culpepper. “My first string horse was hurt, money was tight and I just didn’t feel 100% prepared. When you are roping with the best in the world, you want to be prepared. Thank Goodness Speed believed in me and wouldn’t let me back out.”
Ropers have the opportunity to enter with a different team up to three times but few find themselves competing against themselves in the final seconds of the championship. When asked about his strategy for roping with both Culpepper and Skelton, Speed Williams replied, “I was trying to do the best job I could to win, no matter which team I was on. I told my buddy Rich if it came down to it, I could show no mercy and he understood. ”
“This event is the best you can do in roping,” says Williams. “George does a lot for team roping. He could do so many other things but this is his passion.”
In addition to great prizes, the GSTRC welcomed back H.E.B. Food Stores and their “Red Wrapped Steer Challenge” – an exciting $10,000 per round progressive contest that took place during the finals. $40, 000 total was up for grabs as ropers had the chance to rope one of the steers with red wrapped horns. Unfortunately, this year no one took home the prize money.
Sponsors for the 2006 George Strait Team Roping Classic are: Bruton Trailers, HEB Food Stores, Bill Miller Bar-B-Q, Tractor Supply company, Brake Check, Gist Buckles, Wrangler, Justin Boots, Cactus Ropes, Classic Ropes and Southwest Texas ACA.
SATURDAY, MARCH 11: FINALS – TOP 8
Place Combined Time Team Pay-out each
1st 15.82 Speed Williams/Brad Culpepper $55,790
2nd 16.48 Speed Williams/Rich Skelton $22,315
3rd 16.80 David Key/Patrick Smith $15, 340
4th 18.28 David Motes/Casey Chamberlain $13,945
5th 19.79 Jared Standridge/Jory Levy $11,155
6th 22.40 John O’Connor/Jim Garson $8,365
7th 22.82 Charles Pogue/Dennis Gatz $6,970
8th 24.13 Chad Masters/Cole Bigbee $5,575
FRIDAY, MARCH 10: 1ST ROUND STANDINGS
Place Time Team
1ST 4.5 Speed Williams/Brad Culpepper
2nd 4.6 Wade Wheatley/Corey Petska
3rd 4.7 (3-Way Tie) Nick Sartain/Richard Durham
Phillip McCoy/J.W. Beck
David Key/Kory Koontz
2nd ROUND STANDINGS
Place Time Team
1st 4.0 Wade Wheatley/Britt Bockius
2nd 4.5 (2-Way Tie) Joel Maeker/Coleman Proctor
Carmish Jennings/Cody Cowden
3rd 4.9 (3-Way Tie) Tanner Bryson/Walt Woodward
Justin Davis/B.J. Dugger
Dustin Buchanan/Stephen Britnell