Classic Rope is proud to provide you with the highest-quality ropes on the market. We value every rope we build and we want them to last as long as possible. Below, find some of our tips and tricks for seasonal changes, rope storage and how to increase the longevity of your Classic Rope.
In the past, you may have noticed some differences in the feel of your ropes depending on the weather. Weather changes can tighten or relax the fibers in your rope based on temperature. To adjust for this, our ropes are manufactured based on the season to ensure consistency in feel and quality. All that is necessary on your end is to purchase your ropes seasonally and store them at room temperature for best-keeping.
Though you may not realize it at first, how you store your ropes makes a big difference in how they feel and how long they last. Classic has a large selection of rope bags available to fit your specific needs. New in 2019, the Super Deluxe Rope bag has enclosed and padded rope compartments to keep up to nine ropes separated and tidy. Along with the rope compartment, the front zipper pocket stores gloves, rubber, your phone and whatever else you can fit.
Coil your ropes as big as you can and place the hondas on top in the correct position. Avoid overfilling your rope bag, as this can cause unnecessary pressure on the eyes (causing them to turn), as well as causing coils to bend or kink. As mentioned above, store your ropes in a cool, dry place at room temperature for best results.
3. Breaking in Your Rope
When a rope is first used, the fibers are stretched and pulled apart, causing your rope to soften. After roping two to three steers, your new rope should be coiled up and left to rest for 24-hours. This time allows the rope’s fibers to return to position and set the molecules within fibers, giving the rope strength. Roping too many steers with a new rope over-stresses the fibers, prohibiting them to take a set. This break down of fibers is what causes the rope to lose its body and feel. By simply allowing your rope to rest, you increase the longevity of your purchase.
We hope these tips and tricks help you get the most out of your Classic rope! It is important to us to provide the best quality ropes on the market and we believe these tips will help you keep your ropes in top condition.
Feel free to visit ClassicRope.com to read more about our ropes, our history, our other products and the sport of team roping.
The 2018 NFR felt a little like a first-time qualification for Derrick Begay, treating each run like it’s the first and last has been the mantra surrounding him. Derrick is competing as fierce as ever, but this year is different. Grateful for the opportunity back, Derrick’s perspective on the NFR and life in general has evolved more than ever.
“The past couple years in December hasn’t been too fun watching from home. Once I got here, [Vegas] it was exciting. Even knowing the routine from being here before, this year I may have been more nervous than I’ve ever been. Even a month out I was thinking about it. I hope I make it again, but I’m trying to cherish every moment while I’m here. Being able to rodeo and be at home has been a dream, but I realize it’s rare to accomplish.”
Though the WNFR may have not gone exactly the way they wanted, Begay and Petska have competed extremely well and struck three go round wins (3rd round, 7th, and 9th). No matter the outcome, Begay trusts it’s part of the Greater Plan.
“There are two steers in my career I wish I could have back and they both were with Cory. One is from the 2014 George Strait short round where I came back high call and one from the 6th round [2018 NFR], the round was easy, and I was at the bottom of the draw. But I believe there was a reason I missed them, I think there were lessons to be learned or maybe it was to make me stronger. You can ask why, or how come, but the truth is we’ll never know why those things happen.”
2018 had more than its fair share of ups and downs for Begay, but with the bad always came some good. One example was being able to be home for the majority of the rodeo season and getting wins with a great partner [Cory Petska] when they needed to, which is what Begay considers “the best of both worlds”. They didn’t even start rodeoing hard until after the fourth of July, and rodeoed almost solely on his one sorrel horse, Swagger, whom he has owned since 2007 and credits his qualification to. The NFR was never really part of the plan for 2018, but the fun part about the year was it happened.
“I’m sure enjoying it. Although I get here, and I realize I’m not doing anything much different than usual. It’s always been a dream and what I’ve come to find out is it’s a very hard one to have come true. It’s very rare to find yourself in the Top 15 of the world standings, especially under the circumstances of our rodeo season this year. I think before I took that part for granted. It gives me confidence, I got to thinking the other day, I must be okay if I made it here, but on the other hand if I can do it…anyone can!”
Begay credits a lot of his maturity of competing to his former partner, the Champ, Clay O’Brien Cooper.
“Champ has a big perspective. He doesn’t ride the highs and lows, he believes he is supposed to win what he is supposed to win and leaves it at that.”
Those that know Derrick well know he is not the evangelical type, not the loudest in the crowd, but know his relationship with his family and foundation in his faith is strong. In a sport that is evolving at what seems the speed of light with faster times, higher fees, and higher-tech equipment, it’s easy to get caught up in the wins, losses and qualifications. It’s easy to lose sight of what the real purpose of the sport is; to honor and celebrate the western way of life and enjoy a sport we are fortunate enough to participate in. Team Roping is something he loves and enjoys, but certainly does not define who he is.
“I want to rodeo and jackpot and be involved for the rest of my life. I’m addicted to competition and that’s something that isn’t ever going away. But as far as the level I’m competing at, I’m not worried about it, whatever comes my way will come. My career is being a cowboy, being around horses, tending to cattle and living the western lifestyle. Plus, I’m always looking for opportunities that go along with it, including the NFR.”
As for Derrick’s future, there are no plans to quit competing anytime soon.
“I’m sitting back and waiting to do whatever he calls on. I’m trusting God more than ever at this point in my life. He knows what I want to do even more so than I do, so whatever he brings I am trusting. I never have prayed to win or to draw the steer I want. I only pray for good health, happiness, and protection and only those things can come from him. It’s always an easier decision to be a bad guy, it takes work to be good and that’s what I’m getting guidance on and working towards every day.”
The NFR is the summit of accomplishment and emotion for everyone who covets the western way of life. Contestants’ wildest dreams both come true in the yellow arena and can also be crushed within seconds. It’s the heartbeat of the western industry pumping life into every artery and vessel associated. In the ten long days of fast-paced craziness, under the bright lights and thumping beats of Las Vegas, it’s nice to be reminded to step back, take a deep breath, and be in the moment. Something we can all learn from Derrick Begay, because after all, life is a series of moments that come and pass, never to be recreated.
We want to wish Derrick and Cory and all the team roping contestants the best of luck in 10th round of the 2018 NFR. We’ve enjoyed watching you compete and live out your dreams and leave you with this bit of wisdom from the article subject himself.
“Life and rodeo are all a journey. When seeking guidance, lay down a prayer. Look out for the opportunities that will be presented some will be good, but also be aware of the bad. Be quiet and listen and you’ll know where you’re being led.” – Derrick Begay
Innovation and leadership are at the core of Classic Rope’s DNA. Since 1986, Classic Rope has pursued to technologically advance the team rope to improve quality, feel, and performance, helping ropers compete and reach their greatest potential.
Classic ropes are individually made to order using the latest blends of high tech nylon and polyester fibers. We take great pride in our superior craftsmanship and competitive edge our ropes offer the athletes that use them. Innovation is a catalyst for improving the way we do business and an opportunity that’s been integrated with every phase of the rope production process. We are committed to making the sport better for all ropers with investments in associations, events, and clinics to spur positive changes and advancements benefiting ropers around the globe.
Evolution of Classic Rope
Beginning as a small start-up shop in Granbury, TX with a humble launch in the late 80’s, we recognized early on an opportunity within the fragmented rope production market. Most team ropes in that period were “coil ropes” and the majority of the 32 rope companies operating at that time bought rope from an industrial rope manufacturer and made 600-foot, pre-waxed, nylon strand coil ropes. These coils had to be solar aged for a year or longer until they were suitable for competition. After the ropes had cured, rope companies branded them and sold them as their own. Ropers had to shop locally from either a roper that had a distributorship or at regional team roping events. Ropes were not carried in stores like today, and there was not a variety of selection.
Classic ropes were made differently from the beginning by using horizontal machines to make ropes in specific, ready-to-tie lengths. They were spun before they were waxed leaving the rope with a crisp, fast feel that set the rope’s memory and body overnight literally taking an entire year of sun curing out of the equation. Classic ropes were tied within days of being made and could be used immediately. The first Classic Rope was the Classic Gold, a neutral colored nylon rope.
The Money Maker
An early turning point for Classic Rope was the creation of the Money Maker in 1987. After an opportunity to try some overrun polyester from a supplier, it was spooled into a rope, and after rigorous tweaking and testing, the Money Maker was born. It was the first nylon/poly rope on the market and the first rope that wasn’t a neutral tone having a green hue. The Money Maker was revolutionary not only because of its unique color, but because when the poly was added to the nylon, it allowed for the rope to have a smaller diameter, but kept a good weight. The poly also deadened the nylon, so the Money Maker had more tip weight, resulting in an overall more user-friendly, balanced rope providing a never-before-felt “feel” which quickly became the preference of professionals and amateur ropers alike.
The Sport of Team Roping
The landscape of team roping in the 1980’s looked vastly different than it does today and was not an organized sport. Pockets of team ropers across the country competed in grass root/ backyard events. There was no unifying association or classification system, so most of the events were “open” to anyone who wanted to enter. Depending on geographic location, some jackpots had open, junior or senior mixed (team must include a woman or youth), and 40+ divisions. If ropings had a handicap system, it was based solely on opinion and could vary greatly from region to region. Team roping was offered at rodeos, but not always, and rodeos were not required to add equal money to the purse of the event. During this time, we did see the production of major jackpot events geared toward the now classified, “open roper”, at the likes of the Bob Feist Invitational and the George Strait Team Roping Classic. While new events offered a great opportunity for the professionals, there was a major void for a place for the amateur and beginning roper to compete, therefore the overall number of active ropers across the nation was low and a direct correlation of the lack of opportunity.
This made a high demand for a unifying team roping association, which resulted in the formation of the United States Team Roping Championships in 1989. The USTRC implemented a revolutionary classification system providing an opportunity to every roper at any skill level or age to compete against likely skill leveled competitors, changing the sport forever. We saw the growth opportunity the USTRC was offering the sport of team roping and jumped at the chance to get behind the organization in form of sponsorship. In addition to the sponsorship of the USTRC, we started marketing our ropes to the consumer through ads in publications like the Pro Rodeo Sports News and Roper Sports News. Not only were we pioneers in event sponsorship, we took to investing in professional team roping endorsers and were the first to put a “patch” on professionals. We were also the first to utilize tail tags as a branding tool indicating the type, length, and lay of each specific rope opposed to other rope companies’ methods of handwritten information on rope burners.
As the sport grew, the roping population exploded. Events began to pay more money, competition became tougher, and the times and setups got faster. Professional ropers now had the opportunity to make additional income by instructing roping clinics across the United States and even abroad. We continued to grow our investment and started taking our ropes to markets and trade shows, and over time, store owners began to stock our ropes, increasing overall availability nationwide. Team roping today as a sport makes up the largest demographic within the western industry, resulting in the advancement of our technology, manufacturing processes, machinery, and equipment. We have changed how we made our ropes to accommodate ropers’ requests for preference in feel, body, rope size, and tip weight.
In 1996 Rattler Rope become a sister company to Classic Rope. Investments in new machinery and technology in 1997 allowed for the production process of raw fiber, giving us complete control of every step in the rope making process. For over two decades, we have dedicated ourselves to mastering the art of raw fiber conversions and pride ourselves in being innovators of design and technology.
Technology and Growth
Guidance was sought from outside engineers to improve machines and ensure accuracy and precise specifications needed for each rope’s feel and performance. Ken Bray (CEO), Craig Bray (Chief Operations Officer), George McQuain (Rope Production Manager), and Dallas Clay (Fiber Production Manager) were instrumental in researching and testing nylon and polyester fibers twisted in various styles of construction and makeup to accommodate different needs for styles and performance. Ropes are about feel, which is difficult to learn and teach. Craig, George, and Dallas were making ropes in the early years, and today are invaluable to this process. They have been with the company since the beginning and to put simply- have an amazing feel for ropes. See George and Craig here presenting the new NXT4 and NXT5 last year to our expectant pros. Each new product is tested in every climate, every situation, to make necessary adjustments needed to ensure performance in any season and at all levels of competition.
Classic Rope Shop Talk – what makes our different?
Programmable Logic Controller (PLC)– people run it; makes the machine the most consistent on the market
Human Machine Interface (HMI)- people watch it; enables the operator to receive messages informing of any inconsistencies that might come up
Operator Interface Terminal (OIT)– people adjust it; touchscreen allows the operator to adjust the rope tension by a simple touch of a button
Variable Frequency Drives (VFD)– people quality check; plays an important part in fine-tuning the machine
Human Engineered– uses people direct drive gearboxes instead of conventional style
New high technology fibers used in other textile industries were tested and implemented to designs giving ropes an enhanced “sweet spot” in the loop making for an easier, faster, balanced, stable, and smoother swing.
You can expect a Classic rope to be:
Help you reach further
Feel the tip better
Improve the accuracy of delivery
Open to the target
Close fast to prevent wave offs
Have guided tip delivery
A weighted bottom strand that goes to the ground in front of the feet
In 1998 the XR4 was introduced with the patented designed CoreTech™ technology. This was the first nylon four strand team rope with a core. The Powerline Lite followed in 2000 and was the first poly/nylon blended rope with a core and was followed by a series of new ropes, each one different from the next, not only by color but by material make and fiber blend. At our core, is vowing that every new rope introduced is always uniquely different from all the others and fits a specific need for feel and roping style.
Restoration and Expansion
As the western industry grew and flourished, Classic Rope and Rattler Rope followed suit. The Highway 51 rope production facility in Granbury would be added onto nine times before a tragic fire would burn it to the ground early in the morning on November 30, 2015. The fire would be recorded as one of the largest in Hood County history and despite the valiant efforts of firefighters, everything was destroyed. As ashes were still smoldering, plans were made to rebuild immediately. All employees of the facility were promised no loss in pay over the holiday season and immediately began the clean-up. The results of the investigation of the start of the fire were deemed inconclusive.
After only seven months, rope production commenced in a temporary facility and construction on the new, state of the art, climate-controlled, rope production facility would begin in the new location of Stephenville, TX. Mid summer 2016, we were able to produce only Heat’s and GT4’s for the first time. The new, 98,000 sq. ft. ‘rope shop’ would be fully operational by Fall of 2017. Under the leadership of Craig, Ken, George, and Dallas; 53 employees can produce 34 different types, blends, and fiber constructions used in the 1,800-2,000 ropes made each day.
More so than production, Classic Rope has invested in and supported the industry to not only grow in the United States but to expand team roping and the western industry globally. It has been our greatest honor to have had a hand in helping clinicians, team roping producers, junior rodeo, and team roping associations grow to what they are today. The youth is the industry’s future. Together with our sponsored associations, employees, ambassadors, and clinician partners- we encourage kids to get involved and active with a horse early on, helping them realize their full potential.
More valuable than our ropes are the hands that make them. We are a unique group of individuals actively involved in the sport and with horses, daily. We are a team of driven individuals, more dedicated and passionate about the industry than you can find anywhere else with the united belief that everything we do today, can be improved upon tomorrow. This philosophy runs deep throughout our culture and our desire to improve and advance our technology is what keeps us on top.
We are leaders. We are innovators. We are competitors. We are Classic.
We would like to thank you, our valued customers, for trusting us. It is through your success, we love to make ropes.
Smith and Johnson win $16K, first-ever Hooey Junior BFI
Stewart and Schmidt take #10 championship
RENO, Nev. (June 22, 2018) – The youngest brother of world No. 1 header Clay Smith joined forces with the middle son of world champion heeler Jhett Johnson on June 20 to win the first-ever Open Hooey Junior BFI Championships in Reno by three full seconds.
The inaugural youth event was patterned after the 41st Bob Feist Invitational, held just two days earlier in conjunction with the $500,000 Reno Rodeo, and was formatted to also be a Junior NFR Qualifier with extra points. To that end, there were two ropings – the Open Junior BFI and a #10 Junior BFI, which limited classifications to #6-Elite and under.
Youth rodeo is building momentum, and parents from across the country hauled their kids to the Hooey Junior BFI in search of bragging rights and Junior NFR points. The top 15 in the point standings at season’s end will qualify to rope at the Junior NFR, held in December in Las Vegas alongside the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
In Reno, contestants in both ropings had to be 17 or younger this year and could enter twice, with teams limited to 50, at entry fees of $500 per roper. The kids roped in the same venue as their heroes, for a similar prizeline.
“What an opportunity for the next generation to compete on the same playing field as all the roping legends before them!” said Joey Austin, president of Hooey Brands. “Hooey looks forward to helping build this Junior BFI into the premier team roping title for young talent.”
Britt Smith, 17, of Broken Bow, Oklahoma, and Carson Johnson, 17, of Casper, Wyoming, roped four steers in 28.13 seconds for the Open win, earning $8,350 and $8,400, respectively, on the day. In addition, they went home with similar Cactus saddles, Montana Silversmiths buckles, Yeti coolers, Heel-O-Matic dummies and other prizes also awarded to the BFI champs.
Smith, a 7 header, and Johnson, an 8-Elite heeler, were the high callback team in the roping at 20.56 seconds on three. They’d need nothing more than a 10.6-second run to win the roping, so when the pair came tight in 7.57, it marked the biggest win of Johnson’s young career. His total earnings with both partners came to $8,400 cash, while Smith took home $8,350.
“It’s amazing they put on something this cool, just like the BFI,” Johnson said. “And trying to get ready for it was so fun.”
Johnson grew up watching his father, Jhett, compete at the BFI and even finish in the top three a couple of times. The 2011 world champ was on hand with some words of wisdom for his son.
“Dad just said heel them when they’re ready to be heeled, and do your job,” Carson said.
It’s been a good two weeks for the Johnsons – Carson’s older brother Kellan recently won the national collegiate team roping title in Johnsons’ hometown of Casper. When Carson turns 18 next year, he hopes to enter rodeos with Kellan.
Similarly, Smith hopes next year when he turns 18 to begin entering rodeos with his brother Jake. The Smith boys were born in the 1990s and named after three of that era’s greatest team ropers – Jake Barnes, Clay O’Brien Cooper, and Britt Bockius.
“I’d love to enter the BFI myself in a year or two,” said Britt Smith. “I can remember since I was little bitty, I’d watch BFI videos until I fell asleep at night. You can play the same one over and over and always catch something new.”
Smith, a four-time world champion dummy roper, wasn’t born yet in 1999 when his brothers were invited onto the Tonight Show to display their roping skills for Jay Leno.
“I get plenty of help,” Britt said. “I kind of like to hunt and fish, and my brothers just rope, rope, rope.”
Both brothers were there in Reno to watch, and were the first to congratulate young Britt. After high school, he plans to join his brothers in the family business of selling rope horses via their site, www.JakeClayBritt.com. They sold 80 horses last year, he said.
In the limited-classification Hooey Junior BFI #10 roping, a pair of 14-year-olds took top honors and a 10-year-old header placed in the top five. Jett Stewart of Heppner, Oregon, and Brayden Schmidt of Benton City, Washington, roped four steers in 33.39 seconds to earn their own $15,000 by a full second over the second-place team from Wyoming.
Jett, the son of NFR header Jason Stewart, and Brayden, the son of top Northwest heeler Will Schmidt, have been roping the dummy together since they were tiny kids, while their fathers roped at rodeos. Both will be high-school freshmen this fall.
First Round: 1. Britt Smith and Carson Johnson, 6.3 seconds, $600; 2. Cutter Machado and Cody Stewart, 6.96, $400; Second Round: 1. Kal Fuller and Carson Johnson, 5.34 seconds, $600; 2. Hayden Powell and John Hisel, 6.79, $400; Third Round: 1. Britt Smith and Carson Johnson, 5.85, $600; 2. Jayse Tettenhorst and Kaden Profili, 6.31, $400; Short Round: 1. Britt Smith and Kayden Little, 6.92, $500. Average: 1. Britt Smith and Carson Johnson, 28.13, $15,000; 2. Peyton Walters and Kaden Profili, 31.18, $10,000; 3. Cutter Machado and Jake Bourdet, 31.88, $4,000; 4. Britt Smith and Kayden Little, 32.85, $3,000; 5. Hagen Peterson and Braydin Evans, 33.10, $1,000; 6. Cole Eiguren and Breck Ward, 39.13, $1,000.
Complete Results from the Hooey Junior BFI #10:
First Round: 1. Cole Bunting and Cody Stewart, 7.91 seconds, $1,000; 2. Jett Stewart and Cody Stewart, 8.3, $800; Second Round: 1. Lilla Bell and Tanner Darst, 6.29 seconds, $1,000; 2. Chase Helton and Clayton Moore, 7.0, $800; Third Round: 1. Cole Bunting and Tanner Darst, 6.47, $1,000; 2. Clay Regner and Manuel Sanchez, 6.68, $800; Short Round: 1. Kaleb Heimburg and Jayse Tettenhorst, 8.0 seconds, $1,000. Average: 1. Jett Stewart and Brayden Schmidt, 33.39 seconds, $15,000; 2. Weston Mills and Arye Espenscheid, 34.49, $10,000; 3. Dillon Ishman and Spud Denmark, 36.27, $5,000; 4. Kaleb Heimburg and Jayse Tettenhorst, 38.55, $3,000; 5. Rance Winters and Zane Pratt, 39.70, $2,000; 6. Trent Lee Wood and John Hisel, 40.00, $1,000.
The new year means new designs and improvements! Replace your dusty rope bag and start the year with style. When you look good, you do good.
New Basic Rope Bag Colors- Check/Royal Blue, Hashtag/Chocolate, Teal/Chocolate, Check/Black. Holds up four ropes with outside pocket. MSRP $59.99
New and improved Deluxe Rope Bag with improved size width and depth, holds up to nine ropes with more pockets and straps for convenience: Hashtag/Chocolate, Check/Red, Check/Teal, Royal/Black. MSRP $89.99.
The Super Deluxe Rope Bag is for those who need it all we have added Hashtag/Chocolate and Black/Check. This bag can be carried as a backpack or sling over your shoulder. Holds up to nine ropes. MSRP $99.99.
The Junior Rope Bag is perfect for young competitors but large enough for adult ropes. Holds up to four with pockets on front. Now comes in Black/Teal and Check/Red! MSRP $52.99.
The Kid Rope Bag keeps all the little cowboy and cowgirl’s stuff together in one place at the dummy or goat roping! Holds up to three small kid ropes with adjustable padded backpack straps. MSRP $21.99.
As always, Classic Rope products can be purchased at your favorite Classic dealer! Don’t have one? Find one near you on our website dealer locator.
We could not be more excited to announce that after a year of hard work and perseverance, we are proud to say that we will be expanding our inventory to complete our rope line. The MoneyMaker®, Classic Gold®, XR4®, GT4™ 35′, Striker™, Viper™, Jr. MoneyMaker®, Zoom™, and RK4™ are now back to production. Quantities are limited, but we are working tirelessly to get inventory built back up! We want to thank our employees for their countless hours of hard work in the restoration process, and our customers and dealers for the utmost patience and loyalty.
The team roping line is now complete!
The MoneyMaker is in a class of it’s own. The first blended rope and most popular three-strand earned its reputation thanks to a heavier body, less bounce, and a more consistent feel.
No other rope is more proven than the original Classic Gold. Its first-grade nylon construction has a fast feel that still provides quickness and consistency.
The “true” XR4is back and is the original four strand team rope with a core. Increased weight and body enables better tip feel and helps the delivery become more accurate.
The Rattler GT4 35’ “true” is the four strand rope with lots of body, that is optimal for consistency and staying open.
With the Xtreme being our first kid rope released, we are happy to say that the Zoom™, RK4™, and Jr MoneyMaker® are back!
The Zoom Kid Rope rope is designed for young ropers or serious dummy roping competitors and is optimal for long reaching loops. The Zoom is slightly smaller, with the same four-strand Coretech™ used in the regular team ropes.
The junior version of the Classic MoneyMaker, the Jr. MoneyMaker has the same fast, smooth, easy handle feel at a convenient smaller size optimal for junior ropers.
The Rattler RK4 is the most technologically advanced kid rope on the market. The four strands of poly around the Coretech™ core provides a better tip feel with more body which is advantageous to young ropers developing their swing. Assorted colors available.
As we mentioned above, we are working as fast as we can to get inventory built back up, so we are asking once again for patience as we get your local dealer’s inventory. To take a look back at our journey that has brought us to this point since please visit http://www.equibrand.com/firestorm/!
And just like that, the 2016 National Finals Rodeo is over. 2016 was quite a year, to say it was filled with trials and triumph is an understatement!
Last year at this exact time, we were picking up the pieces of what was left of the devastating fire we had in November 2015.
It wasn’t until June on the Monday of the BFI that we shipped out our first shipment of ropes, and the rebuilding process has just been that…a process. First and foremost, we can’t say enough about our employees that live and breathe the sport and have put their all into creating what we are confident is an even better product than we had before. We also must extend our gratitude to all of our retailer stores and customers who have been loyal through this whole ordeal. With that being said, there was a silver lining to the past 12 months. At the 2016 NFR, Classic and Rattler brands had the most team members competing with our ropes in our history with a total of 22! It is very humbling knowing our product helped 22 of the best ropers in the world compete on the biggest stage in rodeo.
Our team celebrated three World Champions; Levi Simpson, Jeremy Buhler, and Junior Nogueira. This arguably was one of the toughest, most competitive 10 days we have ever witnessed in NFR history. This year’s title came down to a one header.
Levi and Jeremy made history before the first round even began as the first all-Canadian team to ever qualify to the NFR. They wrote their own page in the history books after Round 10 becoming the first all-Canadian PRCA World Champions. This first-time qualifying team was on the bubble to even have a chance at Vegas, they came in 14th and unless you consistently keep up with team roping or the Canadian Finals, you may not have heard of them at all. Canada doesn’t always have the most conducive conditions for roping. The winters are harsh, the majority of the rodeos do not offer equal money for team ropers, and some of the biggest rodeos don’t have team roping at all. There is a lot to be said about this team’s achievement.
Another one making history was Junior Nogueira. He came into the finals leading the All-Around standings, but had to battle it out all 10 rounds before it was clenched. Junior was the first Brazilian roper to ever qualify to the National Finals Rodeo with veteran champ, Jake Barnes. He has been breaking records ever since, now etching his name on the coveted list of All-Around Champions, the most prestigious award in rodeo.
We couldn’t be more proud of our entire team for everything they accomplished. Shay Carroll got his first round win with Kolton Schmidt, Luke Brown competed at his 9th consecutive NFR and roped outstanding, and Dugan Kelly surpassed the $1M lifetime earnings mark roping with Cody Snow at his first NFR outing.We’re excited for what 2017 has in store!
After five rounds of team roping action at the 2016 National Finals Rodeo, this year is proving to be as exciting and suspenseful as we all thought it would be. The 2016 team roping field is a well rounded mix of veterans and fresh faces competing under the bright lights.
One team in particular that is catching everyone’s attention is Levi Simpson and Jeremy Buhler. If you didn’t know these Canadians before, you do now. They came out guns blazing in Round 1 winning on their first steer they ever ran in the Thomas and Mack. They also are the first all Canadian team to ever qualify in NFR team roping history. They cinched their second round win last night splitting it with Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira with a 4.00. The pay out ended up at $23,481 a man. If you can believe it, this was Junior Nogueira’s first round win on his 25th steer at the NFR.
We caught up with Levi and Jeremy after the rodeo. This road to the NFR has been a long time coming. They both rope outstanding and have more than earned their place here. Levi won the Canadian Finals Championship in 2011 and 2014. Jeremy started roping later than most do in the sport, and at 17-18 years old he was a #4 heeler. What a testament to hard work pays off. 2009 was a turning point in Jeremy’s career when he won $109,000 at the World Series Finale in Las Vegas when he was in college. What made it even more special was it was with fellow Canadian Classic team member and his brother, Clint Buhler. Needless to say Las Vegas has been good to Jeremy. We asked Jeremy how the NFR compared to that once in a lifetime win:
“It was different then because I was so broke and it was so special because it was with my brother. We had grinded so hard in the practice pen to get to that point and to get some luck at that deal and win that amount of money was life changing. This is special because it is every little kid’s dream. We have practiced so hard and it feels great to be here.”
Jeremy has been getting a lot of limelight and is frequently accompanied with the #FearTheBeard tagline for obvious reasons. Major league baseball has Dallas Keuchel, the NBA has James Harden, and now team roping has Jeremy Buhler! But what hasn’t been as talked about and should be is his horsemanship, there is a lot more to Jeremy than just the beard. He trains and owns great horses. He has ridden his dunn gelding Rick James all five rounds and also owns a great bay horse he calls “Fabbio”, who he rode all summer. He is also very involved with the Canadian rope horse futurities, rode and trained this year’s Northland’s Canadian Rope Horse Futurity Champion “Alabama Twix”. Safe to say this NFR isn’t the last time you will hear the name, Jeremy Buhler. He’s just getting started.
We don’t want to neglect his partner Levi Simpson, he doesn’t officially have a hashtag yet, but he definitely has a baby face….this could start a trend. Levi is your all around family man. He and his wife, Rebecca, have a 10 month old daughter named Annie, and while time apart and a year on the road was a grind, the finals has proved it was worth it. We asked Levi what his favorite part of the South Point stage was:
“Most of the time I like the interview and talking, the first time I was on Flint’s stage I was nervous. I haven’t been that nervous in a long time, but he didn’t give us too hard of a time. Last night was fun because we were able to keep Annie awake the whole time. She played with bull rider’s Scottie Knapp’s little girl who is just a couple months older and it was fun.”
Levi and Jeremy have won $66,058 so far at the halfway point and are 7th in the average. Junior has won $51, 250 and is second in the average. We are proud of the Classic team and are excited for the next 5 rounds!
Seven Months after devastating fire, Classic and Rattler Ropes are back producing
After nearly seven months of rebuilding what was left of the rope factory burnt to ashes, Classic and Rattler ropes took rope orders from retail partners for the first time on Monday, June 20.
On Nov. 30, 2015 at 4:00 a.m. a fire started and destroyed the 70,000-square-foot rope manufacturing facility despite the efforts of nearly 50 firefighters. The fire goes on record as being one of the largest in Hood County’s history and thankfully there were no injuries. While the ashes were still smoldering, plans were implemented for the rebuilding process. All 74 employees of the facility were promised no loss in wages, and the mass clean up began. After a thorough investigation of what started fire, the Hood County Fire Marshall deemed the results inconclusive.
By January of 2016, string and fiber production commenced in the only structure on the property that did not burn and shortly after, the fabrication team began working on the production of the first and only ones of its kind rope machines. At the end of March, down from the count of eight, two machines were fully operational and prototypes were developed and tested by a select group of professional ropers. Even through this devastating castrophe, Equibrand is very thankful for the support of the consumers, retailers, professionals, and industry partners.
Ken Bray, CEO of Equibrand, said, “We are humbled by the outpouring of support from our customers and industry partners. We understand our responsibility is to exceed expectation.”
On Monday, June 20, 2016 the first rope orders to retail partners were made for the first time since the fire. Quantities and selection of only Heats and GT4’s were limited at time of purchase. The machines are running day and night to get production back up and crews are working tirelessly to get the remaining machines built to get stock back in every rope. This is just the first phase of the Firestorm.
Equibrand is a holding company for several premium branded products in the western performances equestrian industry.
Early morning November 30, 2015 a fire broke out at Classic Rope, Rattler Rope and Classic Equine manufacturing facility on Highway 51 in Granbury, Texas. The fire spread rapidly despite the hard fought efforts of more than 50 firefighters. The flames burned throughout the day, and the fire was not extinguished until some 12 hours later.
Control of the blaze was complicated by manufacturing materials involved in the burn, including high quantities of nylon, polyester, and other flammables which produced intense heat and resisted normal firefighting practices.
There were no injuries associated with the blaze, but by the evening, the 70,000 square foot location that produced ropes, string, and saddle pads for over 29 years and employed over 80 employees was reduced to smoldering rubble. The cause of the fire which appeared to have started at or near a maintenance building is unknown.
News of the fire spread quickly across the country throughout the day, sending shock waves to both retailers and consumers. The facility was the epicenter for rope production, turning out 1,800 to 2,000 Classic and Rattler Ropes daily, which accounts for at least 50% of the market for team ropers and calf ropers around the world.
The facility housed all the fiber production used in the manufacturing of ropes and piggin’ strings as well as served as the production nucleus for all Classic Equine saddle pad production, as well as other Classic Equine products.
Equibrands’s CEO, Ken Bray weighed in on the destruction and what it means.
“First, we are the most thankful that no one was injured and no one was in the building at the time the fire started. Second, the outpouring and demonstrated support from the entire western industry has been overwhelming. Local businesses and friends have come forward to offer aid in everything from clean-up services, breakfast for employees, to warehouse space and office equipment. We are grateful to be a part of such a supportive community.”
Bray explained that an action plan for rebuilding was in place even before the flames had died out. Thanks to a solid crises management plan, the continued care and financial support for employees will be in place throughout the rebuilding process.
“At Equibrand, we are like family, and taking care of our people is very important to us. The focus now, is on taking care of our dealers and our customers. The building and its contents can be replaced, but what’s most important is getting things back up and running as soon as possible to service those retailers that depend on our products and to keep our customers supplied with the products they depend on.”
Classic Equine saddle pad production is anticipated to be up and running by the end of January. Plans are being finalized, custom tools are being fabricated, and our skilled team with unwavering leadership are laying the ground work for a new state of the art rope facility. We are rebuilding to be better and stronger than ever.
“Our products are the trade tools of the sport, from the weekend roper to our professional team of ambassadors that make a living with them, we want them to know this team is working tirelessly to regroup, restore, and rebuild in an effort to meet their product demands as soon as possible.”