BFI gets new players, sponsors

New talent will join the world’s best team ropers in Reno, Nev., on June 22 for the 38th Annual Bob Feist Invitational, held in conjunction with the Reno (Nev.) Rodeo, June 19-27.
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New talent will join the world’s best team ropers in Reno, Nev., on June 22 for the 38th Annual Bob Feist Invitational, held in conjunction with the Reno (Nev.) Rodeo, June 19-27.

New talent will join the world’s best team ropers in Reno, Nev., on June 22 for the 38th Annual Bob Feist Invitational, held in conjunction with the Reno (Nev.) Rodeo, June 19-27.

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The industry’s richest one-day Open roping accepts just 100 entries at $5,000 per team. Competitors must give fresh steers an 18-foot head start, making the BFI one of the most challenging ropings of the year. But it’s also one of the most lucrative. Cash and prizes in 2015 will come to nearly $800,000 thanks to a sponsor roster that includes new partners RFD-TV, Total Equine, Brook Ledge Horse Transportation and Kovac Rodeo Equipment.

The 2015 BFI roster includes a record 18 first-timers, including 2014 PRCA Rookie Header of the Year Rhett Anderson. Other young stars who will try their luck in the Reno Livestock Events Center include a couple of 20-year-old standouts. Daniel Braman will heel for 1995 BFI champion Rube Woolsey and Trey Yates will try to improve on his fifth-place finish from last year with his father, 2010 BFI champ J.D. Yates.

They’ll be going up against the best of the BFI, including three former champs who have never missed a BFI since 1977 – Denny Watkins, Mike Beers and Allen Bach. Fans can also expect to see several elite ropers who hardly surface anymore, including the likes of Randon Adams, Richard Durham, Boogie Ray and Bobby Harris.

“I’m hoping this is the year,” said returning veteran Joe Roderick of Loma, Colo., who will heel for Travis Bounds. Roderick had been roping at the BFI since 1993 until oilfield work prevented him from entering for several years. “When you’ve been team roping as long as I have, one of your dreams is to win the BFI.”

Fans will also delight in pairings they’ve never seen at the BFI, such as seven-time world champion Clay O’Brien Cooper heeling for six-time NFR header Derrick Begay. BFI organizers are hoping Cooper’s former BFI co-champion, Rich Skelton (the second-highest earning roper through all 38 BFIs), will make a full recovery following a mid-May traffic accident.

2015 BFI action kicks off at 8 a.m. on June 22. To book rooms at the official BFI headquarters hotel, call the Silver Legacy Hotel & Casino at (800) 687-8733 and use code BFI15 for discounted rates. Also, Heel-O-Matic, the Reno Rodeo and the BFI will present the four-head Reno Rodeo Junior Roping Challenge for kids under 12 on Sunday at 9 a.m. in the Livestock Events Center. The dummy contest kicks off just before the RRI Team Roping Pro-Am. On Sunday evening, fans at the BFI Cowboy Auction and Dinner at the Silver Legacy can also bid on a framed print by the late, great David Stoecklein.

To see the complete BFI contestant list and for ticket information, visit BobFeistInvitational.com, and be sure to like Facebook.com/BobFeistInvitational. On June 22, visit BFILive.com for round-by-round results of the action, and to shop DVDs and apparel.