When Texans Wesley Mucha and Eric Randle came tight in the Bloomer Trailer #10 Finale IX they pocketed $304,000 and it set a new record as the richest single roping in the history of the event—breaking the record set the previous year by Wyoming team ropers Mike Grant and Harold Bumguardner, who took home $255,000 from the #12 at Finale VIII.
Mucha and Randle had only known each other four months prior to their win, but teaming up to acquire more than a quarter million will really strengthen a bond.
“I think he’s my new best friend,” said Mucha as they claimed their Las Vegas paycheck. They’ve since collected even more—most recently finishing third in the #11 Super Qualifier in Hamilton, Texas, worth $14,370.
“We’ve only practiced together three times and we’ve won $340,000,” said Mucha. “We practiced once before Vegas, once early this summer and once here recently.”
At Finale IX the team had fallen from the front of the pack to sixth call back when Randle slipped a leg on the third steer.
“I still can’t believe we won the largest check in the history of team roping with a leg,” said Randle.
Ironically, Mucha and Randle both made it to the short round second call back in other ropings—Mucha in the #11 Finale where his heeler missed.
“I had to get over that just as soon as I rode out of the pen. You can’t dwell on that stuff. You have to go at each run, you can’t let that pressure get to you.”
Randle came back second call back in the #9 Finale but missed.
“It was the prettiest miss I’ve ever seen,” laughed Randle. “I know it’s weird, but I have the picture hanging in my living room. People can’t believe it’s a miss.”
Wesley Mucha resides in Rogers, Texas, between Waco and Austin, where he runs his own mechanic shop, Wes’s Auto Clinic.
“I kind of followed in my dad’s footsteps. He was a mechanic and a farmer. I farm on the side too. We have about 40 acres. We raise mainly wheat, corn and oats and run some cows.”
Mucha and his wife, Debbie, have two kids, son, Ryan, 11, and daughter, Nicole, 9.
As a kid Mucha’s dad roped some and introduced him to the sport.
“When I was about 13 I started roping. We’d go to the local jackpots and rope the dummy at home. I roped in high school rodeo and made it the state finals, but the following year I kind of quit and went to work. I didn’t have the money and decided it was best to start making a living first. I stepped away from it for about 15 years and started back in 2009 and it just kind of took off.”
Mucha had purchased a horse that looked like a “bag of bones,” but he was the best thing that could have happened.
“I got this horse I called Rocket. He was 19 and looked terrible, but he was so fast and we just clicked. So I started going again and I got a bunch of points in a local saddle series. My wife told me if I was going to go I might as well get a good horse.”
Mucha eventually ended up with the retired barrel horse he calls “Juan.” The same horse he was riding at Finale IX.
“I had taken another horse to get injected and this lady had been trying to get me to ride this barrel horse for a long time. I had no interest in him at all. I ended up running some steers and when I backed him in the box I thought, Wow, this is the difference between a 5 and 6E. He’s a really good horse in the field, but he still gets nervous in the box.”
He missed a $100,000 steer on Juan at the USTRC Finals in 2012 and decided it was time to get another horse. He purchased a solid little mare he calls Black Storm, but still rides Juan at the World Series. People give him a hard time, but no one can argue the amount of money he’s ended up winning on the horse.
“He doesn’t score real well, but when the gate bangs he can fly,” Mucha explained.
And he’s the same mount that helped Mucha secure his “richest” roping partner.
“Eric’s neighbor is a cop here in town. He called me one day and said you have to rope with my neighbor. So I went to a little $10-a-man jackpot and we watched each other rope. Eric told me, ‘I like the move that sorrel has.’ Neither one of us knew what was coming.”
At press time, Mucha was having lights put in his arena and looking forward to gearing up for another Finale.
“It’s hard to complain,” he said. “Things have been pretty good. I would love to be the first team to repeat. That would be awesome. I think that would make history. If everything went just as smoothly as last year I would be tickled pink. I promise you that.”
Eric Randle is always on the road for his renewable energy job with Mortenson Construction. So not only does he not get to practice with Mucha, he just doesn’t get to practice much at all.
“I travel all over—Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma. We work rotation days, but I usually have to make a friend wherever I’m at and hopefully find some time to try and rope.”
Prior to his current job, Randle spent time in New Orleans helping with Hurricane Katrina relief. After returning for a short stay in his home state of Colorado, he moved to Las Cruces, N.M., where his wife was going to school. He then helped open Boot Hill Casino in Dodge City, Kan., the first Casino in the state.
“I was a dealer and a floor supervisor. That was actually a really good job. It’s the only job I’ve had where you can work for an hour and then take a 20-minute break.”
He and his wife, Lynne, now live in Moody, Texas, with their son, Brian, 3.
“Lynne ropes a little bit, but since we’ve had our boy she hasn’t had much opportunity. She’s also a nurse, and with me being gone so much, she stays busy.”
Randle learned to rope as a kid in Colorado. His dad roped too, but took him to lessons with Mike Wells, who had a local jackpot series every summer.
“I think I was about 15 when I learned to rope. I started out heading but I like heeling better.”
When Randle moved to Texas in April of 2014 he couldn’t have hand picked a better neighbor than Mac Fairey. Not only did he introduce him to Mucha, he’s become a great friend and roping partner himself.
“Mac hauled our horses out there last year,” said Randle “He is just the best guy. I’m actually heeling for him in the #11 this year.”
In addition to roping with Mucha (this year in the #13) and Fairey in the #11, Randle will be heeling for Pecos Smith in the #12 and heading for Zane Edmondson in the #10 Finale.
“I don’t really have any expectations, honestly. We had such an excellent year last year. It’s hard enough to get a check in Vegas, let alone win it. If we do any good at all, anywhere, that’s the best you can hope for. We’ll go do what we can and have fun and it will be whatever it’s supposed to be.”