Team ropers Caden Tinsley and Tate Thompson picked a good time to have their best run of the 17 & Under #10 division at the Junior National Finals Rodeo.
In the short go-round Thursday at the Wrangler Rodeo Arena, the Texas cowboys – Tinsley is from Midland and Thompson is from Amarillo – roped their steer in 7.21 seconds to finish third in the go and win the average title with a time of 49.38 seconds on five head. Tinsley and Thompson were one of only two teams to rope all five steers this week.
They got off to a slow start with a 17.37-second run after Tinsley, the header, broke the barrier. But the two were all business after that.
“I broke out on the first one,” the 15-year-old Tinsley said. “But the next one went pretty fast and we had good solid runs after that. It all played out good.”
It’s hard to argue with the final results. Tinsley and Thompson, in fact, got faster with each successive run. Following their 17.37, they had times of 8.7, 8.4 and 7.7 leading up to their final run.
Just think what might have happened if the two had had some time to rope with each other ahead of the Junior NFR.
“We didn’t get a chance to practice with each other this week,” Thompson, 10, said, “but I guess it worked out.”
That’s been the case pretty much since the two first teamed up last year.
“We were at a Junior NFR qualifier and he asked me to rope,” Thompson said, “but I was full. He asked me again at the next one and we went out and won it. After that, we’ve been together all the time.”
Added Tinsley: “Me and Tate won a bunch of the Junior NFR qualifiers.”
While Tinsley is competing in his first Junior NFR, Thompson is making his second appearance. Needless to say, this year is a big improvement from last year.
“I came here last year and I was the only young kid out here and we didn’t do very good,” he said. “This year, though, we did really good.”
Tinsley is making a habit of winning team roping competitions. He teamed with five-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier JoJo Lemond to win a #14 World Series qualifier in Andrews, Texas, in October. And he and Calvin Taylor have won titles at numerous United States Team Roping Championships events this year. But winning the Junior NFR allowed to cross something off his bucket list.
“This means a lot,” he said. “It was one of my goals to win it this year so I’m pretty excited about that.”
Now both Thompson and Tinsley have their sights on winning the 17 & Under Open division. While Thompson and partner Spencer Clements had a no-time in their first round, Tinsley and partner Cash Duty got off to a solid start with a 9.4-second run.
“I want to win the Open now,” Tinsley said. “I’m trying to line out two saddles and two buckles.”
Also Thursday, Cooper John Anderson and Cashton Weidenberner won the short go with a 6.23-second run to finish just ahead of Garrett Miller and Cooper Parsley, who had a 6.4.
In the average, Rance Winters and John Hisel were the reserve champs with a five-run time of 59.75 seconds. Miller and Parsley were third with a 41.34 on four head.
From Oregon to Pennsylvania to Las Vegas
For Parsley, this isn’t his first time on a national stage.
In 2016, Parsley was an outfielder on the Oregon Little League team that won the Northwest District championship and advanced to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
“I made the all-star team for Bend North in central Oregon,” Parsley said. “We won districts and state and regionals and the next morning we flew to Williamsport. It was an unreal experience.”
Oregon lost its first two games before defeating Italy in a consolation game.
This week, he and Miller rebounded after a no-time in the first round, which is understandable considering the circumstances.
“I just met Garrett here,” Parsley, 15, said. “I actually didn’t qualify, but his partner dropped out and I was the next guy in line to come here and take his spot. I got the call probably two weeks ago. So I got out here and we practiced Monday and it went really well.”
As for his future plans, Parsley is still weighing his options.
“It’s between team roping and baseball,” he said.