Kendra Santos, Author at Bob Feist Invitational - Page 2 of 2

Speed Williams and Matt Sherwood Are First-Ever BFI Legends Champs

It took 10 gold heading buckles to win the inaugural BFI Legends Roping, and Speed Williams and Matt Sherwood were the over-40 guys who brought their best game to the world-famous Lazy E Arena on April 1 to get it done. Eight-time champ of the world Williams, 54, headed for two-time world heading titlist Sherwood, 52, as one of 34 teams entered that treated the crowd to a sweet real-time walk down memory lane.

“Are you kidding me, I won $20,000 for roping with Speed Williams?” Sherwood grinned at roping’s end. “I’ve never run a steer with the best header in the world ever to live. To be able to keep my composure and do my job is very rewarding to me personally. What a fun situation to find myself in.”

Speed’s first-round draft picks for the BFI Legends Roping were his partner in eight-gold-buckle crime, Rich Skelton, and seven-time champ, Clay Cooper. 

Williams and Sherwood won $40,000, Texas Saddlery Briefcases, Gist Buckles, YETI Roadies, Justin Boots, Cactus Ropes and HATPACS for winning the inaugural BFI Legends Roping. 
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“I called Clay and asked him if he was coming to rope with me,” said Williams, who lives in Comanche, Texas. “He said he wasn’t coming. I said, ‘What? It’s the Legends Roping. They can’t have it without you and Jake (Barnes). That’s just not right.’ But they’d already booked a roping school.”

Then came the timely text. 

“I texted Speed and said, ‘Hey, do you want to rope at the BFI and the Legends Roping?’ Sherwood said. “He texted me back and said, ‘Clay’s not coming, so I’ll rope with you in the Legends. But I’ve already got one in the BFI.”

Williams doesn’t just “have one” in today’s BFI—he’s heading for Speed and Jennifer’s baby boy and 15-year-old son, Gabe, thanks to the Legends Roping luring him to the Lazy E. 

“There was no way around it if I came and roped in this Legends roping,” Speed smiled. “So at dinner that night, I said, ‘Buddy, they’re having an over-40 Legends Roping at the BFI this year.’ His eyes lit up. He said, ‘Does that mean we’re going to rope in the BFI, Dad?’ I said, ‘It sounds like it, buddy.’

“What I was really concerned about was whether or not my body was going to stay healthy for all the practice getting ready to come here, because my son is worse than Rich. Back in the day, I could go to Rich’s house, run 40 or 50 and leave. I’m all day doing lessons, and my son wants to rope all day and all night. About a month ago, I got some big, stout, hard-running steers, so we could prepare. My son is truly excited to rope in the BFI. I’m about worn out.”

What a wonderful reunion the BFI Legends roping was. Rounding out the top four teams were Jeff Hilton and Zane Bruce, Tyler Magnus and double-dipping Bruce, and Tee Woolman and Walt Woodard. 

Speed Williams and Matt Sherwood roped five steers in 40.9 seconds to take the 2022 BFI Legends title. 
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“I’ve seen guys here that I haven’t seen in a long time,” Speed said. “We got to visit and shake a lot of hands with a lot of guys we haven’t gotten to see. Getting to see peers you haven’t seen in a lot of years is pretty cool. And it’s been a long time since I’ve stood on stage for winning something. So that’s kind of special.”

“I love the concept of the BFI Legends Roping,” added Sherwood, who’s heading for Utah’s Kycen Winn in the 2022 BFI. “I got to see a lot of people here that I haven’t seen in quite a while, like Kevin Stewart, Chris Lawson and George Aros. It was so great to see so many of these people I haven’t seen rope in a long time.”

Speed rode a 9-year-old he calls Green Light that he bought from Dustin Egusquiza, in part because he was a little bit green to be going out on the rodeo road. 

“He’s kind of special, and has some personality to him,” said Williams, who noted that his name is because daughter Hali has a horse they call Red Light, who has some similar traits. “He’s a little bit like Viper (Speed’s rodeo-career signature horse), because he’s so broke. I’m kind of excited about him.”

Sherwood rode a 7-year-old mare he raised that his family calls Cory. 

“She’s out of a mare that went blind as a baby,” Sherwood said. “I gave the mare to a buddy of mine in Utah, and Cory is her first colt. Cory got her name because whenever we were breaking her, my boy was riding her around without a tie-down. And it was right after Cory Petska won the world (in 2017) with no tie-down.”

Williams has won the BFI with Skelton three times, in 1998, 2001 and 2002. His favorite memory is winning it the first time. The worst was the year he was sick as three dogs on BFI day. 

What sets the BFI apart from all the rest of the ropings in the world?

“Horsemanship,” Speed said. “There are a lot of guys who can rope now. This roping separates the guys who can ride and control a horse, and set the run up for their heelers.

“My best advice to headers at their first BFI is when you think you’ve seen ’em enough, hold your horse in there just a little longer. And the bottom line is, the BFI is a marathon.”

“The BFI has just gotten bigger and bigger,” Sherwood said. “BFI Week now has something for everybody—the youth, the old guys, the best guys in the world, the girls—and it pays so good.

“I think the Lazy E is a great place to have BFI Week. Reno’s so far for the guys in the Southeast, but almost everyone can get here in 20 hours or less. This facility is amazing, and with this big arena, the BFI is back to a longer barrier. I think this is a phenomenal place for this phenomenal event.”


Full results to BFI Legends

BFI Legends Results

Aggregate: 1. Speed Williams and Matt Sherwood, 40.9 seconds, $40,000; 2. Jeff Hilton and Zane Bruce, 44.0 seconds, $10,000; 3. Tyler Magnus and Zane Bruce, 45.38 seconds, $5,000. 

First Round: 1. Manny Egusquiza and Monty Joe Petska, 6.64 seconds, $2,000. 

Second Round: 1. Chris Francis and Josh Patton, 5.41 seconds, $2,000. 

Family Tradition Trumps All as Mitchell and Hargrove Go 1-2-3 in BFI 15.5 Roping

Spencer Mitchell and his 15-year-old nephew Trigger Hargrove delivered in dominating fashion with an $86,000 1-2-3 punch in the BFI #15.5 Roping, which was held April 1 at the Lazy E Arena. With 31.22 seconds on four steers, Wrangler National Finals Rodeo header Mitchell and young Hargrove cashed the $40,000 winners’ check. Mitchell switched ends and heeled for Trevor Kirchenschlager to take second and $26,000, and Trigger heeled for Casey Hicks for third place and $20,000 on top of the win with Uncle Spank. 

After taking command of the roping heeling for Kirchenschlager at second high callback, Mitchell had that rare and special walk back up the arena knowing he had the roping won no matter what happened on his high-team run with Hargrove. 

“It was a fun feeling, and a relief,” said Mitchell, 33, who calls Orange Cove, California home. “I stopped in the arena and uncinched my (heel) horse, because I had to calm myself before going back in there to rope with my nephew for a lot of money. 

The 2013 day 24-year-old Spencer Mitchell cheered his 6-year-old nephew Trigger Hargrove on to his first-ever saddle win in the BFI dummy roping. Mitchell Family Photo

“Wanting to do good for him and succeed with him was huge. I could see that as a family, we had the opportunity to win first through third. That was an exciting factor. I had to get ahold of my nerves and get back to what I was here to do.”

Trigger’s the son of Spencer’s sister, Ashley, who moved to Oklahoma for college and never left. Cool is the fact that Spencer was by Trigger’s side when he won his first saddle for the dummy roping win at the 2013 BFI, when Spencer was 24 and Trigger was 6. Heck, Uncle Spencer used to change Trigger’s diapers.

“I’d say there’s less pressure to roping with family for Trigger,” Spencer said. “But for me—being the older one who’s had some success in the past and who people expect to win—there’s more. I look for Trigger to succeed as he keeps pushing his roping to the next level.”

Spencer has obviously had a big hand in Trigger’s climb up the roping ranks. 

“Spencer’s had a lot of influence on my roping, but even more on my horsemanship,” said Trigger, who lives in Gracemont, Oklahoma. “He’s helped me out a lot on things like where to put my horse and when to pick him up.”

Things got a tick wild on their high-team steer, to the point where Trigger reached down and dallied with both hands to get the flag. The kid’s flair for walking on the wild side is likely a genetic link to Uncle Spencer. 

Spencer’s roped at two NFRs to date—he headed for his late boyhood besty Broc Cresta in 2011, and for Dakota Kirchenschlager in 2012, a few months after Broc left us so suddenly at The Daddy in Cheyenne at 25. Trigger ropes with a BC sticker on the back of his hat. 

“Broc was a big deal in my life when I was little,” said Trigger, who’s early career highlights also include the win in the #10.5 with Brandt O’Connor at the 2020 USTRC Finals, and $25,000 and a truck at the 2020 Original Team Roping Association Finals on his 14th birthday. “Broc was always with (Uncle) Spank. All I remember is me and him roping the dummy as many times as we could until my mom would make me go to bed.”

Mitchell and Hargrove roped four steers in 31.22 seconds to take the 2022 BFI #15.5 win.  Andersen CbarC Photo

Horsepower is huge in the conditions demanded here at the 440-foot-long Lazy E. Spencer heeled on his 2022 BFI and rodeo partner Jason Duby’s sorrel mare, Tuesday, who came from Brandon Beers. Mitchell headed on his own 11-year-old sorrel, blaze-faced horse, Snapchat, who came from his friends at Lost Creek Ranch here in Oklahoma. On an interesting side note, Kirchenschlager headed for Mitchell on Spencer’s heel horse Barracuda. 

Hargrove heeled on his 14-year-old brown, bald-faced horse, Whiskey. Uncle Spencer had the horse after he bucked some people off. Spencer’s wife, Whitney, twisted his arm into giving Whiskey to Trigger when she saw them hit it off. Spencer and Whitney’s little boy, Broc, will turn 5 on May 29. 

 Spencer’s a renowned switch-ender, so his versatility came as no surprise. Mitchell and Hargrove are both Team Cactus members. They used a medium Thrilla on the back side, and Spank headed with a soft Hooey.

“Anybody who knows me knows that if I had a choice, I’d heel,” Mitchell said. “Heading is amazing, too, and I’ve always promised Trigger as he’s been growing up that as he moves up levels I’ll rope with him more and more. To come back first and second heeling and heading was fun. Going from one side to the other back-to-back almost relieved a little pressure.”

In case you’re curious, Spencer’s an 8+ header and a 9 heeler. Trigger’s a 7 heeler, so they were a perfect match in the #15.5. They hope to hook up for the BFI one day soon. For now, they’re thinking they’ll reinvest the family’s windfall win into more horses. 

“Coming from the West Coast, I prefer the longer starts and the stronger steers,” Mitchell said. “It makes it a tough roping and a true contest, and the Lazy E’s a great place to have this long score. The conditions today were really tough. You have no choice but to stay aggressive here. If you back off at all on either side, you’ll step on yourself.”


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Arviso and Glenn Take $25,000 Hooey Jr BFI Open Title

When you’re hot, you’re hot. Arizona’s James Arviso and Oklahoma’s Landen Glenn haven’t had many chances to rope together yet in their young careers. But the 18-year-old high school seniors have already found chemistry, and the ability to come through in the clutch and close the deal when it really counts. Coming from third high call, Arviso and Glenn roped four steers in 32.93 seconds and struck for the $25,000 win Thursday at the 2022 Hooey Jr BFI Open at the world-famous Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Oklahoma. 

If Arviso’s shy grin and humble words seem familiar, it’s because he’s cut from the same cloth as his Uncle Derrick Begay. James is the son of Derrick’s sister, Jamie, and her husband, Jon Arviso. 

“My Grandpa Victor (Begay, who’s Derrick and Jamie’s dad) has probably had the biggest influence on my roping,” James said. “He’s been pretty hard on me my whole life, and it seems like because of that things are starting to come along now.”

Roping and rodeo fans will also recognize the buckskin mare James rode to the win at the 2022 Hooey Jr BFI Open. Keta, who’s 9, is the horse Uncle Derrick rode at last December’s Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. And yes, he’s been borrowing his nephew’s ride and rode her at this winter’s Texas building rodeos in Houston, San Antonio, Austin and Fort Worth. 

The ropers James looks up to most—Uncle Derrick, Aaron Tsinigine and Erich Rogers—should come as no surprise. James and his family share the same hometown of Seba Dalkai on the Navajo Nation with Derrick. But true to family code, Arviso didn’t care to take much of the credit for the big win.

“Landen does his job really well, so I just try to do mine,” said James, who hopes to get to the NFR one day. “This is definitely one of my biggest wins. I don’t win first a lot. I’ve been coming here the past three years, and this is the first time to win it. The steers were fast and strong, and the barrier was out there a ways. They dang sure put on a good roping for us young guys, and make it as realistic as it gets to the big BFI. It’s pretty cool to get my first big win here at the Lazy E.”

Arviso plans to stick his heading half of the money into savings, with the hope of rounding up enough money for back-up for Keta. Glenn also rode a buckskin, and says his horse Jammer, 12, has been a game-changer. 

Arviso and Glenn roped four steers in 32.93 to win it all in Thursday’s Hooey Jr BFI Open. 
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“I got him from a guy in Texas three years ago, and we’ve just clicked,” Landen said. “This horse made me the roper I am.”

Glenn, who lives in McAlester, Oklahoma, will ride Jammer when he heels for Tsinigine in the BFI here at the Lazy E on Saturday. Arviso and Glenn also won the Hooey Junior Patriot Open in Fort Worth about three weeks ago.

“We’ve been planning on roping together here for six or eight months,” Glenn said. “But we haven’t gotten to rope together all that much yet. James is smart, and always does his job. He makes sure he scores go, then goes and catches. He never takes any dumb shots. He makes it easy. I’ve just got to come around there and throw my rope. James has never turned me a steer that wasn’t heel-able.” 

Arizona’s Jace Thorstenson and Denton Dunning came from sixth to finish second in the roping with 35.75 to Arviso and Glenn’s 32.93. 

James Arviso and Landen Glenn won the 2022 Hooey Jr BFI Open and $25,000.
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“This is one of the biggest ropings I’ve ever won—100 percent—because it’s so prestigious,” said Glenn, whose goals include making the NFR and winning the world. “It’s BFI Week, and we all grew up watching the BFI.”

Glenn’s hero?

“Jade Corkill,” he said. “He’s the best. He’s the man. I always watch him rope. He does everything right, and whether he’s trying to be 3 or 8, it always looks the same.”

It meant something to both of these young guns to get a big win at the Lazy E.

“I love this place,” said Landen, who also hopes to put his half of the cash toward additional horsepower. “I’ve won more money at the Lazy E and John Justin Arena (in Fort Worth) than probably anywhere else. I’ve won more at those two places than everywhere else combined. I only live two hours and 20 minutes from here, so the Lazy E feels like home.”

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