BFI Week Breaks Records, Pays Out Over $4 Million - Bob Feist Invitational

BFI Week Breaks Records, Pays Out Over $4 Million


Wrangler BFI Week on Easter weekend, anchored by the 47th annual Bob Feist Invitational Team Roping on March 30, paid out a record $4.34 million to ropers in 2024 plus prizes worth at least $175,000. The event running March 28 through April 3 was comprised of roughly a dozen separate ropings in Guthrie, Oklahoma’s Lazy E Arena, with nearly $50,000 added to the jackpotted entry fees for each. 

Organizers hosted a free Easter breakfast for ropers on the 31st followed by a special church service and an Easter egg hunt for kids, complete with a visit from the Easter bunny. More than a hundred children also competed for Gist buckles and a host of other awards during the Smarty dummy roping held with the BFI. Plus, the Tito’s Fan Zone hosted a cornhole tournament with a cash payout.

During all that, the 47th BFI on March 30 saw perennial best-in-the-world ropers Kaleb Driggers of Georgia and Junior Nogueira, a native of Brazil, top 126 teams to earn $160,000 cash and add to their collection of five gold buckles and well over $5 million in combined PRCA earnings.

But possibly nobody was prouder in Guthrie that week than former BFI contestant Chance Kelton, whose kids from Arizona broke the bank. 

Eighteen-year-old Ketch Kelton placed third in the BFI with fellow Arizona teenager Denton Dunning after they also won the Hooey Jr. BFI. Plus, Kelton won second in the Jr. BFI with Nicky Northcott to go back to Arizona with a staggering $78,000 cash in his pocket. This was only a few weeks after Ketch won $21,750 cash in the same arena as the second-straight winner of the Junior Ironman contest.

Finally, toward the end of the week, Ketch’s sister Kenzie Kelton teamed with Whitney DeSalvo to win the All-Girl Team Roping by nearly four seconds on four steers, worth $23,000. It was the second-straight win for the team, and Kelton banked $1,700 in the rounds, too. DeSalvo’s total (she also placed seventh in the average) came to a cool $23,200 in the team roping. She’s now won it five of the past eight years.

The 15.5 roping was won by former NFR header Spencer Mitchell and teenager Chase Helton, who split $65,000. Helton also entered the Hooey Jr. BFI and placed seventh with Jett Stewart to earn an extra $3,000 on the day. In fact, the Juniors flocked to Guthrie in record numbers, with team counts of 472 in the Jr. 10.5 and 174 in the Jr. Open. The biggest roping of the week was the Jr. BFI 10.5, which paid 20 places while the champs, Miles Mueller and Stetson Springs, still went home with $60,000 cash.

Every roping of BFI Week increased in teams from 2023, save the 12.5 that fell on Easter Sunday. But it was still the highest-paying roping of the week, as cousins Cole and Birch Eiguren from Oregon split a cool $200,000 cash plus a boatload of prizes for the average win on March 31. Cole, 23, is in his rookie year as a pro.

This year’s All-Girl Breakaway drew a whopping 80 entries over last year, and the All-Girl Team Roping was up the same amount. On April 6, Arizona’s Macy Young cashed checks worth $21,000 plus the legendary BFI prizeline en route to winning her second All-Girl Breakaway in the seven years it’s been offered at BFI Week. The all-around champ was Kelsie Domer of Dublin, Texas, who placed third in the breakaway for $9,000 and second in team roping with DeSalvo, for a cash haul of another $8,000. 

The 11.5 Businessman’s roping that helped make BFI Week famous in Reno was won by Josh Bray and Daniel Chartney, who split $160,000. The Consolation average title on three went to Jim Matlack and Jay Ellerman for $7,500, while the 10.6 Incentive was won by Josh Donnell and Daniel Braddock for $7,500.

Three lucrative ropings for the Over-40 crowd were also popular, with the champs of the 10.5 being cattle rancher Billy Vaught of Arkansas and logger Lance Crawford of Oklahoma, who split $129,000. Then, the 9.5 was won by roofer Shawn Sullivan and longtime hunting guide Jack Morris of Oklahoma, who raked in $125,000. And on April 5, entrepreneurs Justin Steadman and Cory Lloyd of San Angelo, Texas, combined to win the 8.5 and split $65,000 (Mariah Thomas and Frank Smith claimed the 7 Incentive victory for $3,000). The relatively new 8.5 had an increase in teams by nearly 60 percent this year. The 10.5 Over 40, as well, went from 199 teams in 2023 to 282. 

Jeff Smith Productions hosted ropings in conjunction with BFI Week for the first time this year at the Oklahoma City Fairgrounds. That inaugural event paid out an additional $520,580 and drew 1,590 teams including entries in all-girl events.


Julie Mankin

Wyoming native Julie Mankin has roped for three decades, and in her 25-year career as a former newspaper editor, PRCA publicist and freelance writer, her work has been published in Western Horseman, American Cowboy, AQHA Journal, True West, Cowboys & Indians and more.