Former NFR bull rider Ricky Bolin had been the high callback header in the consolation round of the Wrangler National Patriot #11.5 roping on Tuesday and missed. He got retribution on June 26 during the newest addition to Wrangler BFI Week presented by Yeti – the Cactus #9.5 Over 40 – when he and partner Bart Hutton split the first-place prize of $50,000.
“This is the most I’ve ever won,” said Hutton, who also roped with Bolin at the World Series Finale in Las Vegas last year.
This time, with Bolin on the heel end, the Texans were the high callback team after roping three steers in 30.93 seconds. In the #9.5 Over 40, producers brought every team back to the short round that caught three steers, and that was 12 teams. Every short-round qualifier was guaranteed a paycheck, and just six stopped the clock.
Hutton of Boerne and Bolin of Sunnyvale only needed a 12-second run to win the roping, but that’s what had gotten Bolin in trouble the day prior. He’d tried to be too safe. This time, he threw a pretty loop and got one dally before his hand hit the top of his horn and it popped off. The audience took a collective gasp. Bolin was able to re-dally without losing any legs, and the team squeaked into first place by just three-tenths of a second when they salvaged a 12-flat.
“I saw his loop and was already counting the money and didn’t see him lose his dally,” said Hutton, who is a No. 5 header. As for Bolin, the mishap means he will shorten his rope and start tying on from now on, since he’s 60.
“I love heeling,” said the #4.5 heeler who rode bulls at four NFRs. “Although I feel like I head better.”
Sonny Cowden, 75, of Atwater, California, left Reno with $19,250 out of the Cactus #9.5 Over 40 after placing second with Les Vogt and fifth with Albert Aguayo. Cowden is the father of NFR team ropers Liddon and Cody Cowden.
“This is a super roping,” he said. “It gives an old man a chance.”
Vogt agreed, and said the addition of the new roping “makes” the entire week for the #4 heeler. “It gives us something to rope in,” he said.
Hutton hadn’t entered the team roping events in Reno before, although he’d watched his son compete in the BFI.
“This is a hell of a roping, and I’m not just saying that because I won money,” said Hutton, a part-owner of Allcat Claims Service. “When you can come here and rope these good cattle for this much money and get to watch the BFI, too?”
He was riding his brand-new mare, Reba.
“I rode her at the Rancheros ride in May and then got her bought from Cathie Twisselman,” Hutton said. “Kelly Barker met me here with her. That short-round steer was about the 10th steer I’ve roped on her.”
Bolin was riding a buckskin gelding he raised that he calls Harley, after his late friend Harley May.
Hutton and Bolin felt a bit like the home team to viewers of BFI Week because Bolin helms Resistol — a longtime sponsor of the BFI. As the General Manager of Hatco, which also includes Stetson and Charlie 1 Horse, Bolin will mark 30 years with the company in August. His win marked another important anniversary, as well. It came exactly two years after his open-heart surgery, and he had another minor operation on his heart two weeks prior to Wrangler BFI Week.
Despite some side effects of medication, Bolin never missed the horns heading at the World Series jackpots outside town prior to heeling in the Cactus #9.5. His goal had been to win money last year on the anniversary of his life-changing surgery, but he said this victory also worked for that purpose.
In the meantime, he spent the week networking with the West’s many Resistol fans. Another Hatco brand, Charlie 1 Horse, sponsored the All-Girl Challenge during Wrangler BFI Week.
“This is our world,” said Bolin. “It’s what we do. This whole week consists of the best team ropings in the world.”
Wrangler BFI Week continued through June 27. All events were live-streamed on www.WranglerNetwork.com.
Complete Results from the Cactus #9.5 Over 40 on June 26:
First Round: 1. Gary Kiehne and Bob Barton, 8.15 seconds, $2,750; 2. Sonny Cowden and Les Vogt, 8.91, $2,500. Second Round: 1/2. (tie) Josh Shippy and Marco Rodriguez, and Tres Moore and K.D. Kaigler, 7.45 seconds each, $2,750 each.
Average: 1. Bart Hutton and Ricky Bolin, 43.02 seconds on four, $50,000; 2. Sonny Cowden and Les Vogt, 43.33, $27,000; 3. Pam Wilken and Jim Petersen, 47.90, $15,000; 4. John Goforth and Pedro Perez, 52.25, $11,000; 5. Sonny Cowden and Albert Aguayo, 56.64, $9,000; 6. Gary Kiehne and Rex Nichols, 60.99, $8,000; 7. Charlotte Davis and Rusty Herrera, 32.07 seconds on three, $7,000; 8. Roger Kaiwi Machen and Pedro Perez, 36.78, $6,000; 9. Steve Lydon and Ron Hognestad, 37.18, $5,000; 10. Chris Darger and Ron Hognestad, 40.47, $5,000; 11. Matt Perkins and Bart Chatelain, 42.35, $5,000; 12. Mark Harris and Sonny Rose 46.81, $5,000.