The Hooey Jr. Championships during Wrangler BFI Week are designed to showcase today’s youth superstars, and the Jr. BFI did that perfectly on March 18 for 18-year-old Texans Kreece Thompson and Kaden Profili.
As one of the richest team ropings in the world for kids 18 and under, the Hooey Jr. BFI is patterned after the richest Open roping in the world – the 44th Bob Feist Invitational – which kicked off Wrangler BFI Week on March 14 in Guthrie, Oklahoma’s Lazy E Arena. The Hooey Jr. BFI consists of the Jr. Open and the Jr. 10.5, which limits individual ropers’ classifications to #6.
Profili of Jacksonville earned the high-callback and second-high callback positions at the Jr. Open, which drew 114 teams. He had caught four steers with his stepbrother, Jayse Tettenhorst, in 28.29 seconds and four with Thompson of Munday in 26.93, so he stood to split $54,000 cash with his partners if he maintained those rankings in the aggregate standings.
In the finals, Profili caught two feet for Tettenhorst but was unable to get a dally and lost his rope for a “no time.” He came right back up the arena to connect with Thompson on an 8.15-second run that gave them a five-head time of 35.08 and the first-place cash prize of $35,000.
“This is one of the best junior ropings there is, and all the good kids go, so it means a lot to win it,” said Thompson, who gave the paycheck to his mom for safekeeping. “This is one of the biggest checks I’ve ever won; the buckles are really pretty and they gave us a certificate to order a Cactus saddle, I’m excited about that.”
It was sweet redemption for Thompson. Last year in the Jr. Open, he and Sterlin English had needed only a 14-second run for the win, and Thompson had missed.
“I was high call last year and choked,” recalled Thompson. “So it was the same situation but different outcome.”
Thompson made the short round with his other partner, as well, with no luck. But he’s accustomed to winning with Profili; two years ago, the pair also won the Yeti Jr. Open at the 2019 USTRC National Finals to split $11,300.
“I had full confidence in Kaden,” said Thompson. “That was a freak deal, him losing his rope just before our run. I knew he was going to come back and do what he always does. All the pressure was pretty much on me, it felt like.”
Profili, too, is accustomed to high-pressure ropings – he had won three trucks with his rope by the time he was 13 years old. Currently heeling for Trinity Valley Community College, he was ranked No. 1 this season in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Southern Region standings.