The Team Roping Journal

Let’s Hear It For The NFR Switch Enders

Qualifying for the National Finals Rodeo is hard. It’s a yearlong grind and roller-coaster ride, complete with all-night-drives exhaustion, slumps when you feel like you can’t buy a break and physical, financial and emotional stress. It’s no wonder the list of world-class team ropers who’ve both headed and heeled at Rodeo’s Super Bowl is short.

Seven cowboys—Bret Beach, Trevor Brazile, David Motes, Walt Rodman, Mark Simon, Speed Williams and J.D. Yates, in alphabetical order—have managed to climb this Team Roping Mount Everest since the event became dally only (and has since stayed that way) at the NFR in 1973. Before that, there were many years when the NFR team ropers team tied five rounds and dallied the other five. When it was “half and half,” some teams switched ends every other round to suit their strengths and horses.

ProRodeo Hall of Famer Leo Camarillo owns the record for most NFR team roping average titles with six. He won the first one heeling for Billy Wilson in 1968, and they dallied all 10 runs. The Lion then won three straight NFRs from 1969-71 with cousin Reg when they team tied half the rounds, before striking for two more average crowns in 1980 and ’82 with Tee Woolman in the dally-only days.

Fellow Hall of Famers John Miller and Ace Berry won the last-ever round of NFR team tying in 1972 on their way to that year’s NFR average win, which is also the year Berry doubled down with the NFR bareback riding average victory, as Phil Lyne did in the calf roping and bull riding that same Finals. Berry also won the NFR team roping average in 1967 with Bucky Bradford, when they team tied every other round, and said a number of cowboys, including himself, switched ends during those team tying times.

Another worthy note up front here is that late Hall of Famer Dale

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