For cowboys, Christmas can come anytime of the year, and that’s exactly what happened to one of my favorite Yellowstone Country cowboys, Al Schultz, and his roping partner Mark Aragon. And Cody couldn’t be more proud.
The two won a world team roping championship in Las Vegas early in December, and they split a purse in the staggering amount of $240,000. Christmas definitely came early for these two cowboys.
For those of you who know something about the world of rodeo – and here in the home of the Cody Nite Rodeo, most of us do – the competitive spirit of the professional cowboy is sometimes as big as his Stetson. But for Al and Mark, the competition they won was one for which they didn’t think they even had a shot. As my pal Lew Freedman wrote in the Cody Enterprise: “Coming into Vegas it seemed they had the same chance of winning as they did capturing the World Series of Poker.”
But the roping gods were aligned during the competition, and the two roped spectacularly. On the first day, Al and Mark knew that their time for their first three steers was pretty darn good, and after all of the more than 400 teams had finished, they were told that their score was the best. Our little town of Cody was on fire with hope and support for Al and Mark.
On Sunday, they performed the rodeo version of hitting it out of the park, beating the second-place team by 9/100ths of a second.
In addition to the cash prize, Al and Mark also won bronze trophies, fancy boots and a saddle.
Our hats are off to Al and Mark. Congratulations.
With the year 2014 behind us and a new one beginning, I’d like to take a moment to say thank you. Thank you for supporting Yellowstone Country by spending your travel dollars with us. Thank you for taking the time to experience the wonders of Wyoming. And thank you for joining us in our commitment to leave this magnificent land like you found it, so your children and theirs can roam free here someday too.
Until next time, I’m lovin’ life in Yellowstone Country.