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Locals win in national roping finals

GREAT TEAM – Claude Lowery and Kevin Barfield shown with the saddles they won at the national contest. They received cash and prizes totaling $30,000.

Team ropers come from all walks of life. There are doctors, lawyers, veterinarians, med-techs, horseshoers, bartenders, teachers, preachers, and truck drivers to name a few.

 Claude Lowery is a CPA from Wesson. He wears a tie to work and no one believes he can rope.

 “We aren’t even sure you have a horse,” one coworker voiced. In fact, Claude raised the two horses they rode. They are double bred Two Eyed Jack geldings.

Well, not only does Claude Lowery have a great heading horse but he now has a brand new USTRC National Finals of Team Roping Saddle; a Martin Championship Saddle to be exact. Lowery also has the best heeling partner anyone could have. Kevin Barfield can rope also. The pair won the average in the #9 Preliminary at the USTRC National Finals held at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds in Oklahoma City on Saturday October 27, 2007.

 “I’m a CPA and I’m taking this saddle straight to my office and I’m putting it right in the middle of the plate glass window at work,” Lowery said excitedly. “Just because I wear a tie some people think I don’t even have a horse. Boy, have I got a surprise for them.”

Lowery and Barfield were the third high team back as the short go round of the #9 Preliminary. Thirty-four teams came back for the short go round of the roping and only four seconds separated the first team from the tenth team. It was going to be a tight roping as it came down to determining the winner of the average. These 34 teams represented 21 states and 1 Canadian province.

Lowery and Barfield needed a time of 10.27 seconds to take the lead in the average when it was their turn to rope.

“No doubt we were nervous,” Lowery said. “I tried to be cool as the other teams roped but it was hard.”

When Barfield scooped up two hind legs for a time of 10.25 seconds the crowd let out a roar. They had a time of 38.21 seconds and took the lead in the average.

“I didn’t wish any bad luck on anyone,” Lowery laughed. “But a barrier penalty or a check, just not first!.”

“I was biting my finger nails as the last two teams went to rope,” Barfield said softly. “Who would have thought it would happen that way.” Neither Barfield nor Lowery could believe it when the top two high teams back failed to make qualified runs.

Lowery and Barfield have been roping together for about fifteen years. They have a relationship that is phenomenal.

“I owe everything to Claude,” Barfield said with great emotion and a quiver in his voice. “You don’t understand what this man has done for me. I always had good horses to ride and he hauled me and kept me roping. I went to High School National Finals and he was backing me and supporting like you cannot believe. Claude has raised me like a son and I owe everything to him.”

When asked what they would do with $22,200 Barfield grinned.

“Why, you give it all back to the USTRC this next year and just keep roping,” he said with a grin. “Write that down and put it in your story. They have been announcing my name for years and now they have announced my name and I’ve won this saddle and this money. You bet I’m going to keep roping in the USTRC!”

As Lowery and Barfield picked up their saddles and headed out of the Winner’s Circle it was obvious there was a special bond between these two. From all walks of life and all professions come the champions of the USTRC. They are also fathers, brothers, sisters and wives, mentors, and dad and almost dads, friends and buddies. If you drive by a certain CPA’s office in Brookhaven in the next week or so you are probably going to see a USTRC National Finals Martin Championship Saddle in the window. Who said those guys can’t rope!

This story was taken from the USTRC website by Melinda Clements with additions for this story.

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