J.D. Yates first began competing as a team roper with his father, Dick. The Pueblo native is a 22-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier and was the youngest ever to turn pro at 15. Nearly forty years later, he’s still roping, but this time, his son Trey 19, is his partner.
“It’s pretty special because it’s something that a lot of families don’t experience,” J.D. said. “He ropes good at a young age and I still have enough talent left where I can play with him for a little while until he gets somebody that really wants to go hard and rodeo.”
With Dick cheering them on, J.D. and Trey advanced to Saturday night’s finals.
“We don’t rope as father and son, we rope to win money,” Trey said. “It’s cool to win with your dad no doubt, but we aren’t trying to make something special about it, we are trying to win.”
New invitational format boosts ticket sales
When the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo split with the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association for the first time in its 74-year history, PPOB president Gary Markle wasn’t quite sure how fans would react to the new open format, which advances the top two competitors from the events of each day to a final round Saturday night.
But just listening to the crowd’s reaction when a cowboy fails to advance tells him all he needs to know.
"It’s more exciting and it’s easier to follow,” he said. “They like the fact that they really can track the cowboys and track what it will take for them to win.They are cheering for the riders and if one doesn’t score high enough to advance, there’s an ‘ohhh’ in the crowd.”
Markle said the fan friendly format has helped to boost online ticket sales. In previous years, online presales accounted for 20- 30 percent of sales, but this year, Markle said they accounted for 50.
“Our marketing has really made the fans aware of the new format and the excitement in that,” he said. Markle and the rest of the PPOB board sought guidance in developing the new open format from the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, which is also an invitational open format rodeo.
Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo general manager Joe Bruce Hancock, who Markle called, “ a great mentor” was among the spectators at Norris-Penrose Event Center Saturday. Hancock gave the rodeo a big thumbs up.
“They are doing a great job of presenting rodeo here in the arena that is understandable and the fans see a winner, so that’s the goal,” he said.