LAS VEGAS – For most, Christmas was celebrated Tuesday.
For a few, the holiday began about three weeks ago.
During the World Series of Team Roping Finale XIII, 13 was not an unlucky number – just ask Lamoille’s Jason Jones.
During the weeklong-plus event from Dec. 8-16 at South Point Hotel, Casino and Spa – Jones took home nearly $40,000.
He kicked off his stay with a bang.
Competing Sunday, Dec. 9 in the #14 Priefert Finale, Jones – a No. 5 five-plus header – paired up with Steve Ross, who is an eight-plus heeler from Decatur, Texas.
Ross actually qualified for the WSTR but needed a run, calling Jones and entering the day before the books closed on Oct. 15.
The men combined to rope four steers in 31.52 seconds, placing seventh in the roping – moving up from 24th or 25th in the short-go.
Each cowboy earned $24,500.
Jones continued his hot streak in the outdoor arena, already punching his ticket for the World Series of Team Roping Finale XIV.
In the #11 WSTR Qualifier – produced by Mathews Land & Cattle, of Las Vegas, New Mexico – Jones teamed up with Spring Creek’s Wayne Rowley – a No. 5 heeler.
Jones and Rowley roped their first-three steers in 23.59 seconds, entering the short-go as the third-fastest callback on Wednesday, Dec. 12.
In the final round, Jones tracked down a steer than ran off to the right for a slick catch around the horns, and Rowley did a phenomenal job of waiting out the steer as the animal ducked his head in the dirt and never was good to rope on the back end.
Rowley placed a big trap and came tight on two feet, closing the run in 9.75 seconds.
Jones and Rowley moved up two spots on the final steer, winning the #11 qualifier with a total time of 33.34 seconds on four runs, each man stuffing #11,005 into their jeans.
For Jones, he racked up $35,505 in four days.
Jones attributes his success to his horse “Diddy,” an 11-year-old gelding he and his wife, Nawny, actually brought from Texas for Nawny’s dad, Steve McDermott, back in 2013, the horse previously belonging to a man named Randy Knight.
Jones rode the horse some and started to find the pay window regularly, and he purchased Diddy from McDermott about a year and a half ago.
“That horse really runs and he works. I have won about $50,000 on him this year,” Jones said. “With the winnings, I’m in the process of buying his full brother – a 5-year old.”
Rowley was not done either, earning another notable check but narrowly missing out on a huge payday.
In the #10 WSTR Yeti Finale, Rowley heeled for Spring Creek’s Trenton Jones, a five-plus header.
Jones and Rowley entered the short round with three-clean runs and a third-place callback, but a broken barrier on the head side resulted in a five-second penalty – giving Trenton Jones and Rowley a total time of 39.51 seconds on four steers.
Without the five-second whoopsie on the fourth animal, they would have split $173,000 for fourth place.
Despite the barrier, Trenton Jones and Rowley placed 15th and took home $6,000 each.
Heeling for Jason Jones and Trenton Jones, Rowley won $17,005.
Nampa, Idaho’s Jaylen Eldridge – the younger cousin of five-time National Finals Rodeo steer wrestler Dakota Eldridge (2013-2017) – padded his pockets in the #14 Super Qualifier on Saturday, Dec. 8.
Heeling for Brayden Schmidt, of Benton City, Washington, the team roped four steers in 27.36 seconds and placed third in the average – each cowboy earning $10,750.
Christmas must have been a joyous time for the Rowleys, as Robbin Rowley – Wayne’s wife – also took home loot from Las Vegas.
Roping in the Mathews Land & Cattle event in the outdoor arena, she placed sixth in the #10 Qualifier.
Heading for Cole Clement, of St. George, Utah, the team tangled up four steers in 43.71 seconds – each collecting $3,465.
Despite taking home $3,000 apiece in the #11 Boehringer Ingelheim Finale, Elko’s Les Peterson and Oakley, Utah’s Cliff Leavitt came so close to so much more.
Entering the short-go in fifth place, Peterson stuck his loop around the horns quickly and set up what could have been a life-changing run.
However, the heel shot came up empty – no time.
With a total time of 24.51 seconds on three runs, Peterson and Leavitt split $6,000 for 35th place but lost their bid for a combined $153,000 for third (32.7 seconds on four), $212,000 for second (32.42 seconds) or $282,000 for first (31.88 seconds).
Lamoille’s Ed Hintz – the father of three-time National Finals Rodeo heeler Cody Hintz (2005-2006, 2010) – headed for Lockhart, Texas’ Ryan Mayfield, who is originally from the Yerington area, in the #13 WSTR Yeti Finale.
Hintz and Mayfield took a no-time during one of their four runs but placed 33rd in the average with a time of 25.15 seconds on three runs – each man winning $3,000.
Bull rider turned team roper.
Elko native Markus Mariluch is slowing down his effort in professional bull riding, saying “this may be my last year” and that his body no longer feels the same as when he was younger and adding sometimes his “hips will hurt for no reason.”
He has picked up another passion, focusing more on team roping.
In the #10 Yeti Finale, Mariluch, who now lives in Daingerfield, Texas, heeled for De Kalb, Texas cowgirl Hannah White.
Taking a no-time on one of their four steers, White and Mariluch closed with a time of 25.36 seconds on three runs.
They placed 34th in the average in split $6,000.
Congratulations to local qualifiers and winners of the World Series Team Roping Finale XIII, as approximately $100,000 made its way back to Elko County from Sin City.