This year is the third year Farmfair s hosted the Team Roping Futurity. Unlike a typical team roping event, the fastest time does not necessarily win. Instead the futurity is open to horses aged four or five, and judged on their team roping abilities, responsiveness and obedience. This is a great event for team roping trainers, breeders and contestants because it has over $25,000 added money, says Ronald Schmidt, committee representative for the Team Roping Futurity. And it s very entertaining to watch. The futurity really challenges the young horses. For example, each horse will have a total of five runs, but one of them will be scored. (In a scored run the steer leaves the chute, but the horse must stay in the box and not follow the steer.), explains Schmidt. The judges really watch to see how hard the rider has to pull to contain the horse. It isn t enough that the horse is cowy, it also must prove it s well broke.
Ronald competed at the inaugural 2009 team roping futurity, and this year his 17-year-old son, Kolton, will be competing as the event s youngest rider. Team roping is a great family event, Ronald says. Often you ll see husband and wife teams, or father and son teams. I m happy to say that both my son and daughter are involved in the sport.
Kolton will be riding a red roan AQHA mare nicknamed Reba, because of her red hair. The mare was purchased by the Schmidts in Phoenix, Arizona, after being started in cutting. We like to buy cutting horses that don t quite make it in that discipline, and then turn them into team ropers, Ronald explains. These horses will have been pushed hard, but not ridden roughly, so they re very well started. And they ve already proven that they re cowy and athletic.
Wayne Skocdopole is another horseman with a mare entered in the Team Roping Futurity. This mare is special to Wayne, because it was bought in partnership with his father, who has since passed away. Dad and I saw the mare when she was three, and we really liked her, Wayne says. She really watched the cow, and she had a huge stop. And she was pretty with a long, flaxen mane. Once you ve seen her, you don t forget her. My dad said he d buy the mare if I d take her to the futurity, so I guess you could say this show is in memory of my father.
The Skocdopole mare is a registered Quarter Horse named Alaskan Drift, but Wayne admits her nickname is Witch. The man we bought her from called her that, Wayne laughs. I gather she was a little nasty at times. I do know that she wasn t very trusting when we bought her, and she didn t like people. We had a few go-rounds together, but we put her to work here on the ranch, and after a few wet blankets she started to come around. She s still a great team roping horse, but now you can catch her anywhere, and my kids can safely ride her.
Wayne regrets that he won t be riding Witch at the futurity, instead Tyrel Flewelling, a family friend and professional team roper, will be handling the mare. Tyrel is a young fellow, but he s done a lot of team roping in New Mexico, Wayne says. He knows what the judges look for in the futurities, and he ll do a good job with the mare. I would have liked to have ridden her myself, but I m just too busy at home to work with her every day, and that s what these young horses need.
Wayne recommends anyone who s interested in roping, or even just horses in general, take the opportunity to come to the futurity. People will enjoy it, he says. It s a different kind of horse show one of a kind in Canada. .