Between the WNFR, the trade shows, and everything the city of Las Vegas has to offer, one might ask; “How or what else could elevate this experience to even greater heights?” Nineteen hundred and ninety eight (1998) individual team ropers representing Canada, Mexico, Italy, and the United States competing for unbelievable purses, that’s what!
The top team to the short round, Tyson Campidilli of Vinita, OK and Cody Brown of Oolagah, OK, had to be 8.60 to maintain their number one spot. After the dust settled and the final flag dropped, a time of 7.91 put the capstone on a $200,000 payday for the Oklahoma team. Tyson has been winning a lot in this past year, as he placed a couple of times at the USTRC Finals. Tyson is a switch hitter and is equally comfortable heading as heeling. When we caught up with him following the roping, he was laughing about the fortunes of team roping, “ I was king of the mountain on Wednesday, and on Thursday missed three heel shots in the #11”.
This was the biggest division, the largest payoff ever at a World Series Finale and second only to the WNFR itself. Just like the winners of the #13, this team came in to the short go as number one in the aggregate and solidified their victory with an 8.93 on their final steer. Jake Stephenson of Gouldbust, TX was working the horns for his partner Bobby Simmons of Breckenridge, TX. Simmons is in the oil field construction business, but was a well know PRCA header for many years. Bobby laughed as he waited to take the stage to receive his check and prizes, “Wait ‘til I tell all the boys this. My biggest check ever was roping feet!” Bobby had quit rodeoing in 2004 because he, “ had a horse buck me off and fall on me. He broke my back in two places, my neck and several ribs. I’m happy to be competing, and really enjoyed the cattle, they were very ropeable”.
The second high call team of Michelle Rezzonico of Queen Creek, AZ and partner Shawn Hastings of Gilbert, AZ made an absolutely great run of 8.09 on their last steer and clinched the victory with a 35.51 on four. Michelle was all smiles as she stepped onto the stage at the after party to receive her check for $100,000. “This is awesome!” she said. The pair split $200,000 and took home a truck load of prizes. Michelle who double dipped with her husband in the #11 for an additional $21,000, left Vegas as the biggest winner with $121,000. “I had my number increased a few months ago and I think a lot of this is my little mare. She is out of John McFarland’s great stud ‘Gilligan’.”