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April 24, 2014

Velma teens win roping competition

VELMA — Two Velma teenagers have claimed victory again this year in a statewide roping competition.

 After a successful run last year, Brodie Williams and Tyler Ray won the Heart of Oklahoma Youth Rodeo Association (HOYRA) competition at the Lazy-E in Guthrie.

Williams, an eighth grader, and Ray, who’s in the 11th grade, competed in the 14- to 18-year-old team roping competition.

 This is Williams’ third consecutive year to take first in heel team roping, and Ray’s second consecutive year to win the heel team roping.

In the two years prior, Williams won the 13 and under competition, making this his first victory in the 14 to 18 category.

“We were winning all year,” Williams said. “I wasn’t worried about going into the finals. They couldn’t catch us.”

Ray said he was excited to win.

Each took  home a belt buckle for their efforts. This year, the Velma duo not only won team roping, but the average, too.

As a roping team, they pulled further ahead of  their  competitors than they did last year.

It took years of hard work and a love of roping.

“We’ve spent lots of time practicing,” Williams said. “There’s a lot of repetition, doing over and over again. It’s something you’ve got to take serious, like anything you want to do well in.”

 Aside from hard work, they said their victory can be attributed to a good support system and a well-trained horse.

Much of the support comes from their families and friends. Both have grown up in roping competitions. Williams’ dad and uncle have spent years roping and riding.

Having a well-trained horse isn’t something that happens overnight. Ray said the rider has to work closely with his horse to be successful in any competition.

“I couldn’t do it without my pony,” Ray said. “You have to have him trained to do what you need him to do.”

Ray has been competing since he was 10 years old, noting his grandfather and brother as inspirations for competing. This was his second year to compete in the HOYRA contest.

Williams said additional support came from  roping teammates.

“The guys you rope with are the ones you feel most comfortable with,” Williams said.

Ray described winning the competition as being “pretty sweet.” For the two Velma youths, roping is a way of life. And winning for something they love to do is just additional encouragement to keep improving their skills and to continue  competing.

Williams would like to be as good as dad and uncle, but that’s not his prime motivation.

He does it simply because he enjoys it.

“It’s a blast,” Ray explained. “That’s my hobby . . . roping.”

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