Team stringing enhances camaraderie
By Susan Kanode for American Military Celebration (AMC)
FORT WORTH, Texas (November 7, 2022) – What began in 2016 as a team stringing school has grown into a four-day event that includes a spectacular stringing competition.
Charly Crawford’s idea for a free rope school for the military turned into the Hillwood Land and Cattle American Military Celebration presented by Douglas Allred Company. It’s an extravaganza of stringing and fundraising activities.
This year it all started at the NRS Arena in Decatur, Texas with the Horns N’ Heroes Roping School for Military and First Responders, sponsored by Garrett/Gowan, Joplin Stockyards, Integrity Team Roping Production and J5 Quarter Horses. There were two days of learning with Crawford leading the headers and Trey Johnson leading the hookers followed by friendly competition. It was all preparation for Friday’s Preliminary Military Roping sponsored by Flat Tail Ranch and Driver Land & Cattle.
Many of today’s top professional ropers competed in Friday’s Open Roping sponsored by Javelin. Then, these same pros paired military and first responders in Mil/Pro Roping sponsored by Kinetic Vet and Quanta. On Saturday, the action moved to Cowtown Coliseum in Fort Worth for the NFR Showdown sponsored by JPMorgan Chase. The final activity was the AMC Gala at Billy Bob’s Texas 81 Club, where a live auction was held.
“It amazes me how people reacted to this event,” Crawford said. “I started as a way to give back. Little did I know that I was gaining a new family. From our corporate partners to our participants, it became a brotherhood.
Three years ago, AMC used its event as a fundraiser for charities that support those who serve. This year, $160,000 was raised. It will support Building Homes for Heroes which has received approximately $200,000 over the past two years. In 2022 they also added the Fort Worth chapter of Brotherhood For the Fallen.
The Mil/Pro saw 21-year-old Andrew Shelton head into Trey Yates for the win. The $3,800 doesn’t compare to Shelton’s experience. He grew up in Blanco, Texas, joined the military, deployed to the Middle East, and returned in September. He’s now in the Army Reserves and studying at Texas A&M University.
“I don’t really do rope,” Shelton said. “I did it when I was younger and heard about it and had to come. It’s pretty cool how you get paired up with the pro guys. Luckily for me, my brother was training and had a horse for me. It’s just awesome.
At the heel, it was JR Berry who found himself behind Kaleb Driggers for the victory. Berry has been a firefighter for 18 years. He’s a lieutenant in Blanco County. When Texas was hit in the spring by major grass fires, he was on 107 of them. Berry used the lessons he learned from Johnson in school to help him get the win.
“Lassoing these professional guys and seeing how they handle cattle was amazing,” he said. “It was a ton of fun. I learned a lot from Trey’s school. The guys at the fire station are going to be very excited.
In the Open Roping, Driggers won home checks in the top three places and two of them were for heeling. He won first place with Jr. Dees in the lead, worth $6,300 to the team. Then he got the second place in the direction of the Brazilian Vitor De Silva. His third place came behind Cory Kidd.
When the action began at the Cowtown Coliseum, there were 13 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo teams as well as two Open Roping teams. Between the pro rounds, the top 15 in Military First Responder Roping had their finals. And just for fun, the Wrangler-sponsored Stray Gathering finale was held. It involved teams of four people who had to string, tie, herd and herd three steers. The big lasso winners were Shawn Carrell and Justin Long who each won $10,000, along with Elite saddles and Legend Tack and Silver buckles. Carrell and Long first met on Friday and will now be lifelong friends. Just for fun, competitors also took part in the Wrangler-sponsored Stray Gathering.
“Not only is this the first saddle I’ve won, it’s also my first check,” said Carrell, who is a game warden in New Mexico. “I just started doing rope about 10 months ago and I can’t tell you how amazing it is.”
Justin, who is a lineman, started coming to the event three years ago. He volunteered during this year’s clinic and participated in 2020. “I learned so much from Charly and Trey,” he said. “It’s a good thing they have and I come every year.”
The final results of the NFR competition again saw Driggers on top, but this time it was with regular partner Jr. Nogueira. They were one of three teams that made it through all five races and split $20,000 for first place.
“Sometimes we take it for granted that what we do every day is something that a lot of these guys are passionate about as well,” Driggers said. “We are eternally indebted to them, so being able to play with them gives us a chance to give a little back. It’s incredible. I love everything about this rope, but especially having the chance to interact with people that we normally wouldn’t have. Seeing the smiles on their faces is what’s really important to me.
Full results from the 2022 US Military Celebration.
The money is per man –
Mil/Pro Roping Heading: (Three total) 1, Andrew Shelton, $3,800, roping with Trey Yates, 22.54 seconds. 2, Emily Gately, $3,200/Jr. Dees, 22.72. 3, Cole Turner, $2,500 / Brye Crites, 22.77. 4, Dakota Lindboe, $1,900/Jr. Dees, 23.42. 5, Jerrod Miller, $1,300 / Cory Petska, 23.58. Round 1:1, Justin Long, $1,000 / Coleby Payne, 6.77. 2, Scott Tripp, $500/Travis Graves. Round 2: Duane Boone, $1,000/Coleby Payne, 5.23/Coleby Payne. 2, Jerrod Miller, $500/Cory Petska, 5.98.
Mil/Pro Roping Heeling: (total of three) 1, Kaleb Driggers/JR Berry, $4,200, 29.56. 2, Tyler Wade/Dan Hernandez III, $3,100, 31.62. 3, Chad Masters/Clint Davis, $2,100, 32.17, $2,100. 4, Jake Orman/Jim Bay, $1,050, 35.09. First round: 1, Tanner Tomlinson/Duane Boone, $1,000, 6.86. 2, Clint Summers/Jimmy Blake, $500, 8.69. Second round: Lightning Aguilera/Marty McLaughlin, $1,000, $6.56. 2, Chad Masters/Clint Davis, $500, 6.08.
The money is per team–
Open Roping: (total over five) 1, Jr. Dees/Kaleb Driggers, 32.20, $6,300. 2, Kaleb Driggers/Vitor de Silva, 32.67, $5,300. 3, Cory Kidd V/Kaleb Driggers, 33.79, $4,250. 4, Dustin Egusquiza/Travis Graves, 34.02, $3,200. 5, JC Flake/Tyler Worley, 34.92, $2,200. Fast Time Short Go: 1, Laramie Allen/Truman Magnus, 6.50, $1,000
NFR Showdown: (total out of five) 1, Kaleb Driggers/Jr. Nogueira, 28.82, $20,000. 2, Tyler Wade/Trey Yates, 28.91, $10,000. 3, Cody Snow/Wesley Thorp, 31.88, $8,000. (of four) 4, Jr. Dees/Levi Lord, 22.85, $6,000. 5, Coleman Proctor/Logan Medlin, 24.60, $4,000. (of three)6, Dustin Egusquiza/Travis Graves, 16.99, $1,000. Round 1: 1, Clay Smith/Jake Long, 4.41, 3,000. 2, Tyler Wade/Trey Yates, 4.42, $2,000. 3, Coleman Proctor/Logan Medlin, 4.46, $1,000. Round 2: 1, Dustin Eguisquiza/Travis Graves, 3.72, $3,000. 2, Coleman Proctor/Logan Medlin, 4.23, $2,000. 3, Clay Smith/Jake Long, 4.31, $1,000. Round 3: 1, Jr. Dees/Levi Lord, 5.81, $3,000. 2, Tyler Wade/Trey Yates, 5.93, $2,000. 3, Kaleb Driggers/Jr. Nogueira, 9.63, $1,000. Round 4: 1, Lightning Aguilera/Jonathan Torres, 3.91, $3,000. 2, Tanner Tomlinson/Patrick Smith, 4.08, $2,000. 3, Clay Tryan/Jade Corkill, 4.19, $1,000. Round 5: 1, Dustin Egusquiza/Travis Graves, 3.51, $2,000. 2, Cody Snow/Wesley Thorp, 3.76, $2,000. 3, Lightning Aguilera/Jonathan Torres, 3.88, $1,000.
About the American Military Celebration – American Military Celebration (AMC) is a 501c3 non-profit organization created by professional team Charly Crawford. AMC produces Western lifestyle events for veterans, retired and serving personnel, and first responders. Events promote leadership and teamwork while encouraging camaraderie, building support systems and creating memories. Through these events, fundraising opportunities are used for charities that support the needs of our heroes.