Bret Beach has become synonymous with team roping over the years. The Boerne, Texas, cowboy was a three-time qualifier to the National Finals Rodeo, teamed with Clay O’Brien Cooper to dominate jackpot rodeos in the 1980s and now helps young team ropers learn the tricks of the trade through his TotalTeamRoping.com website.
In other words, if there’s something to do with team roping, chances are Beach is involved in one way or another. That will be the case again in December when Beach oversees 30 of the best youth team ropers in the country at the Junior World Finals in Las Vegas. This year’s event, scheduled for Dec. 5-14 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, will mark the fourth time Beach has been in charge of the team roping in Vegas. And he knows how much the Junior World Finals means to those kids lucky enough to qualify for the event.
“These kids want to be in Vegas in December,” Beach said. “There is so much happening in Vegas that week that these kids can’t wait to get there. And for these kids, getting to Vegas is what it’s all about.”
This year’s Junior World Finals (previously known as the Junior National Finals Rodeo) promises to be bigger and better than in years past, with changes both in and out of the Wrangler Rodeo Arena.
Those changes extend to team roping, which will take place along with the other timed events – barrel racing, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, breakaway roping, barrel racing and pole bending – on Dec. 10-14.
“This year is going to be great because we will have a true short round (in team roping),” Beach said. “So we will have four full rounds and then the last round will be the finals.
“We just keep changing things a little bit every year trying to find that perfect combination of what everyone likes. I listen to the parents and the kids, but mainly the parents because the kids just want to rope.”
Other changes in team roping took place even before the 30 qualifying teams – 15 teams in the 17 and Under #10 division and 15 in the 17 and Under Open division – get to Vegas.
Unlike in years past, teams could punch their tickets to the Junior World Finals by winning one qualifier during the year instead of having to make the cut based on their year-end point totals. After all, team roping can be an expensive and time-consuming endeavor.
“We realized that some kids just couldn’t travel to all these qualifiers, so we tried to be really cognizant of that,” Beach said. “To me, there was a little bit more excitement for the kids when they got to those qualifiers; it generated a little bit more excitement in those particular events.”
And if kids failed to qualify at one event they always had the option to try their luck at another qualifier. Beach believes the kids, and their parents, have been appreciative of the changes.
“It’s been a really good turnout at the qualifiers,” he said. “The qualifiers have gone really well and we’re getting close to getting the field set and everybody partnered up.”
The kids aren’t the only ones looking forward to the Junior World Finals. Beach admits that each year presents new challenges, but he’s excited to get to Vegas and once again work with Las Vegas Events and Bo Gardner, Vice President-Corporate Marketing for Las Vegas Events.
“Bo has been unbelievable to work with,” Beach said. “He has been the easiest person I have ever had to deal with as far as something like this is concerned. Because there is a lot riding on this and they put a lot on it. He’s been really, really good about trying to accommodate everyone and he’s been upfront about everything.
“I’m just excited to get to Vegas and see what is in store for us this year.”