Prior to Tuesday, Jett Stewart and Jake Orris had never roped together. Two days and five runs later the two were posing for pictures with the saddles they won for being the Total Team Roping 17 and Under #10.5 world champs at the Junior World Finals in Las Vegas.
Stewart, a 15-year-old from Heppner, Oregon, and Orris, a 15-year-old from Bosque, New Mexico, secured the world title with a 5.33-second run in the short go-round Thursday at the Wrangler Rodeo Arena.
“We didn’t know each other until we ran our first steer together,” Stewart said. “On our first run I was late so I screwed that up. But he did his job the whole time.”
Added Orris: “I think it clicked after that first steer.”
Stewart and Orris had a no-time in the first round, but got faster as they got more comfortable with each other in the arena. They had a 7.48 in the second round, followed by a 6.05 and a 5.2 prior to their winning run Thursday that not only won them a world title but also was the fastest time in the round.
Stewart has gotten used to winning in Nevada. The header teamed with Brayden Schmidt to win the #10 team roping at the Hooey Junior BFI Championship in June.
He was expecting to be chasing a world title this week with Nicky Northcott of Stephenville, Texas. But their roping abilities didn’t allow that to happen.
“I made it here with Nicky but we both got our numbers moved up,” Stewart explained. “I’m a 6-header so I needed a 4-healer.”
“The guy I rope with roped with someone else here,” Orris said, “so I didn’t even have a partner.”
He doesn’t expect that to be the case if he makes it back to the Junior World Finals next year.
“We’ll rope again next year here,” Orris said, nodding toward Stewart.
Stewart’s original partner, Northcott, also enjoyed a successful stint in Vegas.
Northcott and Denton Parish of Mineral Wells, Texas, won the average with a five-run time of 41.67 seconds.
“I knew we needed to place in some rounds if we were going to win the world,” Parish said, “but those guys made a great run with a 5.3. We didn’t win the world, but we still won the average.
“It’s Vegas, so it’s all good.”
Arizona’s Kenzie Kelton and Denton Dunning were second in the average with a 42.71.
In Ote Berry’s Junior Steer Wrestling, Landris White of Angleton, Texas, had a 4.6-second run to win the second go-round and first-round winner Gus Franzen of Kearney, Nebraska, leads the average with a two-run time of 9.4 seconds.
Jhet Murphy of Helena, Montana, was second in the second go with a 4.7 and is second in the average with a 10.1. Grant Peterson from Livermore, California, followed up his no-time in the first go with a 5.1 to place third in the second go. Franzen was fourth in the go with a 5.2 and Grant Soileau of Bunkie, Louisiana, was fifth with a 5.6.
Soileau is also third in the average with a 10.4, with Quade Potter from Cambridge, Nebraska, fourth with an 11.7 and White fifth with a 13.6.
Texas cowboys won each of the first three rounds of the Tuf Cooper 15 and Under tie-down roping with Dylan Hancock of San Angelo taking round one with an 8.85-second run, Riley Webb of Denton winning round two with a 7.65 and Curtis Todd of Cameron winning round three with a 9.65.
Jett Van Biezen of Twin Falls, Idaho, leads the average with a three-run time of 38.57 seconds, followed by Travis Staley of Nashville, Georgia, with a 43.46.
The second round of the KK Run for Vegas senior barrel racing saw Katelyn Danzy of Russellville, Arkansas, post the fastest time of the week as she turned the cloverleaf in 13.665 seconds. Skylar Alves of Camarillo, California, was second with a 13.776 and Paityn Berklund is third with a 13.777.
Cashen Turner of Edmond, Oklahoma, leads the average with a two-run time of 27.76 seconds, with Danzy second with a 27.807 and Alves third with a 27.864. Last year’s reserve champion, Madison Murphy of North Fort Myers, Florida, is fourth with a 27.916 and Parker Asam of Murrietta, California, is fifth with a 28.054.
Turner also took the lead in the second round of the KK Run for Vegas pole bending with a 20.312-second run.