The 41st Annual edition of the world’s richest professional team roping—the Bob Feist Invitational (BFI) in Reno, Nevada—is just a few weeks away, June 18-21, and the roster is set.
The BFI itself kicks things off on Monday, as always, showcasing the world’s best 100 professional teams competing over six rounds for more than $800,000 in cash and prizes. Standing alone as the richest Open roping in the country, the BFI will be broadcast live on wranglernetwork.com and is annually held in conjunction with the Reno Rodeo.
This year’s roping will again feature two BFI cowboys who’ve entered all 41 editions of the prestigious BFI—Dennis Watkins and Mike Beers. Watkins will heel this year for Caden Clay, while Beers hopes for a six-figure payday with Jace Johnson. Honorable mentions, of course, go to Walt Woodard heeling for Matt Sherwood at his 40th BFI, and Clay Cooper who will back in for Spencer Mitchell at his 39th.
As always, a handful of young guns will try their luck for the first time in Reno. Those include Kellan Johnson heading for his world-champ dad, Jhett, and Tanner Green joining his uncle Daniel at the BFI as he heads for Forrest Fisher. The roster also boasts some exciting new matchups, including Jake Barnes heading for Rich Skelton (that’s 15 collective gold buckles), Derrick Begay for Jade Corkill, and Aaron Tsinigine for Trey Yates.
On June 19, the world’s best amateur ropers will compete in the #11 Reno Million Invitational, which last year saw Arizona husband-wife duo Peg and Jim Williams come from the seventh call-back position to win $200,000 cash plus a trailer-load of prizes. This year, the champs will need to find space to take home new Polaris Rangers, as well.
Following the sophomore edition of the #12 High Desert Showdown on Wednesday will be the inaugural Hooey BFI Junior Championships. The ropings for the under-17 crowd filled up early, and should pay the champs $15,000, plus the legendary BFI prizeline. Kids from across the country are warming up for the #10, and in the Jr. Open, fans will want a great seat to see the teenagers go at it—including the team of Britt Smith of Oklahoma and Carson Johnson of Wyoming.
Wrangler BFI Week will also again host the world’s richest all-girl team roping the following day (it paid the 2017 winners $41,000), including a high-stakes breakaway jackpot in its second year, with a bevy of prizes and Charlie 1 Horse sponsorship.
The week’s total event lineup includes the BFI (June 18), the #12 High Desert Showdown and Hooey BFI Junior Championships (June 20), and the Charlie 1 Horse All-Girl Challenge (June 21). Including the Reno Rodeo and payoffs at the week’s additional amateur WSTR competitions off-site, the collective athlete purse during Wrangler BFI Week nears $3.6 million.
For more information, visit www.bfiweek.com.
Photo by Olie’s Images.