The Windy Ryon Memorial Roping’s marquee tie-down roping match was a showdown between a veteran and an up-and-comer.
The veteran was 40-year-old Justin Maass, a cowboy from Giddings who has earned eight berths to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. The up-and-comer was 20-year-old Marty Yates of Stephenville, who lassoed his first NFR back number last year.
The Saturday afternoon match was unusually close going into the final round with a margin of only two one-hundredths of a second separating the two ropers. After both men had made seven runs, Yates led the aggregate race, 80.29 to 80.31 seconds.
In Round 8, Maass turned in a solid time of 9.66, which meant that Yates had to be 9.67 or faster to win. Though Yates completed his run in 9.51, he received a 10-second penalty for breaking the barrier, which meant he did not give the calf the designated head start.
Maass clinched the title with an eight-run aggregate time of 89.97, and Yates finished second with a 99.80.
“This is the closest match that I’ve had in a while,” Maass said. “I just kept thinking: Don’t make mistakes.”
Maass received a winner-take-all $5,000 check for winning the match.
“I just had to be as fast as I could be because he’s so fast,” Maas said of Yates.
Though Yates lost the match, he was fast during the 40-man invitational roping. After turning in a time of 7.49 in the final round, Yates finished second in the average/aggregate race with a three-run time of 23.61.
Former National Finals qualifier Timber Moore, who grew up in Ponder and lives in Aubrey, won the invitational roping title with a 22.53 after turning in a final-round time of 7.35.
“I had to be 8.4 to win and I wasn’t planning on being 7.3, but it just worked out that way” Moore said of his final-round performance. “Overall, I drew three really good calves. If you draw a bad calf here, you don’t have a chance to win.”
The 7.35 was the fastest time during the 12-man final round. Moore also finished in the money in both the first and second rounds after turning in a 7.68 and a 7.50. After placing in all three rounds and the average, Moore earned $9,860.
Georgia cowboy Tim Pharr won the first round with a 7.23 and Sterling Smith of Stephenville paced the second-round field with a 7.00.
Other cowboys who finished high in the average race behind Moore (22.53) and Yates (23.61) were Catfish Brown, who placed third (23.97 seconds); Cole Bailey, who came in fourth (25.43); and Chase Williams, who wound up fifth (25.48).
Earlier in the day, fans watched world class break-away ropers. Katey Jo Anthony clinched the title after turning in a three-run time of 7.19. Deven Riggins finished second with a 7.32 and Lari Dee Guy came in third with a 7.78.
The 42nd Ryon Roping concludes its three-day run Sunday with team roping and steer roping competitions.
The 1 p.m. Invitational Steer Roping is the marquee event.
Former world champions Scott Snedecor and Rocky Patterson are among the field of 40 credentialed contestants.