The “who’s who” of Northwest ropers are in town this weekend. Up for grabs is money, a qualification for The American semifinals and the prestige of winning the inaugural Clem Kayser Memorial Roping at the WestStar Arena.

Ellensburg — the longtime host city of the prestigious Ellensburg 5 Header which lasted nearly 40 years — is now host to a roping which will bring calf and breakaway ropers from around the Northwest to rope in honor of Clem and to pocket a little bit of money.

“It definitely was the goal,” event organizer Kaycie Teague said earlier this month of tipping the hat to Kayser. “There’s no better way to honor Clem. She would’ve loved it.”

And the community has already shown its appreciation for the event.

“It’s been easy because of all the sponsors who have contributed,” Teague said. “They’ve helped us out tremendously. Without them we couldn’t have done it at all. People were happy to help because of the Clem Kayser name.”

Ropers immediately flocked to the event as well. As of earlier this week, more than 60 breakaway ropers were entered and 30 calf ropers had thrown their hats in the ring.

“Breakaway roping’s gotten big this year, it’s only going to get bigger,” Teague said. “For the guys, there’s really not a whole lot of opportunities to calf rope up here.”

The opportunities don’t end with go-round and average checks, the chance to enter a side pot to qualify for The American semifinals in Fort Worth is a big draw for both breakaway and calf ropers. Also, the breakaway ropers have a qualification for the Rope for the Crown championship at their fingertips, with the winner qualifying for the year-end event in December in Las Vegas.

Originally from Texas, Teague said breakaway roping in the Northwest is different than that of Texas as scores here are longer, requiring a horse and roper to show patience in watching a calf and giving it a longer lead.

“You have faster times back there because the set up’s faster,” she said. “Up here you have to rope and score good.”

The breakaway field is loaded with talent. Former ProWest Association champions Jordan Minor and Bailey Patterson are signed up, while college rodeo’s top-ranked All-Around cowgirl, Janey Reeves is entered as well.

For the calf ropers, Kass Kayser — the final champion of the Ellensburg 5 Header — will rope, as well as Trey Recanzone of Central Washington University and Preston Pederson of Blue Mountain Community College. Recanzone and Pederson are ranked first and second in college rodeo’s national standings. Longtime circuit ropers such as Shane Erickson, Seth Hopper, Brian West and Jeff Coehlo will be in attendance as well as six-time National Finals Rodeo roper Brad Goodrich.

From a fan perspective, the roping’s going to be solid.

“Most of the time if I’m competing you’ll be watching different things, but as a fan, it’s always fun to see guys show off their stuff and their horsepower, it’ll be a good day of roping.”

This is coming from former CWU roper Jordan Tye, who finished fifth at last year’s College National Finals Rodeo in addition to winning the ProWest Rodeo’s calf roping, team roping header and All-Around titles. He’s also going for the money on Sunday.

“It’ll be a good roping,” he continued. “Kass and Kacie, they got the ball rolling, got some added money and there a lot of people coming up for it. They got a lot of interest. The payout will be good. Cattle will be good.”

It’s not a stretch to assume the average champion in both events, who might pick up a go-round check or two, will leave the arena with $3,000-plus. And for the ladies, Sunday’s earnings count toward the Columbia River Circuit standings.

Things get rolling at 9 a.m., Sunday at the WestStar Arena on Robinson Canyon Road.

“Being at WestStar you couldn’t ask for a better place,” Tye said.

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