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Local cowboy wins acclaim

HUERFANO — Huerfano County resident Brody Taylor went down to Texas last week and did something that no one has done in nearly seventy years. He won every event at the Coyfield Roping, a gathering held twice each year where ropers can showcase their skills, mostly to other cowboys participating in the event. In recent times, it has drawn more participants than spectators, but Taylor says, “The gathering is always epic,” and adds with a smile, “The accomplishment may not be as impressive as it sounds.” Since the early seventies, when the steer roping event was eliminated, the roping has only consisted of two events, team roping and calf roping. Yet, the event attracts many participants from all over the country with varied skill levels and from every age group. “That’s what makes winning anything at all nearly impossible,” he says. There is no recognizable structure to the event. Everyone who shows up is given a chance to showcase their talents if they wish. The top 50 percent in each “round” moves on to the next. It’s a slow and arduous process of

elimination. Apparently no one keeps track of how many competitors there are, nor are records kept from one round to the next. If you are in the top half, you move on and the competition begins again. Of course at first, the top fifty percent is most of the qualifying times, with the others being mostly no-times or penalty runs. But as time wears on, the competition gets stiffer, and you just hope you don’t make a single miss, or you’re out. The team roping is even more precarious. It’s just a matter of the luck of the draw because you compete with a different partner every time through the rotation. That’s why it’s nearly impossible for your skills to prevail until the very end in both events. “One round I was ropin’ with an old guy twice my age, but he could show me a thing or two,” Taylor said, “The codger hit his mark!” During another round, Taylor says his partner was a woman his mother’s age, which age he wouldn’t divulge. During his final round, when it was down to just him, his partner, and another team, he roped with seventeen-year-old Rick Sworenson. Through it all, he came out on top, every time. Taylor grew up in South Dakota, but he spent his summers with his grandparents here on the family property north of La Veta, which he now calls home and where he serves as caretaker of the land. Back then, he spent his Christmases in Texas, and that’s when he was first introduced to The Coyfield. He became involved in the late eighties. Ever since, he’s traveled back to visit relatives and participate in the roping event during the holidays. The Coyfield Roping was begun back in the 1940s by local young ranchers returning from the war. Back then, it was three events, and one participant won all three events two years in a row. He was one of the event’s founders, and back then, the number of competitors was pretty small and the level of competition pretty low. Brody Taylor is the first to win both events since. The event is held twice a year during the weekend between Christmas and New Years and over the Fourth of July weekend.