The 2022 Wrangler National Finals Breakaway Roping at the South Point Equestrian Center will offer three pens of calves—just like the rest of the NFR’s timed events—coming from Texas producer Dillon Mundorf.
The nearly all black calves were sorted into three pens after the Nov. 28 run through in th South Point, when each of the top 15 got to rope through the set of 65 calves.
“The stronger pen will go first because they get four runs—Rounds 1, 4, 7 and 10,” Lynn Smith, WPRA roping director, said. “We’ll go to the slightly softer ones from that in the second round, fifth round and eighth round. And then the softest pen will be in Rounds 3, 6 and 9. But honestly they’ll all be fairly even.”
Earlier in November, NFBR qualifiers got to run through the calves at the Fightin 7 Arena in Stephenville in a session lined up by 18-time World Champion JJ Hampton earlier this month, Smith said. They set up the boxes, ran a barrier and a neck rope exactly like they will at the South Point, putting the third run on each calf.
“We ran 100, and then brought back 30 to look at a second time and run again,” Smith explained of the break-in process. “From there we picked 65 calves that came here. They’re a little smaller than in 2021, but they’re still nice and even. And they should start leaving sharper as the rounds go on to really showcase the girls.”
Each pen has five extras, labeled in order of preference one through five, with the fives being ones they don’t ever want to have to use, with ones close to the pen they’re in. WPRA World Champion Hope Thompson, Anna Jorgenson and Delaney Kunau will rope through the extras after the performance at Nov. 29 so that they have the same number and type of runs as the rest of the pen.
The start is three-foot under, as standard in WPRA indoor setups. The contestants will also have a 45-second time clock to nod their heads once the arena is clear and the chute crew strings the barrier and has the neck rope in place. Violating that 45-second rule will result in a $250 fine, progressively adding more as time lapses.
“We’re excited to be at the South Point,” Smith added. “This venue is a step up for the progression we’re trying to see in the breakaway roping. The caliber of girls going, you can’t just be placing, you have to win something big to be here now. That’s how tough breakaway has gotten. That’s a testament to how skilled so many girls are.”