Steamboat alumnus and Craig resident cash out at team roping finals in Vegas |

Steamboat alumnus and Craig resident cash out at team roping finals in Vegas

— Steamboat Springs High School 1988 graduate Mike Robson missed out on $80,000 “in the blink of an eye,” as he puts it.

But how’s $220,000 in one team roping competition as a consolation prize?

Well, second place at the World Series of Team Roping Finals in Las Vegas is hardly what cowboys would call “consolation,” but Robson and teammate Gary Rodamel, of Craig, are too busy counting the biggest cash prize they’ve ever received to show much worry of what could have been.

On Dec. 11 at the South Point Arena & Equestrian Center in Las Vegas, Robson and Rodamel scored their big payday in a team roping time of 32.27, exactly two-tenths of a second behind Texans Phillip James Shurden and John Coltharp, who took home the $300,000 grand prize. The total payout was more than $1.7 million.

“That’s, like, a blink of an eye almost,” Robson said. “You always want to win, but when you leave there making that kind of money you shortly forget about that.”

Just to qualify for the World Series of Team Roping Finals, Robson and Rodamel — who have been teamed up off and on since Robson entered the sport in 2006 — had to eclipse a $2,500 earnings minimum, a fraction of what they walked away from the desert with.

But in the grand scheme of the sport, it isn’t exactly a cake walk to reach that $2,500 season, Robson said. He grew up helping on his grandfather’s ranch in Routt County and racing horses before being talked into team roping by his buddies decades later.

Robson, 46, soon realized the sport may have been fun, but it’s not easy, and anything shy of first or second place on the rodeo circuit won’t add up to that qualifying $2,500 very quickly.

“I’ve come a long, long way,” Robson said about his career in team roping. “My friend got me into it saying how much money he won and how much fun it was. I started roping and starting thinking, ‘I could run one horse and make more money than this.’ I didn’t rope right at first. I had a lot of bad habits.”

Robson is the header and Rodamel is the heeler, and the two prepped for the competition in Las Vegas about two weeks ahead in Strasburg, where Robson now lives.

The biggest formula for the pair’s success has been their comfort with each other, Robson said. That success is starting to equal major earnings in their pockets.

And once you taste success on that stage, Robson said, the bar is set as high as ever going forward.

“After you leave the World Series, that’s the goal you set for the next year,” he said. “You say, ‘I’m going to be back.’ With that amount of money, you kind of have to.”

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll

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