Finale III Priefert #11 Amateur Finale Champions
In 2008 Arizona also took home the Priefert #11 championship. Daniel Nowlin a dairy farmer from Casa Grande did the heading for Bob Ferguson a horse trainer and farrier from Eloy. They had a total time of 37.15 to win $160,000. The win didn’t come easily.
Two weeks before the competition Ferguson was roping, he caught his foot on a rail, twisted it backwards and broke his ankle. He had to convince his doctor that he needed to rope, they put a cast on it and he had a special stirrup made to accommodate the cast.
They did a lot of practicing and Ferguson toughed it out in spite of the pain. Nowlin made that possible, he had the arena and plenty of cattle, and they were able to dedicate the time to practice. “I didn’t want to miss this roping,” Ferguson said. “I’m going back to the doctor and get a walking boot, but I’ll have a big smile on my face when I see him. My smile hasn’t gone away yet. That’s a lot of money for me.” Ferguson has a daughter that is a math teacher and another one in college, so the money will be put to good use.
Nowlin and Ferguson were the fourth high callback. They had a clean run at 8.66 seconds and watched and waited as the next three teams made mistakes that gave them the championship. Two Legs and a miss by fello Arizonians Dean Drosos and Scott Hall left them to ponder $160,000.
“After we roped that steer, I knew that we had won something big,” Nowlin said. “It worked out good. This is the biggest thing to happen in my roping career. I was riding three different head horses practicing for this roping and if it wasn’t for Bob Ferguson pushing me to practice I don’t know if we’d have roped as good.”
2008 was a very special year as Thunder EquiGames was introduced to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) crowd and Las Vegas audience. “Thunder EquiGames is the cowboy version of the X Games,” explained announcer Bob Tallman. “The payout here is equivalent to 60% of the total 10-day NFR payout that took fifty years to create”. In addition to the World Series of Team Roping, the Thunder EquiGames featured The Charmayne James Invitational Barrel Race, the World Series of Mounted Shooting, the Rob Smets Freestyle Bullfight, and the Speed Williams Invitational Pro Match Roping.
This was a year of firsts including record- breaking numbers as the WSTR created the largest mid-rage roping ever with the Cactus Pro-Am that paid out $850,000. The Bloomer Trailers #10 Lo-Am was the largest roping in its category ever produced at $944,000 and the Priefert #11 was the second largest roping in the United States this year at $944,000. While checks were paid to ropers from all over the United States, Canada and Mexico, Arizona won the bragging rights this year by capturing two of the three divisional championships.