A cool and crisp Saturday morning broke into the finest day of weather on record for the 64th Annual Cinch Roping Fiesta. With a 40-man field of the world's best ropers set to take the arena, at 1:00 p.m. the roping started on the clock. The play-by-play was done by announcing legend and statistician Curt Robinson. The three full go-rounds would determine a 12-man short go vying for the tile of "Fiesta Champion."
In the first go Caleb Smidt made it very clear he was here not only to compete in the match roping with Ryan Jarrett, but to make his mark on the invitational roping as well by winning the first go with a 9.82. Familiar names like Cooper, Smith, and Yates were right behind him. Each go-round pays out a healthy $8,450 and the average winners share just over $26,000. The total roping payout is $60,000 for a few seconds of work.
In the short go the final 7 contestants kept it suspenseful with only two seconds separating the field to make it almost anyone's game. Previous Fiesta Champion Tyson Durfey came from the sixth place position and applied the pressure to the top of the field. Marcus Costa followed suit and then Reese Riemer backed in the box as the second high call back only a 1/2 second behind Smidt.
Riemer didn't come in unannounced. He had already won $3,500 in the previous go's and got down to business chasing the $10,000 title. He put up a 10.17 run to have a 43.63 on four head. Smidt had to be 10.54 to win and he drew a tough calf that broke to the outside and, while manageable, was not the calf to clinch the title, but an 11.53 on this final calf put him in second for an $8,000 reserve showing. Reese Riemer is the 2017 Invitational Cinch Roping Fiesta Champion taking home over $13,000 for just under 44 seconds of hard work.
2017 Match Roping Smidt vs. Jarrett
In perfect weather the crowd favorite 12-head match roping between Caleb Smidt and Ryan Jarrett began an new era for the Roping Fiesta. It was the first match in 20 years not to have the name, "Cody Ohl" in it's title. This day was an impressive display of roping talent from start to finish. Ryan Jarrett was the first man out and had to, unfortunately, use two loops to start off the match with a 29.95 on his first calf. Smidt was nothing but business the rest of the match by starting with a 13.77 on his first calf. With a gap to make up, Jarrett worked it down to a 12.21 spread after 4 head. Then with a 25.48 on his fifth calf, Jarrett's only hope of reprieve would be an error on Smidt's after they alternated calves to complete the match. It never came to be as Smidt roped a business man's match and made no mistakes or errors the rest of the match. A long set of 17 and 19 second runs on Smidt's 9th and 10th calf had no bearing on the end result with 172.49 on 12 head to Jarrett's 204.70 time. Caleb Smidt wins the World's Richest Match Roping, Match buckle, and $20,000 dollar winner take all pot. A good day for Smidt when his daily winnings from all the ropings totaled $31,300. Most importantly, he earns the right to challenge Ryan Jarrett in 2018 for the advantage of being a two-year incumbent.