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WC Roping Duo heads to Nationals

The last time the Weatherford College rodeo team was not represented at the College National Finals Rodeo, Lane Cooper and Kirby Blankenship had yet to enter grade school.

Kirby Blankenship The freshmen duo will compete in team roping for WC in Casper, Wyoming, June 9-16. It is the 14th consecutive year the Coyotes will have competitors at the event.

“Lane and Kirby are both competing very well,” Coyotes coach Johnny Emmons said. “Both compete on a weekly basis, and with their talent usually find the pay window consistently.”

However, Emmons said the streak will not factor into the competition.

“Its rodeo. It’s a new day everyday. The stopwatch doesn’t care how many times you’ve made it, its just up to how good you can be at the time of competition,” he said. “Hopefully, my past experience both as a competitor and coach will help them through some first-time jitters, but, overall, they are both very seasoned competitors, and I think they will be fine.”

The pair won the Southwest Region championship in their event. Individually, Cooper is ranked ninth nationally in team roping-header and Blankenship is tied for 10th in team roping-heeler.

“Being a freshman going into the college finals isn’t a big deal for Lane and me,” Blankenship said. “We have accomplished a lot at the college rodeos and plan to carry it over into the finals—just make the same runs and be smart about it. We rope really good together and I’m hoping for a lot of success at Casper.”

Cooper echoed that sentiment.
Lane Cooper

“To be able to make nationals my freshman year in the number one spot to represent Weatherford College is one of the most rewarding feelings,” he said. “Yes, Kirby and I had to do to the work in the arena, but I cannot thank Coach Johnny enough for all the support in every other aspect of this season. I am honored to be carrying on the WC tradition another year in Casper.”

He also said the chemistry between himself and Blankenship was apparent even before the season.

“Roping at a handful of rodeos prior to starting the college rodeo season, I knew Kirby was a guy I wanted to rope with as our styles complement each other,” Cooper said. “I can give him some of the wildest handles, and I can always count on him to clean up the backside. We are more ready than ever going into Casper, and I can’t wait to finish this season strong with Kirby.”

Emmons said his ropers will be among the favorites after coming out of the always-challenging Southwest Region.

“The competition as always will be stiff, but Lane and Kirby won the biggest and toughest region in college rodeo, and, of course, any team from the Southwest Region will be held in high regard,” Emmons said. “I don’t think they need to make any adjustments going in, just go out and do what they have done most all year and that is rope solid.”