The longest dry spell in Jimmie Cooper's brief ProRodeo career came to a screeching halt at the end of July.
The rookie cowboy from Stephenville, Texas, teamed up with his twin brother Jake to win $4,000 each at the Days of '47 in Salt Lake City and followed that by winning the all-around title and the team roping aggregate crown at the Days of '76 Rodeo in Deadwood, S.D. (July 29-Aug. 1), bringing home an additional $4,426.
Cooper hadn't won a big check since the early spring. For a lot of cowboys, that would have been a tough stretch to handle. But Cooper is wiser than most 20-year-olds, especially in the ways of ProRodeo.
He attributes that mainly to his father, Jimmie Sr., who won the world all-around championship in 1981.
"He just tells us to be patient and let things happen," Jimmie said.
As sage as that advice is, it is sometimes tough for a rookie cowboy to follow. But the Coopers listened to their father, and now their patience is being rewarded with some nice paychecks.
The Coopers opted to turn pro this year and, just like all young cowboys, they have had to do their share of learning.
"When you first come out, you see all these great ropers, and you want to go out and beat them," Jimmie said. "But you have to learn to stay within yourself and rope your style. When you do that, more often than not, you'll win."
It's a lesson the Coopers learned the hard way.
"It's like you have to lose before you figure it out," Jimmie said.
Yet, they also have adapted quickly, perhaps because the brothers have each other. The Coopers have roped together since the two were 12. That allegiance will never be broken.
While their team-roping venture is starting to pay off, so is Jimmie's desire to expand his roping skills to tie-down roping.
The Coopers roped their way to the team roping aggregate title in Deadwood, S.D., tying for first place in Round 1 with a run of 5.6 seconds, placing third in Round 2 at 5.7 and finishing with a two-head total of 11.3 seconds. They earned $3,952 each.
Jimmie also tied for sixth in Round 1 of the tie-down roping competition.
For Jimmie, winning the team roping title was special, but capturing the all-around crown was even more so.
"I'll always be a team roper," Jimmie said, "but I'm trying to be a tie-down roper, too."
Thanks to their recent surge, Jake now is ranked No. 20 in the world team roping heading standings and Jimmie climbed to No. 23 in the world team roping heeling standings with $19,973.
"It's nice to get some good news," Jimmie said.
Yet, he downplayed his skill in the win in Deadwood.
"I drew really well in the first round of the tie-down roping," Jimmie said. "They had some really good steers and we drew really well in the team roping, too."
That doesn't sound like a rookie talking. One more sign that Cooper and his brother are learning quickly.
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