The American Buckle Magazine 2021 World Finals Edition is finally here! As this rodeo season comes to an end, rodeo fans may one day look back on 2021 as the greatest year in rodeo history. The impressive performances make it clear these athletes are focused on making their mark in history.
In this issue, we sit down with tie-down roper Shane Hanchey to talk about his life as a rodeo athlete. It’s been an eventful year for Hanchey, the 12-time NFR tie-down roping finalist who finished first in the 2021 PRCA regular season. In addition to having one of the best seasons of his career, he married barrel racer and breakaway roper Taylor Jacob (now Taylor Hanchey), grew his Cajun food trailer business and hosted the biggest Shane Hanchey Invitational to date.
Breakaway roping is one of the fastest-growing sports in rodeo. The women of the professional breakaway circuit are no doubt among the best in the world. Many of the biggest brands in rodeo see a bright future for breakaway. Earlier this year, Smarty Roping, the go-to name behind the best roping machines on the market, acquired Elite Custom Saddles in a bid to leverage Elite’s top-quality production and provide superior standard saddle options under the Smarty Saddlery name. Breakaway roper Shelby Boisjoli, who is headed to the Wrangler National Finals Breakaway Roping (NFBR) first place in the 2021 standings and is sponsored by both companies, recently worked with Elite to design a custom, handcrafted saddle to suit her personal needs as a competitor. Breakaway ropers often use calf roping saddles that saddlemakers typically design for male builds. However, Boisjoli’s one-of-a-kind saddle highlights why saddlemakers should consider women’s preferences as breakaway continues to grow in popularity.
After the conclusion of the 2021 PBR World Finals in Las Vegas, words like “historic,” “record-breaking,” and “G.O.A.T.” (Greatest of All Time) were some of the adjectives being spread around the world. 2020 PBR World Champion José Vitor Leme headed into the World Finals with roughly a 600-point lead over Kaique Pacheco and Cooper Davis, both of whom were also in the hunt. From the beginning of the season, Leme battled through injuries and setbacks to earn a record-breaking 24 90-point rides by the time he won his second consecutive gold buckle. He gave rodeo fans the finale of a lifetime in Round 6 when he pulled off one of the greatest eight-second rides in history, earning 98.75 points on YETI’s 2021 World Champion Bull, WooPaa.
Rodeo sports may be largely solitary, but no rider or roper should have to face personal challenges alone. That’s the philosophy behind the Western Sports Foundation (WSF), a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of the nation’s riders and ropers. WSF seeks to enhance rodeo athletes’ health and mental well-being through initiatives such as financial assistance for injured rodeo athletes, scholarships, wellness programs, support for those in need of mental health services, addiction treatment and much more. We sit down with three rodeo athletes who share deeply personal stories of how WSF’s work has impacted their lives.
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Stop by our distributing partners available at Cowboy Christmas at The Best Hat Company Store/American Hat Company booth #1313, or you can also visit Smarty Roping booth’s Cinch Western Gift Show at South Point Casino, Rope for the Crown at Plaza Hotel & Casino Patriot Las Vegas, at Horseman’s Park 👀