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By Brent Baker
PUYALLUP, Wash. – Unlike the local NFL team, one local cowboy actually performed well in Washington Sunday.
Former Weatherford College rodeo athlete Clif Cooper earned the biggest win of his pro career when he roped a calf in 8.0 seconds in the final round of the Justin Boots Playoffs Sept. 12 at the Puyallup (Wash.) Fair and Events Center.
Cooper, a Decatur native, won $13,500 overall and moved from 18th to seventh place in Wrangler Million Dollar Tour Standings, assuring him a spot in the Justin Boots Championships, Sept. 23-25 in Omaha, Neb.
“I was thinking, ‘I won it. I can’t believe it. I won it!” he told prorodeo.com. “Guys started giving me high-fives…I couldn’t believe it. It is just now starting to sink in.”
The top 24 qualifiers from the Wrangler Million Dollar Tour advanced to the Justin Boots Playoffs. The top 12 in the tour are now qualified for the championships in Omaha.
Because of the performance, Cooper left western Washington with tour total money of $31,186 and much closer to his first National Finals Rodeo qualification.
In his college career at WC, Cooper won two consecutive National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Southwest Region championships and two College National Finals berths in tie-down roping from 2007-2009. He is continuing his family’s success in the event, as his father and grandfather are past calf roping champions.
The finals of the Justin Boots Playoffs will be broadcast Oct. 17 at 4 p.m. CST on ESPN2, followed by the Justin Boots Championship broadcast at 5 p.m., also on ESPN2. Replays of both Puyallup and Omaha broadcasts will be shown on ESPN Classic and ESPN2.