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Team Roping

Kirchner and Thompson take $160K career win at 46th BFI

The following story will also include complete results from the 46th Bob Feist Invitational Team Roping. All photos provided by Andersen CBarC.

Kendra Santos for the Bob Feist Invitational

GUTHRIE, Oklahoma, April 5, 2023 – Curry Kirchner and Tyson Thompson had the biggest day of their young team-roping careers at the 46th annual Bob Feist Invitational for professionals on April 1 and, thanks to this year’s unprecedented 100 percent payback, have a record $160,000 to show for it.

Kirchner, 24, and Thompson, 25, roped six steers in 45.38 seconds to take center stage at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Oklahoma. 

“The BFI is the biggest roping there is,” said Kirchner, 24, who works alongside his dad, Robert, at Myrl Mortenson’s cattle operation about an hour and 15 minutes northwest of Guthrie in Ames, Oklahoma. “To just be able to compete in this roping is great. To even think about winning it is crazy. What’s funny is that I didn’t feel any pressure in the short round. I felt super calm, like just go out there and do my job and see what happens.”

Kirchner and Thompson—who were awarded Coats Saddles, Gist Buckles, Resistol Hats and Hat Pacs, YETI Coolers, Best Ever Pads, Justin Boots, B&W Hitches, Equinety and BFI Wine on top of that cool $160,000—were the fourth callback in the finals behind rodeo greats Clint Summers and Cory Petska, Coleman Proctor and Logan Medlin, and Brandon Beers and Daniel Braman. 

“This is absolutely my biggest win by far,” said Thompson, 25, who lives in tiny Munday, Texas about an hour north of Abilene. “The biggest one before this was winning the #11 Shootout heeling for Wesley Thorp at the 2012 USTRC Finals. Wesley headed for me at the high school rodeos, too.”

Kirchner and Thompson were 6.66 on their last run over the 21-foot head start for steers at the BFI, giving them a six-steer time of 45.38 seconds. Beers and Braman were 7.80 on their last one, and finished the reserve champs. Proctor missed. Then Summers and Petska ran down a runner in 8.70, which landed them third in the average at roping’s end. 

“You have to ride that fine line here at the BFI, because you have to stay aggressive without stepping on your own toes,” Kirchner said. “I’ve learned from past experience that safetying up is not the answer. I never worry about Tyson when we rope, and I wasn’t worried about him all day long here today. I know if I do my job there aren’t going to be any issues back there with Tyson.”

Thompson is entered up at the California spring rodeos with fellow Texan Jace Bland, but sure has fun roping with Kirchner. 

“Curry and I have entered together a handful of times, and have had really good luck,” Thompson said. “We won second twice together at the Junior Patriot a few years ago. It seems like we just win every time we enter together. I love roping with him.”

Thompson’s having a breakthrough season all the way around in 2023. He got to heel for his brother Kreece at San Antonio, and won a little money in his bracket with his other brother, Chace, in his RodeoHouston debut. And this was the year the Thompson Ranch won it all at the RodeoHouston Ranch Rodeo. 

“This has literally been a fairytale year,” Tyson said. “My family’s Thompson Ranch team—my brother Chace, Uncle Tyler, Chad Williams, Colton Burnett and me—finally won the ranch rodeo at Houston. Houston is the biggest ranch rodeo, and the greatest ranch rodeo by a ton. And now I get to win the BFI? Wow.”

With his horse temporarily sidelined, Kirchner’s been gratefully bumming a ride on a 13-year-old sorrel from his friend Jeff Tebo since December. 

“I call him Memphis, and he’s a big running-bred horse,” Kirchner said. “Jeff’s been kind enough to let me ride him this winter, and he was outstanding here today. He caught up so fast, and was so easy to handle steers on. These long setups fit him really good.” 

Thompson rode his 7-year-old sorrel horse Shoppa.

Shoppa’s so calm and easy to rope on,” Thompson said. “He acts like he’s an old horse. He’s never in my way. He did a great job today.”

This was not the first time the BFI has blessed the Thompson family in a big way. Tyson’s dad, Todd, won $90,000 at last year’s BFI #12.5 Oilfield Classic heeling for Chick Wilfong, who won $90,000 of his own. 

“I don’t even know how to narrow down how big a deal winning the BFI is to me,” Tyson said. “When we got to the short round, that was a big deal. I thought if we could just catch one at a big roping like the BFI and finish in the top four, that would be a major accomplishment. To actually win it against guys like Cory Petska, Kory Koontz and Wesley Thorp—I can’t believe I’ve won a roping they’ve won.

“Cory Petska is a hero of mine. I give all the credit for my heeling to my dad and Wesley. I’ve gotten to spend some time with Kory the last couple years, and that guy can teach you stuff even when you golf with him. He’s just a cool person, and is always there to help you, even when you aren’t asking for it.”

Clint Summers’ 11-year-old bay Joe and Logan Medlin’s 7-year-old bay Cantina were named Head and Heel Horse of the BFI, respectively. Powered by Dixon Flowers Rope Horses, the Horse of the BFI winners’ sculptures were created by Steve Miller of Lost Prairie Art & Bronze. The winners also received Dixon Flowers horse blankets, Best Ever Pads and $500.

“Joe always scores and runs super hard, and he worked outstanding today,” said Wrangler National Finals Rodeo switch-ender Summers. “He’s very easy to handle cattle on, and I’m planning to ride him outside this summer. To win this award is a pretty special deal to me.” 

Medlin has a pair of bay aces with stars on their foreheads and snips on their noses. There’s his 2020-21 Heel Horse of the Year, Drago, and then there’s his 2022 Heel Horse of the BFI, Cantina. Medlin bought Cantina, who’s 7 now, from the Tongue River Ranch the end of his 4-year-old year. Cantina looks just enough like Drago that even some of the Top 15 didn’t notice when he subbed him in during last December’s NFR from Round 4 on, when Drago needed to take a break. 

“Cantina’s still a little green, but he’s really stepped up,” Medlin said. “It’s hard to get off of a horse you know so well to get on a green one, but I actually like to jackpot on Cantina better than Drago. Cantina’s answered the call.”

Kirchner said he grew up watching BFI tapes, and still watches them today. 

“We won life-changing money here today, and I’m trying to build a place and get more head horses,” he said. “This hasn’t really all sunk in just yet, but I have plenty of places to go with this money.”

“I still have tags on a pickup I just bought,” Thompson added. “I’m ready to put a bunch of rodeo miles on it, and now I can get it paid for, too. Between that and my horse addiction, this money will come in very handy. 

“There’s so much hype and prestige at the BFI, and the way they make you feel at this roping is unlike any other. They use spotlights, and the announcers know all the stats. The radio is blaring. This roping feels like a rodeo, and you’re in it every run. They get you in the zone at the BFI, and it’s a pretty fun place to be.”

Complete Results of 46th BFI

First Round:  1. Ty Blasingame and Brandon Bates, 6.41 seconds, $8,000; 2. Tyler Wade and Travis Graves, 6.94 seconds, $6,000; 3. Coleman Proctor and Logan Medlin, 7.29 seconds, $4,000; 4. Brandon Beers and Daniel Braman, 7.45 seconds, $2,000. Second Round:  1. Paul David Tierney and Tanner Braden, 6.14 seconds, $8,000; 2. Guy Howell and Riley Curuchet, 6.41 seconds, $6,000; 3. Ben Jordan and Scott Lauaki, 6.50 seconds, $4,000; 4. Cash Duty and Sid Sporer, 6.69 seconds, $2,000; 5. Third Round:  1. Justin Pruitt and Gralyn Elkins, 5.53 seconds, $8,000; 2. Trey Begay and Cody Lansing, 5.60 seconds, $6,000; 3. Cory Kidd and Lane Mitchell, 5.64 seconds, $4,000; 4. Cyle Denison and Cole Curry, 5.74 seconds, $2,000. Fourth Round:  1. Clint Peverley and Levi Pettigrew, 5.27 seconds, $8,000; 2. Matt Sherwood and Billie Jack Saebens, 5.68 seconds, $6,000; 3. Kolton Schmidt and Max Kuttler, 5.93 seconds, $4,000; 4. Casey Hicks and Steve Orth, 6.02 seconds, $2,000; 5. Fifth Round:  1. Coy Brittan and Colton Brittain, 5.10 seconds, $8,000; 2. Dustin Egusquiza and Levi Lord, 5.36 seconds, $6,000; 3. Manny Egusquiza and JC Flake, 5.41 seconds, $4,000; 4. Rowdy Jones and Gage Williams, 5.73 seconds, $2,000. Short Round:  1. Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira, 6.59 seconds, $4,000; 2. Curry Kirchner and Tyson Thompson, 6.66 seconds, $3,000; 3. Shay Carroll and Evan Arnold, 6.69 seconds, $2,000; 4. Chad Masters and Trey Yates, 6.78 seconds, $1,000.  Aggregate:  1. Curry Kirchner and Tyson Thompson, 45.38 seconds, $160,000; 2. Brandon Beers and Daniel Braman, 46.43 seconds, $100,000; 3. Clint Summers and Cory Petska, 46.63 seconds, $76,000; 4. Chad Masters and Trey Yates, 47.95 seconds, $55,000; 5. James Arviso and Nicky Northcott, 48.27 seconds, $34,000; 6. Logan Olson and Seth Smithson, 48.67 seconds, $20,000; 7. Wyatt Bray and Josh Patton, 48.86 seconds, $18,000; 8. Jake Cooper Clay and and Kollin VonAhn, 49.40 seconds, $12,000; 9. Shay Carroll and Evan Arnold, 49.71 seconds, $10,000; 10. Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira, 50.59 seconds, $9,000; 11. Andrew Ward and Buddy Hawkins, 56.65 seconds, $8,500; 12. Erich Rogers and Paul Eaves, 57.40 seconds, $7,500; 13. Coleman Proctor and Logan Medlin, 37.97 seconds on five, $7,000; 14. Peyton Walters and Kory Koontz, 40.55 seconds on five, $6,500; 15. Bubba Buckaloo and JR Gonzalez, 42.31 seconds on five, $6,500.

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