Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Two Socorroans Rope Way To $20,000

By John Larson
Mountain Mail

SOCORRO – Coming in at tenth place in the World Series of Team Roping is no easy feat, and garnered two Socorroans $20,000.
Dawn Tarpley and Leon Mounyo had an outstanding four round average of 39.03, only .04 second behind the ninth-place team.
The event was held Dec. 12 in the sports arena at South Post Casino and Equestrian Center in Las Vegas, Nev.
They began intensive practice sessions on their technique in October, getting ready for the competition.
“We’ve actually been practicing together for a total of about five years, on and off,” Tarpley said. “Leon is great at being both header and heeler, so he could go either way. I’m good as a header, but not a heeler.
“There’s a handicap in roping. The scale goes from one to 10, with 10 being the best and one being a novice. I am at a four level, “an upper novice,” and Leon is a six. Together we entered as a number 10 team,” she said.
Tarpley was born in Socorro, but was raised on a cattle ranch in Clayton.
After graduating from West Texas State, she worked as a scientist at Sandia Labs, but has always been involved on some level in rodeo activities except actual participation. She moved back to Socorro five years ago from Edgewood. “I didn’t start roping, or any kind of rodeoing, until I was 38 years old” she said.
Tarpley currently works at KMXQ radio, but is also known to many locals as a member of the band, The Westerners.
Mounyo has been roping as far back as he can remember while growing up on his family’s ranch in eastern Socorro County.
“[To be good at it] you have to practice a lot. You have to consider all the variables in team roping,” Mounyo said. “You have to know how your horse is working, make sure your horse in working good.”
He said during competition anything can go wrong.
“The variables include the speed of the calf. The length of its horns. Whether it’s going to the left or to the right,” Mounyo said. “We drew four good ones this time. I had a good win during the State Fair in August,” he said.
After splitting the $20,000 with Tarpley, Mounyo has brought his total winnings for 2009 to $28,000.
The team plans on qualifying for next year’s World Series of Roping. “I want to thank all of our sponsors,” Tarpley said. “Especially the Golden Spur Saloon in Magdalena. Darrel Pettis has been extra supportive of both my roping, and of my band, The Westerners.”

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