by Kaitlin Gustave
The Team Roping Journal Kremmling local, Jodi Hill and his partner, Bret Steele, of Greely, made the trip to warmer Arizona weather to compete at their first Ariat World Series of Team Roping Title Fights in Wickenburg, Arizona.
Steele, 56, and Hill, 57, stopped the clock in 38.85 seconds on four head during the eleventh annual event, to secure the average win in the #8.5 on Feb. 12, 2021 at Rancho Rio—the feat paying $37,100 to the team.
They came into the short round in the No. 1 position and roped their fourth steer in 11.02 seconds despite a questionable start.
“I’m not going to lie, that head loop was a little sketchy,” Steele said. “Somebody was looking out for me and Jodi today. The head loop worked, and I pulled him around there. Jodi, as usual, threw that loop under there and roped two feet.”
Steele was riding an 8-year-old gelding he calls Lil Wayne, who he believes has helped him step up his roping.
“It’s a horse that I bought from Cutter Barnes,” Steele said. “Sometimes he’s kind of a pickle, but sometimes he works really good. I wouldn’t trade him. He’s brought my roping a little bit further along.”
Hill cleaned up the back end on his trusty dun gelding he calls Diamond.
“I don’t know how much money that horse has won me,” Hill said.
“I always tease my wife that that was the diamond I bought her. He’s unbelievable.”
This win is more than a dream come true for Hill who had to overcome an even more chaotic 2020 than most.
“In April, when COVID hit, my right lung clogged up with a blood clot and I laid there for 21 days,” Hill explained. “I was just dreaming of roping again. I can’t believe I’m here, so thank God for that.”