What happens when you pair the 2022 average champion header up with the 2022 world champion heeler at the USTRC’s Cinch National Finals of Team Roping? A National FInals of Team Ropoing Open Championship..
Tanner Tomlinson and his partner Junior Nogueira were a 34.02 on 5 head to get the win at the Cinch NFTR Open in Fort Worth last weekend. The team took home $41,200.
The final round of the event was thrilling, with reigning world champs Nogueira - doing double duty - and partner Kaleb Driggers roping their final steer in just 4.47 seconds. The effort earned them a total of 35.96 on five head.
But Nogueira’s biggest challenger proved to be himself when he and Tomlinson managed to rope their final steer in just 6.53 seconds, bringing their total to 34.02 on five head.
Tomlinson, whose usual partner Patrick Smith was hunting in Atlanta, said roping with childhood hero Nogueira felt like a dream.
“It’s been a big blessing,” Tomlinson told the Cinch NFTR broadcast crew. “I’ve dreamed of this day since I was a kid. I never thought it would come and that I’d get to head for Junior. It's an unbelievable feeling. Words can’t describe it.”
Tomlinson said that he wasn’t even planning to compete in the open, but two days before it started, he was asked to participate with Nogueira, riding a horse he’s “been trying.”
“My game plan was just to get out,” Tomlinson said. “And it all fell into place.
Nogueira first met Tomlinson a couple of years ago at a roping in Buffalo, Texas, headquarters of Lone Star Ropes.
"I watched him rope out there, and he'd just reach on every one of them and cut and turn them," Nogueira said of the young header. "And then Patrick and him got together. They've been working really hard, and they just put a lot of work into it. Patrick's been a very good influence. They're working together. That's why it's a good team."