John Curtis Daily Union Sports Editor
Shelbyville Daily Union
---- — Less than a year after winning Illinois High School Rodeo Calf Roping Championship, the Team Roping Championship, and the Boys All-Around Championship, Douglas Rich and his team roping partner, Cole Wheeler are $88,600 richer.
Rich, of Herrick, went off to Western Oklahoma State College in Altus, Oklahoma, just north of Wichita Falls, Texas. Rich was recruited and accepted a scholarship to compete for the school on the rodeo team, as a team roping heeler.
After going off to college, Rich, a heeler, was teamed up with a header, Cole Wheeler, who is from Texas. They entered the #15 Shoot-Out at the 2103 Cinch USTRAC (United States Team Roping Association Championships) National Finals of Team Roping in Oklahoma City.
They were 12th after the 1st go in the preliminaries (8.35). However, they followed with a 7.83 and then a great 6.30, the second fastest go of the competition to that points. Their last go of preliminaries was 7.66 and gave them a 4-go total of 30.14 and put them in 1st place.
They were one of 30 teams coming back for the short go round and they sat as the high team, heading into the finals.
There was a second a half difference between the top four teams going into the final round. The 4th place team had a super time in their final (7.40 seconds). That put them in 1st and the 2nd and 3rd teams couldn’t handle the pressure to keep up.
It came down to Rich and Wheeler’s final run. They had to clock a 7.85 in order to offset the #4 teams 7.40. Wheeler got out of the barrier and caught the head. Rich roped the feet. The time was 7.51 earning the duo 1st place.
The prize money was $88,600 for the roping team. The win gave Rich $47,850 in earnings in 2013, making him the biggest money winner from Illinois, by $26,050.
The Shelby Area roping champ has added to his three cabinets of belt buckles and multiple saddles that he has earned in the Junior and High School Rodeos. Now he is winning big cash money, as well as more Gist Championship buckles, Martin Championship saddles, Tony Lama boots and Western Horseman Collectors prints.
Rich won won the state team roping championship in the IIlinois High School rodeo the last four years. In 2011 and 2012, Rich won both the individual calf roping and the team roping titles. He was also Reserve All-Around at State in 2011.
Douglas Rich is the son of Lonnie and Cindy Rich of Herrick.