Not everyone can boast about winning the World Series.
Garrett Nokes can.
The McCook cowboy took first place in the #12 Ariat World Series of Team Roping Finale on Tuesday night alongside his roping partner, Scott Smith, of Wray, Colo.
The men roped four steers in a total time of 30.82 seconds. It earned them $290,000 – part of $1.7 million the WSTR is paying out to contestants this year.
“It was awesome,” said Nokes. “It was one of those deals you try to prepare for, but when you’re backing into the box for that kind of money – you just try to go back to doing the same thing you’ve done for $300 on a Wednesday night.”
It’s the same advice he gives to students on the Mid-Plains Community College Rodeo Team that he coaches.
“I actually had to practice what I preach,” said Nokes with a laugh. “But in all seriousness, I just tried to stay aggressive and get the steers roped, and it worked. It was probably a once in a lifetime opportunity, but it was pretty cool.”
Nokes earned the trip to the WSTR after winning a team roping in Torrington, Wyo. on New Year’s Eve a year ago. It was his fourth qualification.
The past two years at the WSTR, Nokes made the Top 40 round, but ran into bad luck once he got there. Contestants earn $3,000 just for qualifying for the short go, so he never left Vegas completely empty-handed.
This year, however, Nokes was there to win. He beat out 507 other teams for a spot in the roping box during the final round.
“The average on three head decides who goes to the short round,” said Nokes. “We were the fastest team on three, so we roped last in the finals. That was a lot of pressure. We knew we had to rope at least a 9 flat to win.”
They did even better than that – stretching out their final steer in a time of 8.66 seconds.
A little history
Nokes is no stranger to the winner’s circle. In 2005, he qualified for the Wrangler Nationals Finals Rodeo in steer wrestling and placed fourth in the world standings.
He’s up to $719,759 in career earnings through the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, which he has been a member of since 1996.
Nokes was also the Nebraska State Rodeo Association’s “Rookie of the Year” in 1996, the all-around champion in 2011 and 2014 and the tie-down champion in 2011, 2013 and 2014.
He was the Kansas Professional Rodeo Association’s all-around champion in 1996, 2010, 2012 and 2014, the steer wrestling champion in ’96 and the tie-down roping champion in 2011, 2013 and 2014.
He’s also won numerous all-around titles at area rodeos such as the National Western Stock Show in Denver in 2005 and Cheyenne Frontier Days in 2006. Additionally, Nokes is a three-time Prairie Circuit steer wrestling and all-around champion and was the 2007 tie-down roping champion.
When not competing, Nokes can be found helping the next generation of timed event athletes as a coach for the MPCC Rodeo Team.
He currently, lives on a farm south of McCook with his wife, Laura, and sons, Trevor and Parker. Together they raise crops, cattle and performance horses. Garrett is also a crop insurance agent for First Crop Insurance, LLC.