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The Silver Spotlight - World Series of Team Roping Founder, Denny Gentry

The Silver Spotlight - World Series of Team Roping Founder, Denny Gentry

Q & A with World Series of Team Roping founder, Denny Gentry

Q: In the 1990’s your USTRC concept changed the entire game in the cowboy industry and the financial impact you had within the cowboy business world was staggering.  Are you stunned about fast growth of World Series of Team Roping and the upcoming record breaking Finale?

A: Thank you, it has certainly been easier the second time around, and we are very fortunate that it has evolved this quickly. We were shocked when USTRC exploded in 1990s and this certainly doesn’t rate at that level, but still it is amazing and we feel very blessed.


Q: Last year you set the all time payoff records in three different divisions at over $1 million each, and this year your event will reach $4.7 Million in cash payoffs. That is a staggering number in this economy, in this industry and with just four divisions. You are getting into some real historical areas here, and considering that this is just a niche market within the roping industry, what do you plan to do for an encore?

A: With the history of team roping and its evolution, to us, this is the encore.  Our goals are to continue to deliver an event and payouts that are memorable and significantly worth the investment of the entry fee.  We may never hit this payout level again, but our focus in this niche market, is to appeal to the “over 21” set of ropers, and the more experienced roper.  


Q: Your payoffs have been going up every single year; We’re curious: how far do you think you could possibly go?

A: Our limitation in Las Vegas is always going to be the capacity of the venue. We are limited by parking and stalls, so I just can’t see any increase in the size of this event. It appears that we are going to hang in this position of 5th in the world as horse events go. That realization keeps things in perspective for us. But then again we realize those dollar goals are just a measuring stick for progress.


Q: What are the top four money payout events and is there any chance of moving up?

A: To the best of my knowledge the top four horse events are the Breeders Cup at $20 Million, the Dubai World Cup at $6 Million, the WNFR at $5.7 Million and the Prix de Arc is $5.4 Million. We would fall right in behind those top four at $4.7 Million. Personally I don’t think there is any possibility that we could get any higher than third.


Q: That statement sounds incomplete unless you elaborate on what makes you think you have a remote possibility to start with?

A: Wishful thinking I guess. The WNFR is sitting at third with nearly that entire purse paid by Las Vegas Events. With a little luck and a change in circumstances, I could see some LVE contributions added to our purses kicking us up to second or third in the world.


Q: Let’s change the subject just a little and talk about Barrel Racing and Mounted Shooting. We are involved with both of those disciplines and curious what your perspective is, and if you intend on pursuing those interests.

A: Over the last 3 years we incorporated those events with the WSTR Finale.  Thunder EquiGames died when South Point Casino picked up the lead on the “Cowboy Central” idea. We just thought it was important to create a lot of activities there at the hotel during the NFR. Obviously, we had little experience with Barrel Racing and Mounted Shooting, but we wanted to see how some of our concepts would work in those environments. And it was easy to take a chance when Charmayne James, and Annie Ellet, the icons of those sports, were willing to collaborate with us.


Q: And how did your attempt work?

A: We made continuous progress in the barrel racing event.  It took us three years to nail the format, but once we found it we had the highest paying race in the west. We believe we could have continued to build something special. The margins in the Barrel Race are extremely tight for a lot of reasons. But I do see why Booger Barter spent so much time trying to figure out how to get a handle on the racing game. We learned a lot and gained a lot of respect for these high-end barrel horses, and our good buddy T.C. Long who is making a name for himself producing quality barrel races.


Q: What about the Mounted Shooters?

A: There is definitely a hook or something there. Cowboys and guns, cowboys and ropes, it is a pretty close correlation.  There is a segment of that group that we could have impacted a lot, but the problem is their sport is at a sensitive crossroads. It became clear to me that if we proceeded with developing all the financial angles, it could possibly do some real damage and hurt their sport badly. The Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association has a handle on it, and I’m confident they will prevail.


Q: What are those segments and how could it be hurt?

A: You have a segment that have rodeo affiliation and are comfortable leveraging and playing for money. Then you have an equal size segment that came from the horse show side that have different motivations. Right now the sport needs  both of those groups, and any attempt to develop a portion could damage the whole deal.


Q: You’ve tried a lot of new things over the years and most of them have worked. Is there anything that you and Connie have in the works that we need to know about?

A: We are just so happy that the cowboys supported us and gave us a second chance to play this game. With the experiments and the side ventures behind us, we are comfortable just doing what we do, for as long as the ropers let us do it.


The World Series of Team Roping Finale VI runs December 5th -10th at the South Point Arena & Equestrian Center in Las Vegas. For more information, please visit