Sport: Fastest Rope in the West

The dusty parking lot in San Angelo, Texas, was jammed with out-of-state cars from as far away as Pennsylvania, and the stands that were built to handle 1,400 spectators had to make do for 3,500. Unshaven cowboys in faded Levi's waved fistfuls of greenbacks and haggled over the odds with Houston oilmen in embroidered shirts. A volunteer comedian told ancient jokes to try to keep tension down as the crowd awaited the biggest rodeo event in years: a matched roping contest between two champion lariat handlers. The stakes were $3,700 in cash, a share...

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