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postheadericon Hork Dog - Backyard Roping Is Bigtime Competition

Sometimes the simplest ideas turn out to be the best. That is certainly the case with the Hork Dog roping.  It began when local businessman Charlie Horky took up team roping twelve years ago and joined the ranks of the pro ropers in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA). He discovered that there was a gap between pro rodeos in Laughlin and Logandale in April where the cowboys had nothing to do.  “Everyone was hanging around, waiting for Logandale to start, so we thought, let’s have a roping,” says Horky. As many of the guys rodeoing professionally had nicknames, the ropers had christened him “Hork Dog.” And so the Hork Dog Roping was born.

Since its inception, the Hork Dog has become one of the top open ropings in the world, joining the George Strait Team Roping Classic, Bob Feist Invitation (BFI) and Wildfire Open to the World Roping.  Like the other ropings, the Hork Dog offers a big payday, always at least $20,000 per roper to the winner (paid in cash), and a level of competition to rival the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR). Like the others, the world’s best like Trevor Brazile, Patrick Smith and Clay Tryan are entered.  But unlike the others, the Hork Dog is designed to be more like a backyard roping, a play day for ropers and spectators alike.  “We are pretty loose,” says Horky, who paid the production costs the first year and continues to be the driving force behind the event.  “We have the same guys back every year on the crew and we’ve had great success with it.” ProRodeo Hall of Fame announcer Bob Tallman calls the action and the Twisselman family from California provides the cattle.

Born in Chicago and raised in Los Angeles, Horky founded CLS, a luxury limousine and airport shuttle service, in 1980 and came to Las Vegas in 1994. Hork Dog 12 happens tomorrow Tuesday, April 10.  Ropers are allowed to enter three times and will get three steers with a final short round to determine the champs. Due to a shoulder injury, Horky won’t be competing in 2012.  Amongst the participants once again is Logandale resident Jason Adams who ropes with his brothers, Austin and PRCA World Champion Heeler Randon as well as brother-in-law Jory Levy. 

The Adams family has long been friends with Horky but the bond was further cemented when the latter dedicated the Hork Dog 11 last year to Wes Adams, the family patriarch who passed away in February 2011.  “That made it very special and neat for us,” Adams says but had high praise for the event for other reasons as well.  “It’s special in the sense that Charlie goes out of his way to make it a good experience for the cowboys. It’s not a money making deal for him, he does it for sheer love of the game and giving back to this community,” says Adams.  “It really is a fun day, a fun gathering,” Adams continues. “Charlie lets the locals mingle with the top guys.” Horky feeds spectators and competitors alike with a big BBQ.  “The roping is good, it certainly pays good, and the [Gist] buckle he gives is as nice a buckle as you can win anywhere,” says Adams.  “For rodeo cowboys on the road, it’s always go, go, go. At the Hork Dog, it’s like, OK take your boots off, unsnap your shirt and relax.”

For Horky the social aspect of the day is just as important as the competition. Spectators are always welcome and Horky says the crowd has grown significantly in recent years.  “We have a good local showing. It’s held on a Tuesday which is a good day for people in the gaming industry. People like cowboys and horses so we are happy to have them show up.”  The roping begins around 3 PM but Horky says fans usually begin to arrive as early as 1 PM.  “This roping is not about being a commercial success or earning personal acclaim,” Horky says. “It’s a good time.”  “I wouldn’t miss it no matter where it was held,” agrees Adams.

(Jolee Lauteret, Las Vegas Rodeo Examiner.  Photos: The Ranch Las Vegas, StuHagen Photography)



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