CLN Insider: The Focus of Feist

41st Annual BFI

“The Roper’s Roping”

June 18, 2018

in Reno, Nevada

Bob Feist’s focus has always been on what’s ahead of the next curve. For instance, he’s the creator behind the infamous BFI roping event, now held in Reno, Nevada.

It’s the richest one-day roping in the world; awarding $500,000 in prize money to the team that can rope six head in the fastest combined time.

There’s nothing like it, and here’s the CLN Insider story on the man behind the BFI, inarguably the event that was the catalyst for what Team Roping has become today; a multi-million dollar sport, attracting thousands of contestants, men and women alike, from ages as young as 14 and as old as 78.

Many of our CLN fans and followers are aware that Mr. Feist is a well-known and award-winning PRCA announcer.

In fact, he’s worked a lifetime to become one of the best in the Biz; working shows such as the National Finals Rodeo, Reno Rodeo, Salinas, Cheyenne Frontier Days, the Calgary Stampede and the Bishop California Mule Days, just to name a few.

The best of the best in the “Biz” – PRCA Announcers Wayne Brooks, Bob Feist, and Bob Tallman gather up at Reno Rodeo’s 2014 “Legacy Dinner”, in honor of Cotton Rosser’s 56 years of furnishing livestock for their prestigious rodeo.

He’s narrated television and radio programs, hosted numerous shows on RFD-TV, and even made a cameo appearance on Clint Eastwood’s movie “Pink Cadillac”!

Bob Feist, announcing horseback at the Reno Rodeo.

Things you may not know about Bob Feist, is that he has honorably served our country as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army; and after his service there, remained active in the Army Reserves.

Mr.  Feist graduated from Oklahoma State University with a major in Hotel and Restaurant Management; and spent some time in Oklahoma City actually managing a restaurant.

Bob Feist doesn’t just “talk the talk”, he can also “walk the walk”.

He was raised on a working cattle ranch in Santa Rosa and Ukiah, California; and is perfectly capable of driving an eight-mule or horse hitch; and can be seen doing so at annual trail rides such as the Rancheros Visitadores and with the Sonoma County Trail Blazers.

8-Mule team, owned by Sam Smiser of Smiser Freight, and driven by Bob Feist at the Rancheros Visitadores Trail Ride; circa 1979. Photo courtesy of Stratton Photography, Healdsburg, CA.

He’s an excellent snow and water skier; and has announced the prestigious “Cowboy Downhill Race” for years, held each January in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Competing in the “Cowboy Downhill Races – Steamboat Springs, Co.

In fact, Bob Feist loves the outdoors, period.  Fishing, kayaking, and golfing round out his love of outdoor activities.

Feist’s Focus: Ahead of the Curve

The year was 1968. It was decades prior to the advent of glossy team roping magazines.

Bob Feist had a vision. He focused his attention and finances on creating a publication especially to keep Team Ropers informed of local and national roping events and results.

The Ropers Sports News, now in its 50th year, remains in circulation today.

The Ropers Sports News  has an impressive 20,000 per month readership; and is distributed in 48 states, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, and Brazil.

When asked how he’s managed to stay in the tough business of publications – especially in light of all the new team roping magazines that have recently come onto the scene and – not to mention the advent of the internet –  Feist confidently stated, “We service smaller arenas; ‘Mom and Pop’ arenas. We keep our costs down with our newspaper format. Smaller producers can afford to advertise their events in the Roper’s Sports News.”

Bob with his dogs at the door of his office in Lodi, California

He has certainly been a pioneer of team roping publications.

But that’s not all. In 1977, he focused on producing a team roping event. It would be deemed “The Roper’s Roping” or, as it’s commonly known today – the BFI.

He was light years ahead of the curve when he produced the very first “Bob Feist Invitational” in Chowchilla, California with a 35-foot score.  

His good friend Perry Bigbee sent Bob a check and underwrote that first event. Bigbee was a great supporter and believer in the Focus of Feist from the very beginning.

The BFI was created around three basic concepts:

1)      Horsemanship: Each steer currently gets an 18-foot head start.

2)      Mental: One partner, no mistakes. For six rounds. In one day.

3)      Elite: Only 100 elite teams are accepted to enter each year.

A summary and brief history of the BFI is as follows:

  • 1977-1980: 35-foot score at Chowchilla, CA
  • 1981: 25-foot score at Las Vegas, Nevada
  • 1982: 35-foot score at Denton, Texas
  • 1984-1988: 18-foot score at Reno, Nevada (outdoor arena)
  • 1989-2017: 18-foot score at Reno, Nevada (indoor arena)

The 2018 BFI will award $500,000; making it the richest one-day open roping in the world!

The June 18th event will feature two men who’ve made the event for all 41 years; Dennis Watkins (heeling for Caden Clay) – and Mike Beers (heeling for Jace Johnson).

In addition to $500,000 in prize money, Gist Buckles are awarded to the winning team of the BFI.

Bob Feist sold the BFI in 2012 to Ulllman-Peterson Events.

However, he still remains the name and face behind his visionary focus to create the ultimate “Roper’s Roping”, the Bob Feist Invitational.

Ullman-Peterson Events now hosts BFI Week, a week of roping for the whole family; all centered around the Focus of Feist, the original BFI.

If you would like to subscribe to or advertise in the “Roper’s Sports News”, please call their Lodi, California office (209-333-2924) or visit their website: – http://roperssportsnews.com/

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