Hope y’all are ready to put on those cowboy boots because Wrangler BFI Week is headed to team roping’s most iconic arena in Guthrie, Oklahoma – the Lazy E Arena. The event will take place on June 20-24. The Lazy E Arena is devoted solely to western events and is the nation’s largest indoor arena. It is the birthplace of team roping’s six-figure paycheck and now the 2020 payout is a collective $1.7 million.
This is a temporary move as the Wrangler BFI Week was supposed to take place on June 20-25 in Reno, Nevada. The coinciding Reno Rodeo was canceled so roping organizers took the initiative and found another place to relocate the event. The coronavirus has caused countless devastating closures but Dan Wall, who is the general manager at Lazy E Arena is staying positive, “Sometimes a door closes on one side and opens on the other. Reno’s unfortunate loss is our gain. It’s one of those things that fits like a glove.” Wrangler BFI Week is taking place on a ranch, the Lazy E Arena where there is plenty of room to distance yourself.
The Wrangler BFI Week is the half-million-dollar Bob Feist Invitational, it is composed of the world’s richest team roping for professionals as well as the half-million-dollar Wrangler Patriot 11.5 for amateurs. There will also be seven more additional amateur ropings taking place. This will be the 43rd year of BFI! Instead of being held on the traditional Monday, this year the BFI will be held on Sunday, June 21st. Don’t worry because there will still be the customary Saturday night welcome banquet. The reputable event is limited to the first 125 paid teams and all entries are due by June 12th. This event will be live-streamed on WranglerNetwork.com. Any additional entries will be taken on-site, and all the following have limited team counts. The ropings consist of the 9.5 and 10.5 for over 40 roping format, the Hooey Jr. BFI roping, All-Girl challenge roping, as well as the 11.5 and 12.5 ropings.
The Lazy E Arena was built by Ed Gaylord. Gaylord built this arena in mind for hard-running steers and long scores. The arena is three acres all under a climate-controlled roof. It was built 36 years ago to host the National Finals Steer Roping. BFI Week co-owner, Daren Peterson stated, “This is where team roping really took off.” The arena is 440-foot alone, on top of that, it has stalls and camping grounds for ropers. There is a notorious Roper’s Cantina that overlooks the boxes and all kinds of vendors that fans love.
The owner of Lazy E Arena is Gary McKinney who in fact is a team roper. “Mr. McKinney loves everything about the team roping industry, from the grassroots all the way to the elite level,” said Wall. “Ever since he bought the Lazy E in 2013, we’ve talked about how to create a Feist (Bob Feist Invitational) or a Strait (George Strait Team Roping Classic) or something of that nature.” The Arena is a working ranch that has stood stallions such as Mr. San Peppy and Coup de Kas. Sire of racehorses, Corona Cartel is headlined with a roster today and has earned $54 million. Country artist performances have also taken place at the arena from Reba McEntire and George Strait.
The first National Finals of Team Roping was held in 1990 by Denny Gentry because of the famous cantina, television lights, and of course the iconic long Lazy E Arena. Every year for five years when October would roll around the team roping sport would become more and more popular. Every cowboy and cowgirl who swung a rope knew that Lazy E Arena was the best of the best, it is the all-time premier roping facility in the country. As noted before the first team roping paid $100,000 to the winners and it happens to be the first event that paid out a collective million dollars.
The annual “Ironman” of professional rodeo in the bucket-list timed-event championships of the world is hosted by the Lazy E Arena. It was held this year in March, then shortly after the NBA’s Thunder/Jazz game was canceled due to Oklahoma City becoming the epicenter of the national COVID-19 pandemic. “We held one of the last major events before the lockdown and then we held one of the first sporting events back when we partnered with the PBR to bring the Las Vegas Invitational and other CBS Sports broadcasts here last month,” said Wall.
The governor is trusting the Logan County leaders to bring back business in only safe environments. Thanks to Lazy E Arena’s profound safety protocols plus spacious and exclusive property which is allowing everyone on site to social distance with plenty of camping room as well as limited access in and out. Wall mentioned, “When the BFI news leaked out, we got so many calls about tickets and calls from vendors that we didn’t even have time to get the event listed on Ticketmaster”.
As you can tell many country fans are anxiously waiting to get back out there and have a good time. The Lazy E Arena is taking things seriously and wouldn’t open if it wasn’t safe to do so. With the amount of space they provide it is safe to say that the show is going on! The Lazy E Arena cannot wait to see all you country fans at the Wrangler BFI Week! Get out your cowboy gear and saddle up for a good time! We’ll see you there!
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