When you examine the core values of law enforcement and the western way of life, you find a great deal of common ground; which is built on honor, duty, and respect. This month during the second annual 10-33 State Trooper Memorial Roping in Aurora, CO., hundreds of team ropers, law enforcement officials, and the families of fallen police officers gathered on that mutual ground to honor the brave heroes we've lost.
Nobody knows the sacrifices of law enforcement officers more than the nonprofit organization's President, Corporal Mike Honn, and Vice President, Captain Darce Weil, of the Colorado State Patrol.
In 2016 Mike and Darce experienced the tragic loss of two fellow state troopers, Jaimie Jursevics and Cody Donahue - both killed by motorists while on duty. As avid team ropers, they pitched the idea of a memorial roping to Rope the Rockies' Jeff Smith. The idea was to pay tribute to their friends and give back to their families. From that, the 10-33 State Trooper Memorial Roping was founded...10-33 is radio code for officer down.
Troopers Jursevics and Donahue were honored during the roping's inaugural year, which had 198 teams. "We wanted to remember our friends, and show their families our support," says Weil.
Sadly in 2018 tragedy struck Colorado's law enforcement once again, creating a need for the second annual 10-33 State Trooper Memorial Team Roping.
This year, 864 teams backed into the box to honor Deputy Sheriff Zackari Parrish of the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, Deputy Sheriff Heath Gumm of the Adams County Sheriff's Office, and Deputy Sheriff Micah Flick of the El Paso County Sheriff's Office. All three Colorado officers were shot and killed in the line of duty within three months of each other.
"We were left speechless by the growth we've seen in one year," says Mike's wife Laura, "it truly made all the hard work, sleepless nights, and tears this last year worth it! We can't wait to give back to these families who paid the ultimate sacrifice."
This year's lucrative event paid out more than $42,000 to ropers; and prizes included a Logan Coach trailer, saddles, buckles, bags, breast collars, hats, halters and more.
The event's first-place champions were: Lane Larson and Scot Wheatley (#10), Trevor Garner and Scot Wheatley (#9), Adrian Chavez and Chance Williams (#8), and Adrian Chavez and Luke Kosorok (#7).
A special incentive was also added to the event this year. If a team stopped the clock at 10.33, their names went into a drawing to win trophy saddles sponsored by Potestio Brothers Equipment. Out of 864 teams, only two teams managed to stop the clock precisely at 10.33. Jacob Bertram and Holly Dennis walked away with the beautiful saddles.
Proceeds from the team roping event and the merchandise booths went to the families of Parrish, Gumm, and Flick. A special ceremony was held during the roping, where the families were presented with buckles in honor of their loved ones. The amount of money going to the families is still being calculated, but the board anticipates it will be significant.
As a tribute to our fallen heroes, three horses with empty saddles - adorned with the hats and boots of the fallen officers - were led in the arena by their brothers in blue.
Team ropers and spectators sported gold badge stickers on their shirts and tack as a symbol of their support.
The Rattlesnake 4-H Club got involved by helping set up the arena the night before. They hung banners, put bags in the trash cans, and set up tables and tents.
Top sponsors of the event included Ford, TRI Pointe Homes, Colorado Barricade, Cardel Homes, Montera Cattle Co., 5 Flat Productions, Transwest Truck & Trailer, Potestio Brothers Equipment, and Skurich Memorial Fund.
It's not every day you see squad cars and mounted officers mixed with rodeo rigs and cowboys, but for Corporal Honn, the gathering is only natural. "The western way of life and law enforcement have similar values and ethics, and strong convictions of wrong and right. Nobody supports law enforcement more than western people, and that's why we wanted to do this," explains Honn.
On behalf of rural America and the western lifestyle, the Ag Journal solutes our law enforcement officers who keep us safe here at home, and our thoughts and gratitude are with the families who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Stay up-to-date with this event by following 10-33 State Trooper Memorial Roping on Facebook.