Let the roping begin.

    The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association finally hit Dodge City Roundup Arena Tuesday with the steer ropers starting the rodeo-filled week.


Let the roping begin.
    The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association finally hit Dodge City Roundup Arena Tuesday with the steer ropers starting the rodeo-filled week.
    Ropers from all over the Southwest uncoiled their lines in hopes of recording the fastest time and cashing in on the day's top payouts.
    Neal Wood paced the field in the first of three rounds, hooking and tripping his steer in just 9.6 seconds.
    Wood, of Guy, Texas, was unable to repeat in the second heat, however, creating a lane and an opportunity for Shandon Stalls to step into the top slot.
    Stalls, a 30-year-old McLean, Texas native who joined the PRCA in 2005, posted a time of 9.2 in the second round, faster than any other roper. The time was more than a 16-second improvement from the 25. 5 he recorded in the first round.
    Stalls' 9. 2 performance inched out Pawhuska, Okla.'s Rod Hartness who tripped his steer in 9.6.
    Only two ropers from Kansas made the trip to Dodge Tuesday, including Arkansas City's Grady Potter and Rocky Patterson of Pratt.
    Grady Potter was unable to post a time in his first two runs, and after a bad first round, the sour luck continued for Patterson in the second.
    "You're really just trying to focus on the steer because the point in which you can leave depends on how fast he leaves," Patterson said. "I got off to a bad start and I did a bad job on my first one and it kind of snow balled on me. (The steer) left pretty strong and when the gates opened he just stood there that time. Well then my horse kind of made a move and I had to take hold of him and you get behind from there."
    Patterson, a 43-year-old native of Kiowa, has enjoyed great success since joining the PRCA in 1992, boasting career earnings of over $500,000. Patterson placed fifth in the 2008 World standings and third in the NFSR, or National Finals Steer Roping, standings last year.
    "You got to have a good horse and you got to have him working," Patterson said. "And then you should have yourself ready to win when you get here and I evidently didn't do a very good job of that this morning."
    Patterson said he always enjoys roping in Dodge because it gives him an opportunity to perform so close to home. But Tuesday was both a positive and a negative for the steer-roping veteran.
    "Usually it's kind of an adrenaline rush because you got a lot of people you know here, then when you rope as bad as I have today it's embarrassing."
    The pro-am celebrity match team-roping competition Followed the steers and featured teams from both Dodge and Garden City. The Dodge team featured John Trabert, Layton Gleason and Jim Kirby.
    The Dodge City Roundup PRCA Rodeo kicks off tonight at 7 p.m.